Dixie State won its final match of the regular season to tie-up a spot in the West Region of the NCAA Division II volleyball tournament.
The win came Saturday on the road at Fresno Pacific University. The Storm beat FPU with little resistance by not dropping a set in the match (25-12, 25-19, 25-14). It was the 12th time the Storm swept a match 3-0 this year.
“This win was fantastic,” head coach Robyn Felder said. “The girls came out hard with a load of energy. Staying calm and focused was our mantra today, and the girls did just that.”
DSU finished its regular season with an overall record of 20-8 and 17-3 in the Pacific West Conference. BYU-Hawaii clinched its fifth straight conference title with a win Thursday, which put DSU in second.
Clinching the conference gave BYU-H the automatic bid to the NCAA Division II tournament, while DSU was announced the eighth seed in the West Region. The victory over FPU was the remaining determinant for DSU.
“It’s exciting,” Felder said. “That’s the only word that can describe it, making the NCAA tournament. It’s exciting. It’s nice to see all our hard work pay off and we get to go to the postseason.”
It was a team effort as four different DSU players had five or more kills. Seniors Maddie Rex and Kendahl Weiland along with sophomore Lindsey Jones each led the team with seven kills.
“Today was great,” said Rex, a senior business major from Tucson, Arizona. “We knew we absolutely had to win if we wanted to go to the postseason.”
The Storm began rolling early and consistently in the first set. They built a double-digit win quickly and never looked back, winning set one 25-12.
DSU played a very efficient game by only committing 10 errors and hitting .259 while FPU rattled off 29 errors for a negative hitting percentage. The only time the Storm trailed was midway through the second set 14-13, but they responded with an 11-3 run.
“I think we came in with a different sense of urgency that we haven’t had in the past,” Rex said. “We knew what was on the line. We’ve put ourselves in a great position to go to the tournament and finish our season strongly. Hopefully, everything goes accordingly.”
The focus was there for DSU as it was able to finish each set strong. The third set was close at 14-11 for DSU when it sped to a 9-1 run to put away the Sunbirds.
DSU received the call that it will be the eight seed in the West region of the Division II championships.
“This year was a new team with new personalities and a new feel,” Felder said. “I am proud of the girls for coming together and just competing. This is a gritty group of fighters and they just never quit.”
DSU will play No. 1 seed Northwest Nazarene in Nampa, Idaho, on Thursday.