Sunday was a big day for St. Thomas volleyball and football.
The volleyball team swept St. Olaf 25-20, 27-25 and 25-14 to win an NCAA Division III regional tournament in Schoenecker Arena and advance to the national tournament Friday-Sunday at Washington University in St. Louis. The Tommies will open against Juniata College (33-5) of Huntingdon, Penn.
Three hours earlier, the football team learned its first-round opponent in the NCAA Division III playoffs: Benedictine University of Lisle, Ill. The Tommies and Eagles will square off at noon Saturday on Palmer Field in O’Shaughnessy Stadium.
The volleyball victory over No. 11 St. Olaf capped a dominant weekend for No. 12 St. Thomas, which won nine straight matches Friday, Saturday and Sunday to win its first regional title. The Tommies avenged earlier setbacks to the Oles: 3-1 Sept. 15 at home and 3-0 Nov. 7 for the MIAC playoff championship in Northfield.
On Sunday, St. Thomas (31-6) rallied from deficits of 11-15 in the first set and 13-19 in the second to go up 2-0 and then blew open the third set by outscoring the Oles 12-1 to win the regional title.
To read more about the volleyball win, see tommiesports.com. To learn more about the Division III volleyball national tournament, go to ncaa.com.
Earlier Sunday, the football Tommies gathered at Davanni’s to watch ESPNews and the NCAA announcement of the 32-team playoff field.
St. Thomas is seeded No. 1 in the West Region and No. 2 nationally, behind only Wesley of Delaware and ahead of longtime Division III power Mount Union of Ohio (No. 3), North Central of Illinois (No. 4) and defending national champion UW-Whitewater.
Benedictine has an 8-2 record and is riding a seven-game winning streak, having captured its first Northern Athletic Conference title since 1934 and gaining its first NCAA bid.
To read more about the football playoffs, see tommiesports.com. To learn more about the Division III football playoffs, go to d3football.com.