After defending their regular season and conference tournament championship, the Vikings will take on Arizona Wildcats in the NCAA Tournament on Friday, December 2, at 5:00pm in East Lansing, Michigan. Cleveland State earned a spot in the tournament after going 23-5 overall, 14-2 in Horizon League play and winning the Horizon League Tournament.
The Vikings entered the Horizon League Championship as the top seed with a high-powered offense that led the League in hitting percentage (.255), kills (13.85 average per set), and assists (12.81 average per set). In the tournament, Cleveland State rattled off a pair of five set victories against Oakland and Green Bay to win the conference championship for the second year in a row. Cleveland State finished the season with an RPI of 39 in the nation.
For the regular season, Grace Kauth was first on the team in kills (369) and second in digs (285) as the senior claimed Horizon League Player of the Year and Offensive Player of the Year. Alexis Middlebrooks took home the Tournament MVP honors and was also named ESPNW National Player of the Week for her stellar performances in the Horizon League Tournament. The squad has also had strong play on the year from Gina Kilner, Shannon Grega, Aaliyah Slappy who all either received regular season or postseason recognition.
Cleveland State will be in familiar territory in the NCAA Tournament after being pitted against USC, the top seed in the tournament last season. The Vikings were able to take one set before ultimately dropping the match in four sets.
Arizona clinched an at-large bid for the NCAA Tournament after finishing eighth in the PAC-12 Conference. The Wildcats finished with an 18-14 overall record with a 10-10 record in conference play.
Cleveland State vs. Arizona at East Lansing, Michigan
Friday, December 2 at 5:00pm ET