ELMHURST, Ill. – Fresh off their fourth-straight Summit League Tournament Championship, the Denver Pioneers are headed to California to take on Cal Poly Friday, Dec. 1, at 7:30 p.m. CT in the first round of the 2017 NCAA Volleyball Tournament.
Both teams are scorching hot entering Friday's match: Denver has won its last 11 matches while the 2017 Big West Champion Mustangs are winners of their last 21.
Under second-year Head Coach Tom Hogan, the Pioneers posted their best overall record (23-5) and winning percentage (.821) since joining the league in 2013. They will face a Cal Poly team that ranks 16th in the country after going 26-2 in 2017. Currently, Denver sits at 54th nationally, which is the third-highest end-of-season RPI rank for a Summit League team since 2001.
Denver has now earned the league's auto-bid to the national tournament four consecutive years, having lost the past three match-ups in straight-sets: No. 6 Stanford (2016), No. 5 Washington (2015) and No. 9 Colorado State (2014).
The last Summit League/Mid-Continent team to make it out of the first round of the tournament was Oral Roberts back in 1997, when the Golden Eagles defeated Arizona, 3-2. They went onto face Colorado in the second round, losing in five sets.
ABOUT THE SUMMIT LEAGUE
Through 35 years of Division I athletics, The Summit League offers 19 championship sports and has a combined enrollment of nearly 100,000 at eight institutions, including three located in top 60 U.S. metro populations and two land-grant universities. Member institutions include: Denver (University of Denver), Fort Wayne (Indiana University-Purdue University-Fort Wayne), North Dakota State University, Omaha (University of Nebraska Omaha), Oral Roberts University, the University of South Dakota, South Dakota State University and Western Illinois University with the University of North Dakota becoming an official member on July 1, 2018. Previously known as the Mid-Continent Conference, The Summit League rebranded in 2007 and has since produced nine NCAA Champions along with over 90 Academic All-Americans, nearly 100 All-America selections and numerous former student-athletes competing at the highest professional level. For more information about the league, visit www.thesummitleague.org website, follow The Summit League on Twitter @thesummitleague.