ORANGE, Calif. – Last week the Chapman University volleyball team tied a school record with its 23rd win of the season and on Monday the Panthers learned they will have the opportunity to break that record. Chapman (23-8) has earned a berth in the NCAA Division III Championships and will travel to Thousand Oaks on Friday to open the Regionals tournament against Southwestern University (Texas) in the first round. Game time has not yet been announced.
This is Chapman's seventh trip to the Division III Championships and 13th overall. The Panthers – in their provisional year of SCIAC membership – were selected as one of 20 Pool C (at-large) qualifiers in the 64-team field.
Southwestern (30-3) is ranked No. 6 in Division III and making its seventh consecutive trip to the NCAA tournament. The Pirates were upset by Trinity (Texas) in the first round of the SCAC Championships, but earned a Pool C berth. Last year Southwestern reached the second round of the Regionals before losing to Cal Lutheran University.
Chapman finished the regular season by winning 15 of its final 18 matches, including a pair of wins over another tournament qualifier Occidental College. The Panthers have been led all season by a pair of juniors, MB Kate Ferrin and OH Ashleigh Gideon, who have each averaged over three kills per set. In fact, Ferrin became just the second Panther in the school's Division III history to record over 400 kills in a season (413).
Cal Lutheran will host the eight-team bracket which includes SCIAC champion Occidental, NWC champion Whitworth University (Wash.), SCAC champion Colorado College and ASC champion Hardin-Simmons University (Texas). Pacific Lutheran University (Wash.) and Cal Lutheran earned Pool C berths.
The Panthers have reached the second round of Regionals twice under head coach Mary Cahill, last doing so in 2004. The winner of Chapman-Southwestern will advance to face the winner of Whitworth-Cal Lutheran on Saturday.
by Doug Aiken
Sports Information Director
Tournament bracket: http://www.ncaa.com/interactive-bracket/volleyball-women/d3/2011