UC Santa Cruz Chosen as At-Large Representative for Molten Championship

4/1/2008

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LEXINGTON, Ky. - The American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) and USA Volleyball, in conjunction with Molten U.S.A., Inc., are pleased to announce the University of California, Santa Cruz as the 2008 Molten Division III Men's Invitational Volleyball Championship Midwest/West Region at-large representative. This year's tournament will be April 11-12 at Springfield College in Springfield, Mass.

The UC Santa Cruz selection was made via the Molten Division III Men's Invitational Volleyball Championship committee on March 31 based on the established criteria for the at-large berth. The Banana Slugs finished a runner-up to Juniata College in the 2006 event and placed third in 2004 in their only other appearances in the event.

UC Santa Cruz holds a 13-10 overall record this season, and is 8-1 in NCAA Division III play. The Banana Slugs, ranked first in last week's CBS College Sports Network/AVCA Division III Men's Coaches Top 15 Poll, won matches in January during the Wisconsin Classic over each of the three other teams (Carthage College, Milwaukee School of Engineering, Fontbonne University) eligible for the Midwest/West Region at-large berth. UCSC's only NCAA Division III loss of the season came at the hands of Nazareth College, who is ranked sixth in the March 25 poll (or update with the April 1 poll). In addition, the Banana Slugs are 1-2 against NCAA Division II competition with a victory over Lees-McRae.

According to Molten Division III Men's Invitational Volleyball Championship selection criteria, the field for the event is rounded out by the host institution, the champion from the North East Collegiate Volleyball Association (NECVA) tournament and Eastern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association (EIVA) Division III regular season. Under the established criteria, if the Molten host institution is the champion of its own NCAA Division III conference, the runner-up then becomes the representative from that conference.

In 2007, Juniata became the first team to win four consecutive Molten Division III Men's Invitational Volleyball Championships. Seeding and pairings for this year's event will be made on April 7 by the Molten Division III Men's Invitational Volleyball Championship committee.

The 2008 Molten Division III Men's Invitational Volleyball Championship festivities begin on April 10 with a banquet for the competing teams and presentation of the 2008 AVCA Division III Men's All-America Teams. Aldis Berzins, member of the 1984 U.S. Olympic Volleyball gold-medal team, is scheduled to be the keynote speaker for the event.

Now in its 12th year, the Molten Division III Men's Invitational Volleyball Championship was formed due to a need for a culminating event for NCAA Division III men's volleyball. While the NCAA sponsors a national championship for men's volleyball, programs from all three divisions compete for just four berths in the yearly tournament. In the 34-year history of the men's tournament, no Division III program has earned a berth or been selected to participate in the NCAA Men's Volleyball Championship.

The Molten Division III Men's Invitational Volleyball Championship selection committee consists of Doug Beal (USA Volleyball chief executive officer); Kathy DeBoer (AVCA executive director); Ivan Marquez (EIVA commissioner); Bob Newcomb (UC Irvine/at-large representative); Stuart Robinson (SUNY New Paltz athletic director/NECVA representative), Dan Harris (Milwaukee School of Engineering athletic director/midwest-west representative), John Speraw (UC Irvine men's head coach/AVCA Board of Directors representative) and Jerry Matacotta (NECVA representative).

Molten U.S.A., Inc. is the "Official Volleyball of the Division III Men's Invitational Volleyball Championship." Sports Imports is the "Official Net System Supplier of the Division III Men's Invitational Volleyball Championship." Mizuno USA is the "Official Apparel & Shoe Sponsor of the Division III Men's Invitational Volleyball Championship."

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