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

2016 field of 64 announced

The NCAA released the field of 64 today. The committee and I disagreed on six five teams. [Counting’s hard]

I have some work to do. I’ll get to comments, if any, later. Wow, though.

-Ricky Nelson


Written by Ricky Nelson

November 7, 2016 at 11:55 am

Posted in Uncategorized

26 Responses

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  1. Looking forward to your analysis. But my feeling is the Central/Midwest regions had a bunch of decent teams but few great ones. There was a lot of beating each other. So what appeared to be significant wins, really were not. On top of that there was the mixing in plenty of poor losses. I certainly believe the MIAC was much stronger last year. So without knowing a whole lot about some of the criteria, I am not surprised by this region losing out on a few bids.


    November 7, 2016 at 12:09 pm

  2. Quick first takes…

    * Concept that teams are selected prior to host sites/travel being discussed is now out the window.

    * Placement of “south” region to New York meant teams in that area got selected over more qualified teams in other regions. I mean Susquehana lost to Berry on a neutral floor just over a week ago. But, Berry has to fly.

    * I had thought the “south” region would be more to the west, which opened the door for Eau Claire, Stevens Point, Chicago instead of Clark, Ramapo and Susquehana. Which of those teams are more qualified in your mind?

    * NCAA, “Dangit! We have a Pool B bid allocated and we are going to use it!”


    November 7, 2016 at 12:19 pm

  3. Cal Lutheran got a favorable draw but must travel to St. Paul before thinking about getting to WI. I guess we are coming home to Lutheran land.


    November 7, 2016 at 12:22 pm

  4. Wow is right! Clark getting a bid never even crossed my mind. They have been coming on for a couple years now but I did not think they had anywhere close to the reputation capital to get a bid without a few more out of region wins.Shocking. Plus, Tufts takes a consolation bid.

    and that is before even mentioning NY. 2 consolation bids AND that is with a bad pool B team coming out of their region!

    The Midwest is going to revolt! There has to be a glass ceiling on a single league

    Still no final rankings. Need to look at geography a bit. Moira Long is a miracle worker!


    November 7, 2016 at 12:24 pm

  5. Six teams Ricky? Why do I only see 5?

    Augsburg, Chicago, Ill. Wesleyan, Stevens Point and Eau Claire.


    November 7, 2016 at 12:56 pm

  6. DIIIFan,
    You are correct. I actually had Tufts crossed out. Everyone knows how deep that region runs.

    -Ricky Nelson

    Ricky Nelson

    November 7, 2016 at 1:05 pm

  7. This is insane. I’m a former D3 volleyball player (who attended none of the following schools), and I know how much this means to a lot of the Pool C teams, so I mean no disrespect here, but:

    Ramapo, Clark, Susquehanna?

    Over Stevens Point? How? Ramapo has played not a SINGLE top 25 ranked team all season, but has a respectable record (over average teams). Stevens Point plays in one of the toughest D3 conferences top to bottom in the nation and has a win over a top 25 team, has played a ranked team 5 times. Oh, and THEY ARE ALSO RANKED IN THE TOP 25.

    Over Chicago? Clark has played just one top 25 ranked team this season. Chicago has played NINE teams ranked in the top 25 and has beaten three of them. This is absolutely maddening.

    Over UW-Eau Claire? Come on. UWEC has played 8 ranked top 25 opponents, and has won three of the matches. UWEC is 5th in their region, Susquehanna is 6th in their region. Susquehanna has played three ranked opponents, getting SWEPT each of the three matches.

    At what point do teams get rewarded for scheduling, competing with, or beating top level competition? At what point do coaches quit beefing up their schedules to go 30-5 against average teams, knowing they’ll get a bid at the end of the year?

    I could go on, but I digress. Wow is an understatement. How disappointing.


    November 7, 2016 at 1:07 pm

  8. D3Alum – Thanks for that rundown. I was going to do it at some point but wouldn’t have brought your passion. Good post!

    It all came down to who hosts that Brockport (South) region. Where ever it is placed means teams from that area get preference. Again, the NCAA will NOT admit to that but we all see it, right? Put that region at Juniata and you could drive over the midwest teams.

    This year would have been perfect to drop Cal Lu into New England and shift a team south to make room. So easy and until this is done, there is no incentive to the NE teams to play out of the NE or NY regions. If I’m Berry, I make it a goal to take a weekend every year and play NY and/or NE teams. Maybe the midwest now needs to hit up that area each year, too.


    November 7, 2016 at 1:21 pm

  9. Additional Information:

    UTD region has 7 of the Top 25 teams in their bracket. Anyone want to place odds on Whitworth winning there?

    Tufts region has 0 Top 25 teams. At least they are matched up against the UTD bracket.

    Whitewater has 5.

    Mary Washington has 3.

    Northwestern has 3.

    Stevens has 1.

    Calvin has 4.

    Brockport has 1.

    If I’m ranking the brackets, I go UTD, Calvin, Whitewater, Northwestern, Mary Washington, Brockport (thanks Emory), Stevens (thanks Eastern) and Tufts (thanks…um…well…NCAA?).


    November 7, 2016 at 1:28 pm

  10. DIIIFan @ 1:28pm,

    Top 25 team? Why do I only see 24? (7+0+5+3+3+1+4+1). Who’s missing?


    November 7, 2016 at 1:44 pm

  11. Sore spot there. Who’s missing? Clark. Wait, that’s not it. Stevens. Dang…nope. Um, Ramapo…Susquehanna…wait…who was it? Oh yeah, Stevens Point. They are in the Midwest bracket with Eau Claire and Chicago. This mythical bracket would be the 6th toughest! :-)

    In all seriousness, it’s not uncommon for one team in the Top 25 not to get a bid. My heart does ache for the Midwest today. I’ve been there with the west the past two years.


    November 7, 2016 at 1:50 pm

  12. I agree with the comment that sometimes a top 25 team gets left off, but UWSP was 17th in last week’s ranking.


    November 7, 2016 at 2:06 pm

  13. I believe that last year the 19th, 20th and 25th ranked teams stayed home.


    November 7, 2016 at 2:25 pm

  14. Anon@1:28 & DIIIFan,

    Because apparently being rated 17th in the country by a panel of coaches is not enough for the NCAA to consider paying for a team to fly. 17th best of 440 division 3 women’s volleyball teams. Should be easy, right?

    Every year we have a bone to pick as fans, there usually seems to be something a little bit ‘off’. But for me, this is more than just ‘off’, it’s pretty dismal decision-making.


    November 7, 2016 at 2:38 pm

  15. Very well said, everyone; however, I want to single out D3Alum for that logical and passionate post. You captured the frustration perfectly. As happy as I am for all the players whose teams are in, I can only imagine how players and coaches on clearly more deserving excluded teams must feel.


    November 7, 2016 at 2:52 pm

  16. All,
    I don’t have much to add to the discussion. I think most salient points were provided. I felt terrible almost all day asking myself, “What can highly respected coaches like Kim Wudi and Abbey Sutherland even say to highly respected seniors like Katrina Raskie and Bri Piepenbrok?”

    I can only imagine the elation of a Ramapo, a Clark or a Susquehanna today. What a day for those programs!

    -Ricky Nelson

    Ricky Nelson

    November 7, 2016 at 4:31 pm

  17. Given some of the interesting choices the coaches make when voting, are you sure they should be a primary source of teams qualified to be in the tournament?


    November 7, 2016 at 4:32 pm

  18. Feel bad for the Texas-Dallas regional. 7 ranked teams, 4 from the top 10. This is last year’s Cal Lu regional equivalent and I dub thee the 2016 Pool of Death. Though the ever gracious Ricky has tried to explain it, I’ll never get it. NCAA should (in my granted humble and ignorant of NCAA methodologies opinion) try to get the highest quality teams to the final 8 and I think this can be done without going crazy on travel. Just not going to happen though.


    November 7, 2016 at 5:03 pm

  19. Several posts reference the AVCA ranking which are for entertainment purposes only. The AVCA ranking does not exist to the NCAA, neither does the Richkern.com ranking. These are the NCAA rankings on which the field was selected http://www.ncaa.com/rankings/volleyball-women/d3

    And then the methodology is such that MW #7 Stevens Point doesn’t get to be talked about until MW#6 Eau Claire is selected. Eau Claire only beat three teams in the tournament, all at least 6 weeks ago and they lost 4 of their last 7, and lost to Stout! While Stevens Point may be ranked by the coaches, the coaches who make up the Midwest region put them behind this Eau Claire team, and they got buried.

    Stevens and Susquehanna had 30+ wins.

    And I echo Jose’s comments about the west… CMS vs Colorado in the first round? That’s unbelievable. But the NCAA doesn’t allow them to fly any more teams than they absolutely must and that won’t change until the tournament is making hundreds of thousands of dollars a year.


    November 7, 2016 at 6:58 pm

  20. Noreaster – So your point is that W/L is more important than the quality of the opponent played and that all wins are equal? You are saying that the resume of the NE and NY teams selected were better than the Midwest teams? I appreciate you supporting your region but I’ll just have to disagree.

    Let me ask you this. Who do you think wins if Stevens Point or Eau Claire or Chicago or Illinois Wesleyan played Stevens or Susquehanna (or Ramapo or Clark for that matter)?


    November 7, 2016 at 7:35 pm

  21. I know for a fact that calls were made to the NCAA regarding last years Pool of Death and this year at least one team, I don’t know if it was a result but at least Cal L, got a reprieve. Lucky Cal Lu because once again four of the best teams in the country (per AVCA voting #3,4,5 & 6) will eliminate one another before the round of eight. #4 CMS playing #6 Colorado College in the first round? Wow.The only saving grace is that the team that makes it will get a big break (sorry but it will) in that Round of 8 match only to probably meet up with Cal Lu again.

    Sad that each year some “undeserving” teams get bids while some “deserving” teams don’t. UW Stevens Point definitely got the short end this year and even thought they won’t admit it….”Show me the Money” decides it. Won’t help, but LaVerne and Southwestern felt your pain UWSP.

    I agree that the quality of the wins should make a bigger difference than sheer numbers. DIIFan nails it with regards to the northeast and their lack of incentive. Drop any of the top 4 ( and probably more) from the Pool of Muerta in and they walk through that region to the Elite 8. I’ve heard several west region coaches decry this but “It is what it is”.

    Let’s see if we have the same number of early upsets as last year. My guess is Cal Lu and Calvin in the finals but that is why we play the games because one bad day can finish you.

    D3 dad

    November 7, 2016 at 9:25 pm

  22. DIIIFan,

    No, I only included Stevens and Susquehanna’s records to suggest that they aren’t chopped liver. My points were A) The AVCA ranking likely was never discussed and by policy it shouldn’t have been, so using that to prove the value of certain teams is misguided. And B) Stevens Point, Illinois Wesleyan, and Chicago were likely never discussed. Right or wrong, they were blocked by Eau Claire.

    As for who would win, we only know who did win. This year Mid Atlantic #5 Christopher Newport went to Whitewater and defeated Midwest #5 Milikin and conference champ St. Norbert, as well as Carroll. Platteville (who beat Whitewater) and Luther went to Christopher Newport and the only win they got was over each other, going a combined 0-6 vs teams from the Mid-Atlantic and New England. Millikin also lost to Mid Atlantic #3 Eastern out in Colorado. Stevens beat Minnesota Morris out in California for whatever that’s worth. Osh Kosh, Lacrosse, Elmhurst, Eau Claire, Stevens Point… a total of 0-1 against the eastern 3 regions that make up over half of all D3 members.

    If ranked wins in the northeast are so easy to get, come and get some. Millikin did it last year. Trine did it a couple of years ago. But don’t send Platteville and Luther as your representatives and then get upset if you aren’t held in the same esteem. Is it expensive? Sure but didn’t Eau Claire just go to Ireland for 10 days? I believe Tufts is coming to Minnesota next season. So don’t tell me it’s too expensive.

    FWIW last year I think the midwest had it’s top 9 or 10 teams get in when the New York region had none. The central had every ranked team and a couple of unranked teams selected to the tournament 2-3 years ago. Maybe there is just an ebb and a flow to this and nobody has to do anything different but why leave it to chance? The eastern 3 regions rank 34 teams and probably 25 of them don’t change from year to year. Go beat them.


    November 8, 2016 at 9:34 am

  23. Noreaster – Good discussion points!

    The common opponent gets tricky fast and can be used both ways, as you know. Ebb and flow may have had a role in the placement of the Brockport host site. Number of teams in the northeast versus the Midwest may have played a role, too.

    In the past couple of years we’ve seen the south and west have more than qualified teams not get selected. Budget doesn’t impact selection but it obviously does with those last few picks. I believe the same thing happened here but the shock is that it impacted the Midwest. The top west teams now play in region AND out-of-region (sometimes multiple times) and if you look at the resume of the top 7 west teams you can see the results. This is a wake-up call to the Midwest (IMO) and playing more teams in the Mid-Atlantic, NY and NE regions may be the answer.

    Best of luck to the team(s) you are pulling for in the tournament!

    D3 Dad – The interactive bracket is confusing but the right side of the bracket will play the right side in the Semi-Finals and the left side will play the left side. Take a look at the printable bracket, which I had to do to confirm. So, Calvin and Cal Lu can’t meet in the finals.


    November 8, 2016 at 10:12 am

  24. Noreaster,

    I do know that the AVCA ranking is not used though bringing it into the discussion couldn’t hurt. I think it does a reasonable job of looking at the strength of schedule and trying to rank accordingly. However, my main complaint is not about which teams are put into the tournament. There will always be deserving teams that get left out. I would just like to see some spreading of the top teams and yes, AVCA is as good a way as any to use as a guideline. CMS and CC are already traveling to Dallas. Why not send one to Tufts and the other to Stevens? Those 2 moves would put at least one team from the AVCA top ten into every regional and cut down on the feeling that those regionals reaching the finals are undeserved. At least this year they did it with Emory.


    November 8, 2016 at 3:21 pm

  25. Jose,
    Flying a West team anywhere besides Dallas would create an additional flight into Dallas.

    Emory had to fly somewhere due to the locations of the other teams that secured bids.
    -Ricky Nelson

    Ricky Nelson

    November 8, 2016 at 5:33 pm

  26. Ricky,

    Yes, I know the ripple effect. I agree with your earlier post about how hard it is to seed the regionals with location restrictions. Just unfortunate that the NCAA can’t find a few more dollars out of their ~$1B budget.

    Best of luck to everyone this weekend and their respective teams!


    November 9, 2016 at 8:48 am

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