On Friday, Hawks Volleyball Returns to Final Four

Friday, December 13, 2019
Volleyball team celebrating on the court

The Rockhurst University women’s volleyball team is heading back to the NCAA Division II Final Four for the second time in three years.

On Thursday afternoon, the third-seeded Hawks swept the Carson-Newman University Eagles in sets in the national tournament quarterfinal round in Denver, Colorado, propelling them to a semifinal showdown against the second-ranked University of Nebraska at Kearney in the national semifinals at 6 p.m. tonight. The game is available to stream here.

The Hawks’ last trip to the Final Four was in 2017, where they fell to Concordia University, St. Paul.

Senior outside hitter Mary Wolf applauded the team’s persistence in its victory Thursday, while senior Alyssa Woodman acknowledged both the challenge — and the opportunity — ahead of them.

“It’s super exciting to be able to go to the Final Four during our four years twice, and this is something that we have always looked to achieve,” she said.

Even in the context of an already successful season, It’s been a good couple of weeks for the Hawks — in addition to earning that semifinal berth, senior outside hitters Woodman and Karli Reichert were named NCAA Division II All-Americans by the American Volleyball Coaches Association, and head coach Tracy Rietzke was named 2019 Division II National Coach of the Year by the AVCA. He is currently first among active Division II coaches in wins.

The squad has also been on a run as of late, winning their last eight matches, a streak that dates back to before the Great Lakes Valley Conference tournament, which the team won for the third time in its history. While there’s no doubt the challenge will be formidable against the Nebraska-Kearney Lopers, who are undefeated on the season, Rolf said another shot at hoisting the trophy is keeping the team focused.

“It feels great, it feels really, really great,” to return to the semifinals, she said. “But we’re hungry for more.”