September 19, 2011

CUA welcomes back 2001 NCAA Tournament team

WASHINGTON – The 2001 CUA volleyball team was the first women's team in school history to earn a spot in the NCAA Tournament.  The Cardinals won a program-best 38 matches that season and defeated Gettysburg by a score of 3-1 in the NCAA Tournament. On Saturday, September 10, members of that memorable squad returned to campus to celebrate the ten-year anniversary of their special season.

Back in 2001, the Cardinals were on the verge of entering the National Volleyball Coaches Association Top-20 poll in mid-October following a 3-0 defeat of local rival Goucher.  Coupled with a 3-1 victory vs. St. Mary's, CUA was sitting at 26-2 overall and 5-1 within the Capital Athletic Conference (CAC).

With wins over Marymount and York, CUA advanced to the 2001 CAC championship, and in the process tied the then-school record for wins with 36.  By virtue of having the conference's best record, the Cardinals served as hosts for the conference tournament, putting their 21-match winning streak on the line.

CUA swept Mary Washington 3-0 in the conference championship match, capturing the CAC title and with it a bid to the NCAA Tournament.  The Cardinals were awarded the second seed in the Mid-Atlantic Region as well as a first-round bye.  In the regional semifinals, CUA traveled to Pennsylvania to take on the Bullets of Gettysburg. 

In its first NCAA Tournament match, CUA did not disappoint, downing the Bullets 3-1.  CUA fell in the regional final, but not before securing its place in school history with 38 wins, a conference championship and a spot in the NCAA Tournament.

The 2001 team returned to campus to see CUA capture the 13th annual Guetle Invitational with wins over Finlandia, Eastern Mennonite, Bridgewater and Frostburg State.  Following the volleyball action, the 2001 team was introduced to the DuFour Center crowd and given framed photos from that memorable season.  Afterwards there was a reception for team members and their families.

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