Over on the left side, I’ve added a link called “NCAA Tournament Brackets”. This is my summer project and consists of recreating all of the NCAA Tournament brackets. If you go to the NCAA site that has the DIII Tournament results you’ll notice that only 4 brackets are preserved, which seems like a shame to me. So, please check back during the summer as I add all of the brackets starting with the 1981 first.
Now, as I’ve gone through some of these earlier brackets, I’ve noticed some interesting tidbits (some of these I’ve shared on Twitter). The first item is that Ohio Northern holds the mark for the most NCAA Tournament wins (37) without winning a championship. I found it shocking that second place is SUNY Cortland with 32 wins. Once you let that sink in then it won’t be too surprising to learn that SUNY Cortland has made 24 tournament appearances.
The first team to sweep through an NCAA Tournament (not losing a set) and win the championship was the 2004 Juniata team. No one else has done it since.
As I started with the older matches, I was curious if anyone had been shutout in a set. The first time was in 1988 when it happened to Bridgewater when it lost a set 15-0 to Muskingum. (Remember that this was before rally scoring.) Oddly, it then happened two more times in this same tournament as both La Verne (to UC San Diego) and Ohio Northern (to Benedictine) suffered the same fate.
Prior to 2004 (except for 1998) there was a third place match. La Verne was good enough but not good enough to finish third 5 times, which is the second most all-time. Blowing their doors off is Juniata who have finished third 11 times and fourth 7 times. When you factor in their 6 second place finishes and their 2 championships, they have been in the top four 26 out of their 37 appearances.
Two schools have an NCAA Tournament winning percentage higher than 0.800 (minimum 10 matches played). They are Washington-St. Louis (0.819) and UC San Diego (0.806). Between them they have 17 championships and you have to remember that UC San Diego’s last appearance was 1999 when they moved up to DII. On the flip side, Hunter holds the mark for the most appearances without a single win at 13.
Another interesting tidbit…fourteen times the championship host school has made the finals. The host school is only 8-6 in that championship match.
Another project that is ongoing is looking at the rosters as they get released. It’s rare to see an entire class returning and even more rare when a class all returns and they pick-up an extra returning player. That’s the case with Caltech as everyone is listed on their 2019 roster plus the addition of senior Alexa Lauinger. Alexa was studying abroad last season and missed the 2018 volleyball season. In 2017 she played in every match reaching 218 points while leading the team in digs.
You might have guessed that the DIII volleyball conference with schools located the furthest apart was the University Athletic Association (UAA), which has schools that stretch from Brandeis University in Massachusetts to Washington-St. Louis in Missouri and Emory University in Georgia. Second on this list would be the American Southwest Conference (ASC) as Sul Ross State and Belhaven University are about 900 miles apart.
My other summer project of note is dealing with our new kitten, Dany (or Daenerys or the Mad Queen). Our wonderful Siamese mixed cat, Rex, passed away after 17+ years and I lasted only a month not having a cat before I caved. She is currently alternating between biting my laptop power cord and pouncing on my feet.