HISTORIC DAY: Lady Cardinals set for first-ever national tourney game

HISTORIC DAY: Lady Cardinals set for first-ever national tourney game

Today will mark the 301st game in the nine-year history of the volleyball program at TVCC. It will also mark the first-ever at the NJCAA tournament.

The Lady Cardinals (25-6) are scheduled to make their historic debut on the big stage at 1 p.m. against Mineral Area (27-3) at the Hutchinson Sports Arena in Hutchinson, KS.

The Lady Cardinals are the 16-team tournament's No. 9 seeding, having been awarded one of the two at-large berths. Mineral Area is the No. 8 seed.

The Lady Cardinals are led by Tosha Spain, the only coach in the history of the program. She is 182-118 going into today's game. Her overall coaching record is 247-166, counting a successful stint at Athens High School.

It's been a season of overcoming obstacles for the Lady Cardinals. Due to renovations at Cardinal Gym, among them were playing one – just one – home game, not having their own locker room and virtually every practice being at AHS. There were others.

Through it all, the Lady Cardinals rose to the challenge – and beyond. They spent the entire season residing in the NJCAA Top 20, climbing as high as No. 6 on Oct. 2.

Here are the Lady Cardinals' week-by-week national rankings:

8-15 – No. 19
9-5 – No. 9
9-11 – No. 7
9-18 – No. 7
9-25 – No. 8
10-2 – No. 6
10-9 – No. 10
10-16 – No. 10
10-23 – No. 12
10-30 – No. 11

And now, here they are at the national tournament!

The TVCC-Mineral Area winner will face the No. 1 Miami Dade-No. 16 winner at 7:30 p.m. Thursday. The losers of the game will square off at noon Friday. Miami Dade is the two-time defending national champion.

All national tournament games will be available online at www.njcaatv.com. A purchase fee will be required.