None. Nada. Zip. Zilch. Goose Egg.
In case you haven’t already gotten the message, Virginia Tech’s volleyball team has all of zero NCAA Tournament appearances in its entire 33-year history.
But that could change — very soon.
The Hokies (18-9, 9-8 ACC) are having what could be their best season in school history. With three matches left to play, their current RPI ranking is 35, meaning they have a very good shot at receiving a bid to their first NCAA Tournament.
The young Tech squad has only two seniors and four juniors on its roster, but it fully expected to be in its current position at the start of the season.
“I absolutely expected us to have an opportunity to make the NCAA Tournament,” said Chris Riley, head coach. “That’s our whole goal. Everything we’re trying to do is put ourselves in that situation.”
Riley’s players had a similar mindset concerning their early season aspirations.
“Making the tournament has been a goal for us since I’ve been here,” said Felicia Willoughby, senior middle blocker.
Willoughby has been a model of consistency for the Hokies — starting all but one match in her four years at Tech. She is also the program’s only two-time All-American and holds the school record for blocks with 531.
She now has three matches left in her last shot at the postseason, and she knows just how important these contests are.
“Just realizing how close we are, it puts more pressure on how good we have to play,” Willoughby said. “But I don’t think that should affect us.”
Willoughby is joined in the middle by teammates Cara Baarendse, who ranks second in the ACC in hitting percentage (.391) and sixth in kills (3.26 per set), as well as Victoria Hamsher, a talented freshman who has started all 27 matches this season. Junior outside hitter Justine Record, a southpaw with a vicious serve, leads the ACC in service aces at .36 per set, and is another important reason for the Hokies’ success this year.
Additionally, Tech’s squad has the opportunity to set a school record for ACC wins this season if it can win the remaining three games.