Comets Crowned Conference Volleyball Champs
Team Gears Up to Play First Round in National Championship Tournament
Nov. 10, 2009
The Comets will take their perfect record south to Georgetown this week to play in the national volleyball playoffs after celebrating their second consecutive conference championship.
The team will meet Maryville College (Tenn.) on Thursday at Southwestern University, this year's host of the South Regional Games of the NCAA Division III National Championship Tournament.
The 25-0 Comets are the only undefeated Division III team in the nation. They won the American Southwest Conference championship after five nail-biting games against Hardin-Simmons University on Saturday at the UT Dallas Activity Center.
After dropping the first game to HSU, the Comets bounced back to win Games 2 and 3. The Cowgirls squeezed by UT Dallas in Game 4, but imploded in the final set as the Comets rattled off eight straight points and built a lead that proved insurmountable.
“Once we settled down, we were fine,” said Sanders. “This team wanted this really, really bad. They eventually relaxed and played well.”
The Comets have played in three of the last four conference title games and won the last two.
“It’s so exciting, and to top it off, we did it undefeated,” said UT Dallas coach Marci Sanders. “That wasn’t planned or a goal we set out—it was an extra bonus. It was something I told my players they could do if they played to their potential.”
UT Dallas setter Niki Calverley, who doled out 55 assists in Saturday’s match, was named the tournament’s most valuable player.
Freshmen Dana Hilzendager and Halea Williams were honored as members of the All-Tournament team.
The NCAA III Tournament’s regional games are set for Nov.12-14.
Last season, UT Dallas fell to Southwestern University 3-0 in the opening round of the national tournament. But this year, with an unblemished record of 25-0, the Comets enter the national stage with a heightened confidence—and a slew of returnees from last year’s squad.
“We’ve been there, we’ve done that,” said Sanders. “We’ve got quite a few freshmen on the floor, but I’m sure they’ll adjust to (the pressure).”
The Comets won the American Southwest Conference volleyball championship Saturday after a five-game match against Hardin-Simmons University. (Photo by Douglas Fejer)
The Comets try on their newly earned American Southwest Conference championship shirts. They advance to the national playoffs with no losses this season. (Photo by Douglas Fejer)