D III Women's Volleyball

A source for NCAA Division III women's volleyball info and opinion, with a focus on the Midwest and Central regions

Blue Angels, Banana Slugs to join GSAC

The Great South Athletic Conference, which was already comprised of teams from California, Georgia, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, North Carolina and Washington D.C., will add two new members, including a team from Milwaukee, beginning this season.

New members Mount Mary University and UC Santa Cruz will vie for the 10-team GSAC’s automatic bid in volleyball (and other women’s sports) during the 2015-16 campaign.

-Ricky Nelson


Written by Ricky Nelson

June 16, 2015 at 10:44 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

3 Responses

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  1. From afar this isn’t the most note worthy news event, but when you look closer this is a HUGE deal to the west region and specifically Texas DIII volleyball.

    Last year, the NCAA only took 8 West teams to the tournament although you could make a very strong case that at least 9 were more than worthy. Without the NCAA specifically saying it ,the results of the selection committee showed their unwillingness to pay for teams to travel out of their region. By adding a good west region team (Slugs were 18-5 last year) to the GSAC, you could make the argument that they will consistently be one of the conferences strongest teams. Last year the automatic bid went to a team with an under .500 record.

    If the NCAA continues to limit out-of-region travel then this is one less spot for a good team out of the strong west region. If this realignment was in effect last year, then it would have been quite likely the Slugs would have taken the spot that went to nationally ranked Colorado College. To top this off, with another potential automatic qualifier from the west coast, the west region is more likely to stay hosted in California. This just gives the NCAA another reason to avoid Pool C bids to Texas teams. Case in point in 2013 there were 5 Texas teams in the tournament (3 Pool C bids) and after the realignment it dropped to 2 teams in 2014 (both automatic qualifiers). If Colorado College wins the SCAC this year then expect only one Texas team in the tournament in 2015. There is some great volleyball played in Texas, it just a shame the NCAA doesn’t seem able to be more inclusive with these teams.


    June 19, 2015 at 3:46 pm

  2. It will be interesting to see the reaction to Santa Cruz’s maneuver. Basically they have gone out and bought an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament for the foreseeable future. You are too kind in saying they will compete for the league championship. None of the other schools in the league play serious, or really even competitive, volleyball. The 8 GSAC teams in 2014 went a combined 54-147. The other new member, Mount Mary, was 0-28. Santa Cruz is a 15K+ public California university with a strong athletic program. The other 9 schools range in size from 485 – 2100 (ave 1100) and have limited athletic history. In 2014 there were 7 regular season matches played before they held a tournament. So if that holds all Santa Cruz has to do is show up and win the tournament. The Fact that UC Santa Cruz and Umaine – Presque Isle (which is 400 miles north of Boston) are in the same sports conference just does not seem right.

    On the pool C bids, I agree the key thing for the Texas teams is that they can not let the regional always be played in California/Northwest, it has to alternate between CA/Northwest and Texas, at worst. Hopefully that has already been decided as part of the new west region setup. It was Texas in 2013 and you did well did bid wise, Last year was CA (not so good). Should be Texas this year again.

    Moving the Texas leagues to the west makes sense. I think that puts all the 500+ mile trips in the west region. Then within the west there are 4 clusters all more than 500+ away from any other: CA, OR/WA, TX, and Colorado College. Colorado College is never going to host since all 7 other teams would have to fly in. The Texas cluster(+CC) has as many auto bids(2) and more teams(17) than any other cluster. Beyond alternating, the fairest way might be to pick the pool C teams and then play the regional at the cluster with the most pool C schools. That will minimize air travel. As long as they get a fair number of regional hosting turns it should be OK for Texas.

    Another plus, at least now you know Santa Cruz will not be in pool C anymore, so that is technically one less team you have to compare with. They should play in the south region when Texas hosts the west regional. They do play in the Great South AC after all.


    June 29, 2015 at 2:51 pm

  3. I hope all teams can travel to the GSAC volleyball tourney this year. It’s one thing to form a Pool A conference — one of those teams would have been Pool B if the GSAC didn’t exist — but the conference is much more credible when the far-flung institutions actually follow through and compete at season’s end.
    But yeah, UC Santa Cruz makes the GSAC prediction a pretty safe/boring one.
    -Ricky Nelson

    Ricky Nelson

    July 1, 2015 at 4:10 pm

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