Carroll’s volleyball team and women’s soccer team earned National tournament berths. For the volleyball team, it’s their first since 2012. The soccer team was there last season.
After winning the Frontier conference tournament, members of the volleyball team watched the NAIA selection show anxious to see if they earned a top-20 ranking in the final coach’s poll, which guarantees an opening round bye.
“It was great to see our name up there,” Coach Maureen Boyle said. “To not have to have a play-in game is significant.”
Carroll must wait until after the first round to learn the three teams they will face in pool play. The Saints will play three games in three days and must finish in the top two of their group to keep their hopes winning the program’s first national title alive.
“You play one match in two hours of the day.” Coach Boyle said. “It’s not a lot of time when you’re at a place when you don’t know what to do.”
This is the fourth national tournament appearance in program history.
While construction continues outside the Saints’ practice field, Carroll has built a strong program. For the second consecutive year, they’ll play in the national tournament. Like last season, the Modified Ranking Percentage Index ranked the Cascade Conference weak. So, the ladies open with a strong opponent. The team must make adjust quickly as they head west to Santa Barbara to play the Westmont Warriors and their prolific offense.
“One to the travel,” Coach David Thorvilson said. “Two to playing on Bermuda grass..”
Montana has blue grass, while Bermuda plays faster and is similar to field turf. Regardless of the surface, Carroll’s defense must slow down a team that with three wins by eight goals or more.
“Obviously, it’ll set the tone for us and give us the ability to start our offense,” Coach Thorvilson said. “Against a high-powered team were hoping to limit their opportunities.”
If Carroll pulls off the upset, they’ll reach their season goal of making it Orange Beach, Alabama for the championship rounds.