TexAnns face Metro State in regional tourney

PHIL RIDDLE phil.riddle@empiretribune.com Twitter @ETSports
Tarleton, celebrating a series of firsts, faces Metro State of Denver in the first round of the regional volleyball tournament at noon Friday in Grand Junction, Colo.

It’s rarified air for the Tarleton volleyball team.

For the first time ever, the TexAnns qualified for the NCAA national tournament. They begin their playoff run Friday at noon against Metro State of Denver.

Tarleton received an automatic berth to the NCAA postseason by claiming the Lone Star Conference crown, also a first.

Coach Mary Schindler’s squad rolled to a  24-6 overall record, starting the season on an 8-1 roll, and finishing by upsetting defending Lone Star Conference champion West Texas A&M in five sets in the LSC tournament.

“This has always been a goal of ours in the last 10 years and it has finally happened,” said Schindler in a release from TSU. “We've always known we could play at this level. These girls truly believed they could do it and they never faltered from that belief."

The TexAnns earned the No. 6 seed in the South Central regional tournament as the automatic qualifier from the Lone Star Conference.

The tournament will be played in Grand Junction, Colorado at the home of Colorado Mesa University, ranked No. 2 in all of the previous regional rankings but advancing to No. 1 after winning the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Tournament Championship.

Tarleton will face off with Metro State, the No. 3 seed from the RMAC, in the opening round of the tournament.

Metro State carries a 23-6 record for the season. Their last outing was a straight-set loss to top-ranked Colorado Mesa in the RMAC tournament.

The winner of the TSU-Metro State battle advances to the regional semifinals on Saturday. The regional championship match is scheduled for Sunday.