Two years later, Mizzou volleyball returns to NCAA Tournament

After a two-year absence, senior Julianna Klein and the Missouri Tigers are headed back to the NCAA Tournament. (Photo by JJ Stankevitz)

Since the turn of the century, NCAA Tournament appearances have been a point of pride for the Mizzou volleyball team.

From 2000-07, the Tigers made eight consecutive tournament appearances and were a heartbreaker away from a Final Four berth in 2005. But while fighting injuries and inexperience in missing the tournament during the 2008 and 2009 seasons, Missouri’s “eight consecutive appearances” talking point turned into “eight appearances in 10 seasons,” a phrase printed at the bottom of the team’s weekly media notes.

That tagline in the notes, meant to promote the school’s 21st century success, almost backhandedly served as a constant reminder of the team’s absence from postseason play from 2008-09. But on Sunday, the two-year drought was pronounced officially dead.

Mizzou (20-10, 12-8 Big 12) was selected to the NCAA Tournament on Sunday and will travel to Cedar Falls, Iowa to face No. 5 Northern Iowa on Friday. Missouri finished the regular season fifth in the perennially-strong Big 12 Conference and had an RPI of 41 prior to a season-ending loss against Oklahoma.

The winner of Missouri/Northern Iowa is slated to face the winner of Arizona/Northwestern as part of the Pennsylvania Regional. The region runs through three-time defending national champion No. 4 Penn State.

The top five finishers in the Big 12 all earned tournament bids, with Missouri being joined by No. 2 Nebraska, No. 9 Texas, Iowa State and Oklahoma.

LINK: NCAA Bracket Release
LINK: Mizzou tournament résumé

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