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Chad Schreiber doesn't need to be reminded about the last time his
The Muskies' head coach remembers the night of Oct. 31, 2006, when the third-seeded Muskies were knocked off by the No. 6 Crusaders 3-1 at Moose & Dona Woltzen Gymnasium.
"Our program has only lost two home matches since the
Schreiber and his team are hoping history doesn't repeat itself, as the top-seeded Muskies take on No. 8 Maranatha Baptist (15-12) on Monday night at 7 p.m. in the quarterfinals of the NAC Tournament at
The Muskies (22-10) earned the tournament's No. 1 seed after completing their second consecutive perfect season in the conference with a 12-0 mark. The regular season champions also hope to capture their second consecutive NAC Tournament title, which would give the team an automatic berth into the NCAA Division III Championship Tournament.
Last season, the Muskies breezed through league tournament play, losing only one set en route to the title. However, because the league was only in its second season of existence, the tournament champion would not automatically qualify for the NCAAs.
The team learned on the following Monday that it would not receive an at-large bid to the tournament despite a perfect run in the NAC and a 23-14 overall record, which included a handful of wins over marquee non-conference opponents.
"We played with a purpose last year, because we knew only a good showing would give us a chance for an independent bid into the NCAA Tournament," Schreiber said. "We were highly disappointed on that Monday to learn we didn't get in.
"I think our team is playing with that same purpose this season."
Schreiber hopes a difficult regular season schedule will prepare the team well for post-season play. The Muskies faced four teams currently ranked among the top 15 teams in the country by the American Volleyball Coaches Association, including No. 3 La Verne, No. 7 UW-Oshkosh, No. 10 Carthage and No. 11 UW-Whitewater.
"My philosophy every year is to schedule tough," Schreiber said. "I never feel comfortable even though our team finished atop the conference both last year and this year."
As the defending league champions and the No. 1 seed, the Muskies will be targeted by all other teams in the NAC.
"The girls do a really good job of focusing on what's happening on the court and taking it one opponent at a time," Schreiber said. "To be honest, I think I worry a lot more about that kind of stuff than they do."
In the regular season's second contest between
The Muskies also defeated the Crusaders 3-0 (25-5, 25-21, 25-12) on Sept. 5 as part of the non-conference Sugarloaf Classic in Winona, Minn.
The winner of Monday's match would play either No. 4 Benedictine or Dominican, the fifth seed, on Thursday at 7 p.m. The higher seed will host the match.To see the complete 2008 NAC Tournament schedule, click here.