If the East Central College volleyball Falcons wanted a challenge, they’re going to get it.
East Central (20-25) has been seeded 16th among the 16 teams heading to the NJCAA Division II Volleyball Championships in Perrysburg, Ohio, Nov. 21-23.
“I assumed we would be seeded 16th and so we have already begun to prepare for that,” East Central Head Coach Lisa Mathes-Peters said. “I am still stressing to the girls that if a team is going to beat us we are making them earn the victory and not because we made a lot of errors and gave it away.”
The event is being held at the Owens College Student Health & Activities Center.
ECC will get Cowley County (Kansas) in the opening round next Thursday at 1 p.m.
The Falcons will be leaving by bus for Ohio with a pep rally Tuesday at 10:20 a.m. in the ECC gym.
The match will be televised live at www.njcaatv.com/volleychamp/.
Cowley swept Neosho County (Kansas) to win the District M title.
Cowley (31-4) swept the Falcons, 25-15, 25-12, 25-14 in the Kirkwood (Iowa) Tournament Sept. 7.
“We did play Cowley earlier in the season and the girls are excited to see them again because this was prior to our blocking starting to get hot,” Mathes-Peters said. “They will be a very tough opponent to start the tournament with but this is why I have played such a tough regular season schedule. We know how we did against them and how much Cowley earned against us rather than how many unearned points we gave away.”
Since the national tournament moved to its present location, Cowley has finished no lower than second.
Cowley was the top seed in last year’s national tournament and finished second to Grand Rapids.
Cowley was the top seed and winner of the 2011 national championship.
In 2010, Cowley placed third in the final tournament held in Wisconsin Dells.
The Falcons are following in the footsteps of last year’s District O champion, Northeastern Oklahoma A&M, which had the 16th seed last season. NEO lost both of its matches last season, losing to Cowley and Lincoln Land.
The Falcons last beat Cowley Sept. 16, 2011, during the Kishwaukee College Tournament, winning 25-20, 25-19, 10-25, 25-22. Cowley was the top-ranked team in NJCAA Division II at that time.
Seeded second for the national tournament is Parkland College of Champaign, Ill. The Cobras (49-2) won the District J title by sweeping Lewis & Clark Community College of Godfrey, Ill., in the title match.
Perennial title challenger Johnson County (Kansas) has been seeded third with a 28-6 record. Johnson County defeated Kansas City (Kansas) in four games for the District N championship.
Oakland (Mich.) is the fourth seed, winning District E. Oakland (34-2) advanced by knocking out Columbus State (Ohio) in two matches.
Another perennial contender is Illinois Central (35-9), which is seeded fifth. Illinois Central knocked out Lincoln Land via sweep to advance to the national tournament.
Glendale (Ariz.) earned the sixth seed after winning the District I Tournament. Glendale (24-5) knocked out Phoenix on a sweep in the district tournament.
Unbeaten Catawba Valley (N.C.) is seeded seventh. The District P champion (39-0) knocked out 2011 national champion Pasco-Hernando (Fla.) in the championship match.
Rounding out the top half of the bracket is Monroe College (N.Y.). Monroe (34-6) won the District L title by defeating Region 21 champion Rhode Island in straight sets.
The Falcons will face either Monroe or ninth-seeded Central-Columbus (Neb.), the District G champion, in the second round. The second-round game will be Thursday at 7:30 p.m. (if ECC beats Cowley) or Friday at noon (with a loss to Cowley).
Central-Columbus (32-10) defeated the Falcons in four games at the Johnson County Tournament Aug. 24.
Defending national champion Grand Rapids (Mich.) has been seeded 10th. The District F champion has a 31-6 record heading to Ohio.
Grand Rapids advanced with a four-game win over Muskegon (Mich.) in the district finals.
Des Moines Area Community College (Iowa) is the 11th seed. DMACC (33-10) won the District C title over Iowa Central in three games.
District D champion Southwestern (Iowa) holds the 12th seed with a 34-9 record. Southwestern advanced with a four-game win over Kirkwood (Iowa) in the district championship.
District A winner South Suburban (Ill.) is the 13th seed. South Suburban (30-16) defeated Moraine Valley (Ill.) in five games to claim the district title.
Hagerstown (Md.) is seeded 14th with a 29-6 record. Hagerstown won District H over Northern Virginia by a sweep.
Moraine Valley (Ill.) advanced as the District B winner after losing in the District A final and is seeded 15th. Moraine Valley (33-8) swept Kishwaukee College in the district final.