SMSU VOLLEYBALL: SMSU drops to No. 8 in NCAA Central Region rankings

INDIANAPOLIS – The Southwest Minnesota State University volleyball team dropped one spot and is ranked eighth in the third NCAA Division II Central Region rankings released Wednesday afternoon by the NCAA national committee.

The Mustangs are 22-7 overall following last night’s 3-0 victory over Wayne State in the quarterfinals of the NSIC Tournament held in Marshall. Tuesday’s victory is not factored in this week’s regional rankings.

Beginning play this week, SMSU had a 21-7 record versus Division II opponents and a 17-5 record versus in-region opponents. Only matches versus Division II opponents are counted for the NCAA region rankings.

SMSU is one of five NSIC schools to appear in the region rankings along with No. 2 Concordia-St. Paul, No. 4 Minnesota Duluth, No. 5 Northern State and No. 6 Sioux Falls. The Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association (MIAA) has five teams ranked with No. 1 Nebraska-Kearney, No. 3 Washburn, No. 7 Central Missouri, No. 9 Central Oklahoma and No. 10 Northwest Missouri State. The third conference in the region, the Great American Conference (GAC), does not have a team in the Top 10.

The top eight teams in the region will advance to the NCAA Central Region Tournament on Nov. 15-18. Automatic bids are granted to the winners of the NSIC, MIAA and GAC postseason tournaments, with the remaining five spots awarded on an at-large basis.

The 64-team NCAA tournament field will be announced this Sunday at 9 p.m. (CST) at NCAA.com. The NCAA National Championships will take place on Nov. 29-Dec. 1 at the A.J. Palumbo Center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, as part of the NCAA Division II Championship Fall Festival.

Southwest Minnesota State, ranked No. 7 nationally, and the No. 3 seed in the NSIC Tournament, continues play on Friday night facing No. 2 seed Northern State in the semifinals starting at 5 p.m. in Duluth. The championship match will take place in Duluth at 5 p.m. on Saturday versus either top-seed Minnesota Duluth or No. 5 seed Sioux Falls.

Central Region Rankings IN-Region Record Overall Record

1. Nebraska-Kearney 24-2 29-2

2. Concordia-St. Paul 20-6 22-7

3. Washburn 27-3 27-3

4. Minnesota Duluth 20-5 24-5

5. Northern State 24-3 25-3

6. Sioux Falls 18-8 19-9

7. Central Missouri 22-5 24-6

8. SMSU 17-5 21-7

9. Central Oklahoma 26-6 26-6

10. Northwest Missouri State 19-6 22-7

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