MIDDLETOWN, Conn. – The 24th-ranked Wesleyan volleyball team is returning to the NCAA Division III Volleyball Championships for a third consecutive season as the Cardinals (20-4) earned an at-large bid to the tournament today. Wesleyan will play St. John Fisher (23-10) in the First Round this Friday, November 15 at 12:30 p.m. Clarkson University will serve as the regional host.
Wesleyan is making its fourth appearance overall in the NCAA Tournament. Prior to Head Coach Ben Somera's tenure, the Cardinals reached the national postseason once, in 2001. Now, in Somera's fifth year at the helm of the program, Wesleyan has qualified three-straight times and advanced to the Elite Eight last season for the first time ever.
The Cardinals enjoyed arguably the best regular-season performance in program history as they went 19-3 overall before reaching the NESCAC Tournament, where they defeated Bates in the quarterfinals before falling to Bowdoin in a five-set thriller the following day. With the win over Bates, Wesleyan has now won 20 or more matches in three consecutive years. It's the second time in the 35-year history of the program that the Cardinals have accomplished that feat and the first time since 2002.
In three NCAA Tournament appearances, Wesleyan is 5-3 overall while going 4-2 under Somera the past two seasons. The Cardinals are one of three teams from the NESCAC to qualify for the national postseason, joining the automatic qualifier Tufts and Bowdoin.
St. John Fisher earned the automatic bid from the Empire 8 Conference following a 3-1 win over Nazareth in the conference finals. It's the Cardinals' first Empire 8 title in program history as they make their third NCAA Tournament appearance all-time and first since 1998. They are 1-2 in the national postseason.
Friday's match between Wesleyan and St. John Fisher is the first-ever meeting between the two programs.