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Redbirds earn at-large bid into NCAA Tournament

Redbirds earn at-large bid into NCAA Tournament

Redbird Volleyball begins its quest for a NCAA National Championship on Friday at Marquette (Photo Courtesy Anthony Ferretti/WZND).

NORMAL – Illinois State Redbird Volleyball players, coaches and fans cheered as they saw ISU’s name appear as one of the teams in the 2018 NCAA tournament Sunday night. The Redbirds will Cincinnati in the first round.

After losing the Missouri Valley automatic bid to Northern Iowa, ISU hoped to make the tournament with a resume that includes a 25-7 overall record, 16-2 record in conference play, a regular season conference championship and a 9-0 record at home that ended with a 5-set upset against No. 25 UNI. Clinching their spot was a sigh of relief.

“It means a lot to see our name up there,” said Head Coach Leah Johnson. “You see names up there that are there every year…it’s been a mission for this class and for our staff and this program to be one of those reoccurring programs. This is the start of what we hope to build on.”

The Redbirds will head to Marquette for the first and second round. They are no stranger to Milwaukee, as they competed in the Marquette Invitational earlier this season. ISU plans to treat Marquette like home and keep their momentum going.

“We have played there before and that is a one-up,” said Senior Courtney Pence. “We’re comfortable in that gym so we’re just gonna go into every game thinking that it could be our last and just have fun and enjoy these moments.”

The Redbirds will take on the Cincinnati Bearcats Friday at 4:30 p.m.

Anthony Ferretti

November 26th, 2018

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