On Deck: Football and Women’s Volleyball Preview (Sports Opinion)

If you’re willing to brave the cold, Wittenberg Football has home-field advantage for the first round of NCAA Tournament action. The Tigers, ironically, take on Frostburg State at noon on Nov. 18, and take on either Washington & Jefferson or Johns Hopkins at home over Thanksgiving Break, pending a win this week.

Football will have bigger games to be a part of beginning next week against bigger and better teams, which means volleyball may be the move this weekend.

If you want to stay warm and watch from the comfort of your own bed, or looking to get away from campus for the weekend by traveling to the state up north, Women’s Volleyball continues their 22nd consecutive NCAA Tournament berth on Thursday, Nov. 16 against Swarthmore College.

The Tigers gave Ohio Northern a new meaning to global warming, blowing the Polar Bears out of the water for the second time this season on Nov. 12, giving the program its eighth regional championship title.

Key players moving into the final matches will be senior Maddie Fischer, junior Karen Wildemann, junior Megan Flaherty, sophomore Aubrey Cox and junior Kennedy Schmidt. Fischer leads the team for kills, tallying 334 to date in 27 matches. Wildemann leads in assists, setting just short of 900 assists. When it comes to serving, Wildemann and Flaherty have both provided 32 aces for the Tigers. Cox and Schmidt have led defensively with 85 and 72 blocks on the year respectively.

Swarthmore is a new opponent for Wittenberg, as the program will play them for the first time in history during the tournament. In quarterfinal play, Wittenberg is 5-2 in program history.

The main opponents the Tigers face though, will be Calvin and Emory University. Wittenberg is 6-5 all-time against Emory, including a 3-2 win at home back in September, and 13-14 against Calvin.
The last two times Wittenberg has won the regional title in volleyball, the team also made their way to the championship game. In 2015, the red and white fell 0-3 to Cal. Lutheran in the final match. In 2011, however, Wittenberg was crowned as national champions, taking down Christopher Newport, 3-0.

Tiger Volleyball can’t seem to shake off being number-one, as they enter the Elite Eight at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Mich. as the top-ranked seed. They also wore the title from Sep. 19 to Oct. 30, being placed on top of American Volleyball Coaches’ Association poll for six consecutive weeks.

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