Volleyball: Dayton leaves Sunday for NCAA tournament in Nebraska

Dayton Flyers volleyball: A history lesson

Flyers will play Towson in first round April 14

With all 48 teams playing at the same location, the NCAA changed how teams were seeded for the NCAA tournament this year — reducing travel in the first round wasn’t a factor, for instance — and that could be a good thing for the Dayton Flyers.

“There are a lot of good teams in the Midwest,” Dayton coach Tim Horsmon said Monday. “In other regions, you might get a little luckier. We’ve drawn some really good teams in the past.”

Dayton has not made it past the second round in 14 prior NCAA appearances, losing to a top-10 Penn State team in 2014 and 2015, the last two times it advanced past the first round.

Next week in Omaha, Neb., Dayton (13-1) will have to beat Colonial Athletic Association champion Towson (6-0) and Pac 12 champion Washington (17-3), which received a first-round bye, to advance deeper in the NCAA tournament than ever.

“We played Washington a year ago and had a chance to beat them and lost in five,” Horsmon said. “We’re familiar with them. I think our kids know we can play with them. But Towson’s tough.”

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Dayton plays Towson at 3:30 p.m. April 14. The game will be televised on ESPN3. If Dayton wins, it would play No. 6 seed Washington at 3:30 p.m. April 15.

All the games will take place at the Chi Health Center Arena complex, which includes a convention center and 18,000 seat stadium. The teams will enter a bubble of sorts, much like teams in the NCAA basketball tournaments in Indianapolis and San Antonio, when they arrive in Omaha.

“We’re looking at departing Sunday and then getting tested Monday and probably being quarantined Monday,” Horsmon said. “On Tuesday, if everyone is cleared after being tested again, we’ll practice, and then our match is Wednesday.”

The Flyers take a 13-match winning streak into the NCAA tournament and they won all six sets in the A-10 tournament at the Frericks Center, beating Fordham on Friday and Virginia Commonwealth on Saturday. Horsmon thinks they can play better, however.

“I think Friday we played OK,” Horsmon said, “but at this juncture of the year, we want to play our best volleyball. we played well enough to get out of that match in three. I thought we could have been a little cleaner in how we played. Saturday, we started off pretty strong. In the second set, we gave up a pretty big run that put us in a hole. I’m not sure we showed a lot of composure in that run, but I really liked how we batteld back to get ourselves back in that set and pull that out. I think that showed a lot of toughness. I’m not sure we would have been able to do that in the last couple of years. Then closing it out in the final set, it was really good.”

The Dayton Flyers celebrate after winning the Atlantic 10 Conference volleyball tournament championship on Saturday, April 3, 2021, at the Frericks Center. Photo by Erik Schelkun
The Dayton Flyers celebrate after winning the Atlantic 10 Conference volleyball tournament championship on Saturday, April 3, 2021, at the Frericks Center. Photo by Erik Schelkun

Credit: Erik Schelkun/Elsestar Images

Credit: Erik Schelkun/Elsestar Images

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