A New Frontier

SNU goes where it has never been before, the NCAA Tournament






BETHANY, Okla. — Southern Nazarene University embarks on a journey it has never been Thursday when Head Coach Kevin Ingram leads his team to the program's first NCAA Tournament berth.
 
The Crimson Storm closed out the 2016 season on an 8-match winning streak. That's longest streak since joining Division II in the 2012 season and the longest streak since 2011. The final three matches included three straight sweeps through the Great American Conference Championships to earn the automatic bid. SNU has won its last four by sweeps, which is the longest streak of sweeps this season.
 
The Crimson Storm's reward for its season-ending high note, is none other than the No. 1 team in the country in Concordia-St. Paul. The Golden Bears won seven straight National Championships from 2007-13. The only unranked team in the Central Region is the Crimson Storm with the lowest ranked team being No. 8 Wayne State. SNU is also the only first time participant.
 
Thursday's opening round match features two top-30 teams in assists and kills per set. CSP is ranked second in the country in assists per set at 14.23 while the Storm are 28th at 12.81. The Golden Bears are also second in kills per set at 14.96 while SNU is 29th at 13.67. St. Paul though lead the country in hitting percentage at .331, which includes top-ranked Riley Hanson (.445) and Emma Lange who is eighth (.391). The match will also feature two 1,000-assist setters as Concordia's Kasey Williams has 1,234 on the year while SNU's Elyse Berlin has 1,122.
 
The Crimson Storm have never played any of the other seven teams in the tournament field.