Knights volleyball team ready to play in NCAAs for the first time

While the Bellarmine volleyball team will be making history when they begin play in the 2017 NCAA Championship on Friday, the Knights won’t necessarily be in unfamiliar territory.

It’s true that Bellarmine made the NCAA tourney field for the first time in school history after compiling a 23-8 record, but the Knights will be competing against a familiar foe in a familiar venue.

And, the Knights have six Louisville area alums on the team from Assumption, Male, and Mercy

Bellarmine, the No. 6 seed in the Midwest Regional, takes on third-seeded Rockhurst in a 1 p.m. (noon, CST) match to be played at Neil Carey Arena on Lewis University’s campus.

As a member of the Great Lakes Valley Conference, Bellarmine has played at Lewis and against Rockhurst many times.

In their last meeting, the Knights swept the Hawks back on October 7 in Knights Hall.  Bellarmine turned in one of its top performances of the year in that contest, outhitting Rockhurst  .261 to .126 while outblocking and outdigging the Hawks on the defensive end. First team All-GLVC performer Margaret Horihan led the Knights’ attack with 15 kills and 15 digs while Alyssa Woodman and Mary Rolf paced the Hawks with nine kills apiece.

Rockhurst’s loss to Bellarmine was one of just seven setbacks the Hawks suffered during the year while racking up 28 victories.

The Bellarmine-Rockhurst match will feature nine players recognized with All-GLVC honors this postseason.  Bellarmine’s Jordyn Kuchenbrod was Libero of the Year; Abbie Oetting picked up Freshman of the Year honors while Horihan (1st Team) and Allie Muha (2nd Team) were named All-GLVC. The Hawks placed five players on the All-GLVC second team: Woodman, Rolf, Grace Carter, Anne Hellwege, and Karli Reichert.

The winner of the Bellarmine-Rockhurst match faces either Hillsdale (No. 2 seed) or Findlay (No. 7 seed) in a semifinal match slated for 6 p.m. (5 p.m. CST) on Friday. The Midwest Regional Final is set for Saturday at 8 p.m. (7 p.m. CST).