Volleyball finished the season with 18 wins and 17 losses. Despite losing to Wittenberg University in the second round of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division III tournament, DePauw University received a bid to the NCAA Division III Championship due to the team’s performance throughout the season
In the first round of the championship on Nov. 8, DePauw volleyball defeated Hope College. “It was one of our better wins in our program history simply because it was an upset because every player on our team played well in that set,” Head Coach Deb Zeller said.
However, on Nov. 9 they came up short in the second round, losing to Wittenberg in a close third set. While this loss ended their season, making it that far was still celebrated by the team.
“We were really excited to be there since our bid was not guaranteed,” Senior Suzanne Peters said. “Our goal was to show everyone that we deserved to be there and could compete with the teams there. We did exactly that by winning our first game against Hope and playing an outstanding game against Wittenberg, despite the loss.”
This was the Tigers fifth time going to the NCAA Tournament in the past six years. According to Zeller, the team was propelled by their confidence and hard work. “We’ve really established ourselves as a national level program in this stretch and so what that’s done is put our expectation as a program to get in every year,” Zeller said. “Which I really like. I would like to see us take that expectation a step further where were asking ourselves to be one of the very best teams in the country”
While the Tigers got a slow start to their season compared to years past, that didn’t stop them from reaching their goals for the end of season. Lydia Dessaur, a first-year, said their goal was to play with confidence and show that they deserved to be there.
“We had a rough start to the season. But, we figured it out and the team started to connect a lot more. We had some awesome wins against ranked teams and getting a bid and winning the first round of the national tournament was a huge success for the team!”
Zeller emphasized the effort that was put forward by the team in order to return to the national championship. “It took an incredible amount of support, confidence, and hard work,” Zeller said. “It took every player to be playing their role. Playing at a very high level and to put all that together [while] playing at the national level was a very special moment for our team and eye opening for a lot of people watching us who didn’t think we could do that, but we knew we could do that.”