The Missouri State University-West Plains (MSU-WP) Grizzly Volleyball team will enter the 2020 NJCAA Division I Women’s National Volleyball Championship Tournament as the 13th seed.
The Grizzlies (17-5) will face fourth seeded Utah State University Eastern (USU-Eastern) Eagles (23-5) at 3:45 p.m. Thursday, April 15, in the first round of the three-day tournament at the West Plains Civic Center.
The Grizzlies were ranked 15th in the last poll of the season. The Eagles, who received one of the tournament’s two at-large bids, were ranked fourth.
Grizzly Volleyball Head Coach Paula Wiedemann said she and her team are looking forward to facing the Eagles.
“USU-Eastern is a good team that plays in a tough region. They have been ranked in the top five most of the season and were definitely deserving of one of the two at-large bids to the tournament,” the coach said.
“The at-large selections create a totally different dynamic when seeding a tournament, and while we were hoping to be seeded a little higher, given the competition we played throughout the season, we moved past that quickly,” Wiedemann added.
“The tournament bracket came out, and we completely put our focus on who we play rather than where we were in the bracket,” she said. “The games in front of us just keep getting more challenging, and we have to get ourselves ready to rise to that challenge.”
Tickets for the tournament are available through Ticketmaster.com. Search for the West Plains Civic Center as the venue. Tickets for the tournament are listed on the center’s page.
Tournament tickets are grouped by sessions to accommodate seating limitations due to the coronavirus pandemic, Wiedemann said. This gives fans the opportunity to purchase tickets just for the session in which their teams will participate, she added.
The first session on April 15 covers the 9 and 11:15 a.m. games. The second session covers the 1:30 and 3:45 p.m. games, which includes the Grizzlies’ first-round contest. The last session on April 15 is for the quarterfinal games at 6 and 8:15 p.m.
Those who cannot or choose not to attend the games in person can still watch the Grizzlies in action on the NJCAA Network, NJCAA.org/Network. More information about the streaming services available through the network will be announced by NJCAA officials prior to the tournament.
“I would be lying if I said we weren’t a little more excited about playing in a national championship being hosted in West Plains,” Wiedemann said. “For me personally, it brings back a lot of awesome memories of how cool this experience can be for our players – and not only our players, but other coaches who have reached out to me and are excited about coming back to West Plains because of the experience they’ve had here in the past. That says a lot about our community and the support given to host a great event.”
For more information about the tournament, including the complete tournament bracket and schedule of games, visit NJCAA.org/Championships/Sports/WVBall/Div1/index.
For more information about the Grizzly Volleyball program, visit www.msuwpgrizzlies.com.