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SMWC Volleyball Captures #3 Seed in the 2018 USCAA Volleyball National Championships

SMWC Volleyball Captures #3 Seed in the 2018 USCAA Volleyball National Championships

NORFOLK, Va. – The Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College volleyball team has earned a bid to play in the 2018 USCAA Volleyball National Championships.

In year four of the program, the Pomeroys have punched their fourth straight trip to Virginia Beach, Virginia. SMWC sits at 14-15 (.483) on the season and will enter the post-season tournament as the #3 seed. After three seasons finishing as the USCAA National Champion Runner-Ups, the Pomeroys volleyball team is determined to end this season as #1.

Based on the number of institutions with intent to participate who met internal qualification criteria (.500 winning % or better) the 2018 USCAA Volleyball National Championship will feature just four participants: #1 University of Maine-Fort Kent (24-5), #2 Florida National University (14-15), #3 Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College (14-15), #4 Silver Lake College (9-14). With Florida College, the Pomeroys arch enemy not present in this year's pool, SMWC is highly favored to be the 2018 USCAA Volleyball National Champion.

From Coach Stephen Beeler

On his program qualifying for a fourth straight season:

"Having the team qualify for the USCAA tourney all four of our first seasons is a great accomplishment.  Building from the ground up a competitive program has always been our goal.  It is great for the original members of the new SMWC Volleyball program to play in the tourney every year!  Hopefully, that will continue for many seasons in the future!"

On what he thinks the team can overcome:

"I think the team had some real tests early.  Battling through sickness and multiple injuries early has been a mental challenge for everyone.  We are playing some good volleyball over the last three weeks and seem to be peaking at the right time.  I know they are all excited for next week in Virginia Beach."

On how the team can prepare for a National Championship run:

"Playing for three straight days, it is important to keep focus.  Taking one match at a time, staying consistent match after match, is always a key.  Our experience should be an advantage for us.  I expect to have battles every match and we will prepare for every team."

From Mary Alvanos

On making Nationals for her senior season:

"I can't contain my excitement for Nationals this year, and I really don't think a lot of us understand how big of an accomplishment it is to start a program and receive a bid every single year. A lot of programs don't get the chance to do what we're doing and it's special. When we started this program, we had very high expectations in the way we play, the way we work in academics, and how we can get involved with our community so continuing that is very important to us (the seniors). Entering the national tournament for the fourth year in a row isn't the most important thing to us, compared to what we want long-term for this program, but we are honored for the chance to compete at another level."

On what it will take to make it to the National Championship game:

"Coach Beeler has always said to us that preparation is key for us, in the game (and in school). At this point in the season, we don't have a ton of changes that we need to make, it's just getting in the gym day in and day out and fine-tuning connections and getting repetitions. Our mindset and the way we mentally prepare for Nationals is what will help us win. I think everyone knows we have the talent to take home a championship, but we have to be focused and willing to do whatever it takes.'

On what she is looking forward to the most:

-The thing I'm looking forward to the most making more memories with my closest friends playing the game I fell in love with more than a decade ago. Some of these girls I only get to play with for a year or two, and others I've been playing with them for three to four years, so enjoying every moment I have left is the goal. We've all been through a lot in starting this program, so I think just spending time together on and off the court is really what matters the most to all of us as we close out this year.

From Gabriella Slagle:

On making Nationals for her senior season:

As we close out this season, with the seniors closing out our final season, to be entering the national championship it really feels so surreal. It hasn't clicked yet that this tournament will be my last but the only thing on my mind is having a blast with my team and getting that first-place title. 

On what it will take to make it to the National Championship game:

The team has been coming into practice every single day to prepare for this national title. I couldn't be prouder of everyone. Seeing them working extra hard to form the connections with the incoming freshman and solidifying the connections we already have has been so amazing to experience. If we go in fearless then I'm confident we will come out with a championship title. 

On what she is looking forward to the most:

Honestly, the thing I am looking forward to most about the trip to VA Beach is spending time with my team. This is my last chance to leave an impact on these girls and for the seniors to leave behind the program we have tried so hard to build. It has been an honor to be a part of something that has become so important in my life. This team will always have a very special place in my heart. 

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