Dayton Flyers to play Pittsburgh in NCAA volleyball tournament

UD to play at Penn State for third straight season

The Dayton Flyers will play at Penn State in the NCAA volleyball tournament for the third straight season. Their first-round opponent at 5 p.m. Friday will be Pittsburgh.

The bracket was announced Sunday night. Dayton lost 3-0 in the first round to Penn State in 2014. Last season, it beat Villanova 3-1 in the first round and then lost 3-1 to Penn State.

“There was probably some disappointment, just doing the same thing for the third year in a row,” Dayton coach Tim Horsmon said. “There’s probably an advantage, too. We’ve been there. We’ve done that. We know the lay of the land. I don’t think our kids will be surprised or shocked by anything.”

Horsmon expects the team to practice Wednesday morning and leave for State College, Pa., after practice. That was the schedule last year.

“We’ll be ready to go,” Horsmon said.

Penn State (22-9) is the No. 16 seed in the tournament. The Nittany Lions, who rank 23rd in the RPI, play Long Island University-Brooklyn (16-14) at 7:30 p.m. Friday in the first round. The winner plays Dayton or Pittsburgh.

This is Dayton’s 12th NCAA tournament appearance and third in a row. It is 7-11 in the NCAA tournament.

At 30-1, Dayton has the best winning percentage in Division I. It has won 19 matches in a row since suffering its only loss, 3-0 to Loyola Marymount on Sept. 16.

Western Kentucky (30-2) is the only other team with 30 victories. Dayton ranks 27th in the RPI and 24th in the American Volleyball Coaches Association poll.

Pittsburgh (24-8), making its first NCAA tournament appearance since 2004, ranks 37th in the RPI and was not ranked in the AVCA poll. Dayton is 4-2 all time against Pittsburgh. The Panthers won the last meeting 3-0 in the second match of the 2014 season.

Dayton earned the Atlantic 10 Conference’s automatic bid by winning the conference tournament on Nov. 20, beating Saint Louis 3-2 in the final. By the time Dayton plays Friday, it will have had a 12-day break since its last match.

“Traditionally, we’ve played a match around Thanksgiving,” Horsmon said. “We didn’t this year. It’s been great for our kids. It’s a long season. To be able to give them a couple days off, it’s great for their bodies and their minds.”

The Miami Redhawks (24-6) also qualified for the tournament. They will play Oregon at 5:30 p.m. Thursday in Ann Arbor, Mich.

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