Not only was Colorado Mesa in good shape to earn a bid to the NCAA Division II South Central Regional volleyball tournament, the Mavericks improved their standing from a week ago.
The Mavericks (21-6) earned the No. 3 seed in the tournament, which begins Dec. 2 in Denver, facing the University of Texas-Tyler (19-3), which is in only its third year of Division II.
After being ranked fourth in the region last week, the Mavericks beat Colorado Christian in the first round of the RMAC tournament before losing a tough five-setter to Colorado School of Mines in the semifinals. CMU had the third-highest RPI in the region and went 21-4 against regional opponents, winning all five of its regional non-RMAC matches.
The Orediggers (26-3), earned the No. 2 seed after upsetting then-No. 1 Metro State in five sets in the championship match on the Roadrunners’ home court. The teams will be back there again next week for regionals after Metro (26-3) retained its No. 1 regional seed and the right to host. CSU-Pueblo (20-8) slipped into the tournament as the No. 8 seed and will play Metro in the first round.
Angelo State (23-4) drew the No. 4 seed and plays No. 5 Regis (20-7), with Mines facing No. 7 West Texas A&M (23-4).
Colorado Mesa won 10 straight after a five-set loss to top-ranked Metro State on Oct. 1 until being swept by No. 10 Mines the first weekend of November. The Mavs have won 12 of their past 14 matches.
They wrapped up the regular season with a thrilling four-set victory over Regis, which was ranked No. 23 at the time.
Every one of the Mavericks’ six losses came against teams that were either ranked or receiving votes in the polls.
The Tyler Patriots have turned their program around from a 10-16 season in 2019, their first as a full member in Division II, to the national tournament. They average 13.2 assists per set, which is No. 1 in the nation. Tyler runs a two-setter system, with Callie Craus averaging 6.78 and Taylor Stoops 5.28 per set.
CMU is 13th in the nation in assists at 13.02 per set, with Sabrina VanDeList ranked 21st in the nation at 10.71 per set.
The Mavericks rely on a balanced attack, with four hitters recording more than 150 kills this season, led by freshman outside hitter Sydney Leffler’s 331. Leffler, the RMAC freshman of the year, made the all-tournament team.
The Maverick attackers hit at a .256 clip and Tyler hits .245.
Match times and ticket information have not been announced.
The CMU men’s soccer team will play at Cal State Los Angeles in the third round of the national tournament at 7 p.m. (MST) on Dec. 2 after defeating Colorado Mines in a shootout on Saturday night.