WAYNE, Neb. -- A pair of Nebraska schools will be among eight teams in Wayne next weekend, as top-seeded Wayne State will host the NCAA Division II Central Regional Tournament.

Wayne State College was announced as the #1 seed and host by NCAA Sunday evening for the NCAA Central Region Volleyball Tournament during the NCAA selection show.  Games will be played in Rice Auditorium Friday, November 18, Saturday, November 19 and Sunday, November 20 with a full schedule/times to be announced Monday.

"We're really excited to be hosting, and we're hoping to get this old barn rocking," Wayne State head coach Scott Kneifl said during a watch party at Rice Auditorium.

It’s the 12th NCAA Tournament bid in the program’s history and first since the 2016 season.

Wayne State captured the Northern Sun Conference regular season title for the first time in program history this season and is 29-2 overall and 19-1 in the NSIC.  The Wildcats are ranked second in the latest AVCA Division II Top 25 Coaches Poll. Wayne State lost just once in the regular season, but they were upset in the opening round of the NSIC Tournament by Augustana.

Automatic NCAA Tournament bids went to conference tournament champions St. Cloud State from the Northern Sun Conference, Harding in the Great American Conference and Washburn in the Mid America Intercollegiate Athletics Association. At-large bids were awarded to Concordia-St. Paul, Minnesota Duluth, Northwest Missouri State, Nebraska-Kearney and Wayne State.

The Central region proved to be tough all season, and it remained that way Sunday. The seventh-ranked team in the country, Southwest Minnesota State, was left out of the bracket. The Mustangs were the only team to beat Wayne State in the regular season.

"We love the bracket," Kneifl said. "Having the one seed and playing a team we haven't played all season long, that's exciting for us. We're just really excited to be hosting and get this thing going."

Fellow Nebraska school UNK enters the tournament as the seventh seed and will play second-seeded Concordia-St. Paul, which won the NSIC Tournament. If the Wildcats and Lopers each win two games, they would meet in the regional championship game. 

The winner of the regional round will advance to the Elite 8.

Listed below are seedings for the NCAA Division II Central Region Volleyball Tournament:

First Round – Friday, November 18

#1 seed Wayne State (29-2) vs. #8 seed Harding (Ark.) (30-1)

#2 seed Concordia-St. Paul (26-5) vs. #7 seed Nebraska-Kearney (28-5)

#3 seed Minnesota Duluth (26-4) vs. #6 Washburn (24-7)

#4 seed Northwest Missouri State (24-6) vs. #5 St. Cloud State (26-5)

 

Semi Finals – Saturday, November 19

 

Championship Match – Sunday, November 20