Bowling Green, Ky. — The Western Kentucky University volleyball team found out Sunday evening that they have earned an at-large bid to the 2007 NCAA Volleyball Tournament. The Lady Toppers will face Wichita State at 4:30 p.m. (CST) on Friday at the NU Coliseum in Lincoln, Neb. That match will be followed by South Dakota State taking on the No. 2 national seed and defending national champion Nebraska.
“We know Wichita State is a very good team, and the Missouri Valley Conference is an outstanding volleyball league,” said Lady Topper head coach Travis Hudson. “In terms of atmosphere, what more could you ask for than to get to play in front of a packed house of knowledgable volleyball fans in Lincoln.”
WKU becomes the first team from the Sun Belt Conference to ever receive an at-large bid to the tournament. The Lady Toppers (27-8) finished second in the Sun Belt Conference East Division, and were runners up in the Sun Belt Tournament.
“It’s a credit to our entire league,” said Lady Topper head coach Travis Hudson. “Without several top-tier Sun Belt teams having the kind of season they had, there is no way we would get this kind of respect.”
WKU will be making its third trip to the NCAA Tournament. It earned the Sun Belt’s automatic bid in both 2002 and 2005, falling in the first round to a nationally-seeded team both years. The Lady Toppers fell in three games at Hawai’i in ‘02, then fell 3-1 at Louisville in the 2005 tournament.
Wichita State enters the tournament with a 26-5 record and were ranked 22nd in the latest CSTV/AVCA Coaches’ Poll. The Shockers won the MVC regular-season championship with a 17-1 conference mark. Senior outside hitter Sara Lungren was named the Missouri Valley Player of the Year, and comes in to Friday’s match averaging 3.17 kills and 2.79 digs per contest.