BGSU volleyball will compete in the first round of the NCAA tournament on Wednesday. They will play against the Big Sky Conference champions Weber State. The match will start at 7 p.m. EST and will be streamed on ESPN3.
Even after winning the MAC championship and securing a spot in the NCAA tournament, emotions still ran high the day after. The moment became a reality when BGSU was shown on the bracket during the selection show.
“It’s a sense of pride. A sense of satisfaction that all the sacrifice, the hard work, the perseverance and discipline that our student athletes and coaches had went through paid off,” BGSU head coach Danijela Tomic said.
The last time the Falcons made the NCAA tournament was in 2012, where they beat Yale in the first round. That was the program’s first year under Tomic. They ended up losing to the No. 1 seed, Penn State, in the next round.
This team is in a similar situation. If they can beat Weber State, they will face the No. 1 seed in Wisconsin the next round.
This tournament will be different than those in the past, as it will be held in the same convention center in Omaha, Nebraska. Before, the first two rounds were hosted by the top seeds in the tournament.
The changes add to the difficulty of preparing for the NCAA tournament.
“There’s nothing in practice that we can do to completely recreate that atmosphere, especially because it’s so different. This hasn’t been done before,” Tomic said.
Tomic said that this team is not satisfied with just making it to the tournament. A goal for this team is to play their best volleyball in Omaha.
The Falcons are also focused on their mental preparation for the tournament. Tomic does not want the team to be overwhelmed by the big stage.
“It’s volleyball. It’s a volleyball court, same dimensions all season long. The net is the same height. There’s six players on one side and six players on the other. It’s what we’ve said all season long, let’s be in control of things that are in our control. Let’s worry first about what we do on our side of the net. Let’s play one point at a time,” Tomic said.
The preparation is not different from the regular season; a message that has been preached by Tomic all season long.
The team will leave it all on the court playing their style of volleyball: aggressive on offense and anchored by a strong defense.
No matter what happens in Omaha, the season will come to an end for the team.
All season long, Tomic has compared this season to writing a book. It is now time for the team to finish this story.
“Let’s go and write an amazing chapter, the conclusion of this amazing journey we’ve been on. It’s up to us what kind of chapter we want to write,” Tomic said.