2015 NCAA TOURNAMENT
The Cleveland State volleyball team will be making its third appearance in the NCAA Tournament this week, traveling to top-seeded USC for a First Round contest on Thursday, December 3 at 10:30 p.m. EST. The winner of Thursday's match will advance to play the winner of Northern Arizona/San Diego in a Second Round contest on Friday, December 4. Cleveland State earned the Horizon League's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament after capturing the 2015 Horizon League Tournament title last month, and currently stands at 26-6 overall this year.
THE USC BRACKET
No. 1 USC (30-2) | Southern California will enter the 2015 NCAA Tournament as the No. 1 overall seed and will be making its 25th consecutive appearance. The Trojans have been ranked among the top two teams in the country for the majority of the 2015 season, and have won eight of their last nine contests. This season, USC posted a 16-1 record at home, and owns a 14-2 record in NCAA tournament matches all-time at the Galen Center.
Northern Arizona (28-4) | Northern Arizona is making just its second trip to the NCAA tournament in program history, and their first appearance since 1999. NAU, the Big Sky Regular Season and Tournament Champions, will take a school-record 17-match winstreak into Thursday's First Round matchup. So far this season, NAU has posted a perfect 6-0 record in neutral site matches, while owning an 8-4 record on the road.
San Diego (21-9) | San Diego earned an at-large bid to the 2015 NCAA Tournament, and will be making its 19th NCAA Championship appearance. The Toreros, who finished in second place in the West Coast Conference, earned a spot in the NCAA tournament for the sixth consecutive year. USD went on a seven-match winstreak earlier this year, and enter Thursday's contest winning five of its last seven matches.
CLEVELAND STATE VS. THE FIELD
Thursday's contest against USC will be just the second meeting between the two teams - as USC picked up a 2-0 victory during the 1984 season. A contest against Northern Arizona or San Diego would mark the first in program history.
CLEVELAND STATE IN THE NCAA TOURNAMENT
This will be Cleveland State's third appearance in the NCAA Tournament, with all three trips coming under current head coach Chuck Voss. The Vikings are 0-2 in NCAA Tournament play, falling to Albany (3-0) during the 2007 season and Kansas (3-1) in 2012.
…VIKINGS IN THE NCAA TOURNAMENT
Thursday's First Round contest at No. 1 USC will be the second NCAA Tournament appearance for the senior trio of Christina Toth, Nikki Holmes, and Dayna Roberts, as all three were on the squad that faced Kansas in the 2012 NCAA Tournament.
HORIZON LEAGUE REGULAR SEASON & TOURNAMENT CHAMPS!
For the second time in program history the Vikings swept the Horizon League titles, picking up both the Regular Season and Tournament crowns during 2015. This marks the third time that the Vikings have been Regular Season Champions (2009 & 2012) and the third time that the Vikings have been Tournament Champions (2007 & 2012). Cleveland State finished the regular season with a 13-3 mark in league action, tying the program record for league wins in a season.
…THREE NAMED TO ALL-TOURNAMENT TEAM
After claiming the Horizon League Championship, Cleveland State had three players named to the All-Tournament Team, including middle hitter Alexis Middlebrooks who was named the Tournament MVP. Middlebrooks posted 23 kills on a .340 hitting percentage (23-5-53) along with 14 total blocks in CSU's two Horizon League Tournament matches. Also earning a spot on the All-Tournament Team were outside hitter Grace Kauth (27 kills, 24 digs) and libero Dayna Roberts (27 digs).
20 WINS AND COUNTING
Earlier this season the Vikings notched their sixth 20-win season under head coach Chuck Voss and their 15th 20-win season in program history. Entering the NCAA Tournament, CSU stands at 26-6 this season. The 26 wins is tied for the highest single-season win total at Cleveland State over the past 30 years, and is also tied for the best single-season win total under Voss.
HEAD COACH CHUCK VOSS
Chuck Voss is in his 16th season at the helm of the Vikings, and owns a 291-188 (.608) overall record at CSU. Voss enters the NCAA Tournament just three wins shy of becoming the winningest coach in program history. Under Voss, the Vikings have eclipsed the 20-win mark six times, and have captured Horizon League Tournament titles three times (2007, 2012 & 2015). Voss is a four-time Horizon League Coach of the Year, including earning the honor earlier this season.
TRIO JOINS 1,000 CLUB THIS SEASON
So far this season three Vikings have joined the 1,000 milestone club, as Dayna Roberts and Nikki Holmes both reached 1,000 digs and Grace Kauth surpassed 1,000 kills. Roberts and Holmes became the 15th and 16th Vikings all-time to achieve the feat of 1,000 career digs - both ranking in the top-five on the CSU career digs list. Kauth became the 16th Viking in program history to reach 1,000 career kills and enters the NCAA Tournament just short of cracking the top-10 on the CSU career kills list.
…KAUTH ALSO CLOSING IN ON 1,000 DIGS
Grace Kauth has been one of Cleveland State's best all-around players over the past few years, and is closing in on becoming just the sixth Viking all-time to surpass 1,000 career kills and 1,000 career digs. Entering the NCAA Tournament, Kauth has 1,025 career kills and 898 career digs. Kauth has tallied 17 double-doubles so far this season, and ranks second on the team in both categories.
HIGH OCTANE OFFENSE
Entering the NCAA Tournament, the Vikings have notched a Horizon League-best .253 hitting percentage, while also ranking 39th nationally with their .253 clip. Cleveland State has tallied a .300 clip or better during 10 matches, including a season-high mark of .385 against Northern Kentucky (52-10-109). Cleveland State's .253 hitting percentage on the year ranks second on the CSU single-season record book.
The majority of Cleveland State's offense has come from the trio of Christina Toth, Alexis Middlebrooks, and Grace Kauth this season, as this trio has accounted for 1,265 of CSU's 1,736 total kills (73%). At least one of these three has been Cleveland State's top offensive performer during all 32 matches this season.
CSU FINISHES NON-LEAGUE SLATE WITH 11-3 RECORD
Cleveland State finished the non-league portion of its schedule with an 11-3 record this season - the eighth time under head coach Chuck Voss that the Vikings have notched double-digit wins during non-league play. The Vikings picked up two early-season tournament titles (Blue Raider Bash & Blue/Gold Invitational), and seven all-tournament accolades.
VIKINGS NOTCH 3-0 RECORD AGAINST POWER-5 TEAMS
During non-league play, Cleveland State faced three teams from the 'Power Five' conferences - posting a perfect 3-0 record against those teams. CSU picked up wins against Indiana (3-2) and Notre Dame (3-2) at the Blue Raider Bash and posted a victory over Baylor (3-1) at the Dayton Invitational. This is the first time that the Vikings have earned a 'Power Five' win since the 2011 season, and makes CSU one of two Horizon League teams with a 'Power Five' win this season (Green Bay def. Cal).