St. Thomas Volleyball NCAA Playoff Notes/Nov. 10
--No. 11-ranked St. Thomas will travel to Moorhead for the Nov. 11-13 NCAA regional tournament. The Tommies (29-4) received an at-large berth into the playoffs and will make their seventh consecutive appearance at regionals.
--Coach Thanh Pham's team opens play in the eight-team, single-elimination tournament on Friday at 3 p.m. against UW-Eau Claire (22-12).
The Tommies beat the Blugolds in all three meetings last season but the teams haven't played yet in 2011.
--St. Thomas is in the NCAA playoffs for the 13th time (15-12 all-time record), with seven trips to the region title match. Current assistant coach Dave Orren was the head coach in a span when UST qualified six years in a row from 1987-92, including regional final berths in 1990, 1991 and 1992. UST also has reached the region finals in 2005, 2007, 2009 and 2010.
--Last year's Tommie team finished 31-7 and topped St. Olaf 3-0 in the regional championship match, eight days after losing to the Oles in the conference playoff finals. They made their first trip to the national quarterfinals but lost 3-0 to Juniata in the semifinals.
--UST graduated seven seniors from that fifth-place NCAA finisher of 2010, including three-time All-American setter Emily Foster. This year's team has a new starter at setter -- senior Ashley Maher -- and also starts freshmen Jill Greenfield and Kelly Foley on the front line. Junior libero Kaitlain Wachter is a three-year starter.
--This season, St. Thomas is 5-2 against the other teams in the field, with two road losses againt Concordia; two home wins against Bethel; a road win at St. Ben's; two neutral court victories against St. Scholastica; and a neutral win against Northwestern.
--The Tommies had a 16-match win streak halted Saturday night with a five-game loss to Concordia in the MIAC playoff finals. The Toms and Cobbers shared the conference regular-season crown at 10-1. UST became the first team in MIAC history to win or share five consecutive championships.
--St. Thomas has been ranked in the AVCA national top 25 for 81 of the last 82 consecutive polls dating back to September 2005.
--Pham is in his ninth season as head coach. His eight-year record at St. Thomas is 245-61, and he's led UST to seven conference titles or co-titles and seven NCAA playoff berths.
--The Tommies' 17-player postseason roster includes only three seniors and two juniors.
St. Thomas landed four players -- junior libero Kaitlain Wachter, senior setter Ashley Maher, senior middle Taylor Cross, and freshman middle Kelly Foley -- on the 22-player All-MIAC first team for 2011.
All but Wachter are first-year collegiate starters.
In addition, UST took two of the four special MIAC awards. Wachter was named Defensive Player of the Year); Foley was chosen Rookie of the Year; Concorda's Jenna Green made Player of the Year; and Tim Mosser of the Cobbers was voted Coach of the Year.
Foley, who has 84 blocks, 405 kills and is hitting .326, is among just three freshmen to make All-MIAC. Cross has 290 kills, is hitting .320 and has 74 blocks; Maher ranks among the national leaders in assists (1,288) and also has 257 digs and 25 aces. Wachter has 680 digs and 22 aces, and now has 2,149 career digs.
Wachter, senior setter Ashley Maher, senior middle Taylor Cross, and freshman middle Kelly Foley -- on the 14-player AVCA All-Central Region first team for 2011.
In addition, Foley was chosen as Region Freshman of the Year;
Click here to access Concordia's regional tournment website:
Click here to access Concordia's regional tournment blog: