Rebels To Face North Carolina In NCAA Tournament First Round Ole Miss Earns Third NCAA Berth In Five Seasons
OXFORD, Miss. -- The Rebel volleyball team will be making its third NCAA Tournament appearance in program history - and third in the past five seasons - when Ole Miss (19-10, 13-7 SEC) takes on North Carolina (24-9, 15-5 ACC) in the first round at California-Berkeley.
The first-round match-up will take place on Friday, Dec. 3, at 7 p.m. CT. The winner of the match will face the winner of Cal-Berkeley and Utah State in the second round on Saturday.
This season, the Rebels finished second in the Western Division of the Southeastern Conference and fourth in the overall standings. The 13 wins is the second most in SEC play under head coach Joe Getzin, falling one win short of a 14-6 mark in 2007 - the last time the Rebels advanced to the post-season. Ole Miss finished with a 25-8 record that year and faced BYU in the first round of the NCAA Tournament at Washington.
The Southeastern Conference saw six teams selected for the NCAA Tournament with the top three teams claiming national seeds.
"This is an exciting time for the Ole Miss volleyball program" Getzin said. "I'm very proud of the team and they way they pulled together and matured throughout the season. We're looking forward to playing a very good North Carolina team."
Ole Miss jumped out to a quick start in conference play this year, pushing out to a 10-2 mark in conference play through the first half of league play, capping the first portion of the schedule with a shutout win over No. 12 LSU.
The Rebels continued to battle through the second half of the schedule despite losing one of the top players in the nation by hitting percentage when junior middle blocker Regina Thomas tore her ACL. Thomas ranks seventh nationally in hitting at .421 despite missing the final six matches of the season. That percentage is also tops in the SEC. She also ranks among the league leaders in blocks with 1.16 blocks per set.
Ole Miss put a balanced attack on the floor this season, with several players joining Thomas in leading the Rebels to success. Senior middle blocker Miranda Kitts hit .314 for the season, tying for ninth in the league as she put down 216 kills on the season. She also averaged more than a block per set on the year.
Sophomore outside hitter Whitney Craven led the team in kills, putting own 318 kills and averaging almost three kills per set on the year. Sophomore right side Allegra Wells also emerged as an offensive threat, coming up with 268 kills and adding 72 blocks to the net defense.
The back row defense of the Rebels has been led by junior libero Morgan Springer, who averages 4.61 digs per set - the second most in the league. Springer has come up with 493 digs this year and broken the 1,000 dig mark for her career. Senior Emily Kvitle has also been a big defensive force for the Rebels, coming up with 269 digs this season and averaging 2.50 digs per set.
Sophomore setter Amanda Philpot has guided the Rebel offense in her first season with Ole Miss, averaging almost eight assists per set this year after claiming the starting job several weeks into the season. Philpot has also posted a pair of triple-double, including her career first in a win at Alabama that earned the sophomore SEC Player of the Week honors.
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