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Eric Peterson, Published November 08 2011

Concordia to host regional volleyball tournament

MOORHEAD – As late as Monday morning, head coach Tim Mosser figured his Concordia volleyball team had played its last home match this season.

“I was talking with my assistant, Bob Jones, on the phone this morning, saying, ‘Well I wonder where we are going to go because we are not hosting,’” Mosser said. “I didn’t think we were going to host this year because we didn’t hear (Sunday) night and usually you hear if you are going to host by Sunday night.”

While Mosser was still on the phone with Jones, Cobbers athletic director Larry Papenfuss poked his head inside Mosser’s office and said, “We’re hosting.”

“It was really kind of great moment,” Mosser said.

No. 8-ranked Concordia learned Monday it was one of the eight host sites for the 64-team NCAA Division III tournament.

The Cobbers (25-3) play Wisconsin-Stevens Point (26-7) at 8 p.m. Friday in the first round.

“The NCAA I think really showed us some respect because it’s tough for us to host because of our geography,” Mosser said.

Papenfuss said the NCAA tries to adhere to a 500-mile radius guideline for its D-III tournaments.

Meaning each school playing in a regional are preferably within 500 miles of the host site.

“It’s a pretty strictly enforced guideline because there’s a real concerted effort to try to keep the price down,” Papenfuss said.

Since Papenfuss took over as Concordia AD in spring 2003, Papenfuss said he’s made around eight bids to the NCAA for postseason play for soccer, volleyball and football.

Prior to this event, two football games are the only time the school has won a hosting bid. The Cobbers haven’t hosted a multiple-team NCAA event since the 1988 when it hosted a Division III regional, quarterfinal and the Final Four in women’s basketball. Concordia won the national title that season.

Two factors helped the Cobbers earn the bid this time. First, they had a strong on-court resume winning the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference regular season and MIAC tournament.

Second, a number of teams within the 500-mile footprint made the field. The regional Concordia is hosting features three other MIAC teams (St. Thomas, Bethel and St. Benedict), two other Minnesota schools (St. Scholastica and Northwestern) and two Wisconsin schools (Wisconsin-Eau Claire and Wisconsin-Stevens Point).

“That would have been a tough nut to swallow had we not gotten the bid,” said Papenfuss. “I’m just so happy for this group of young women. We deserve to be here and we deserve to host.”

The Cobbers are 10-0 at home this season and have won their last 19 home matches dating back to last season. Concordia won 30 of 32 sets in its 10 home wins this season.

“It’s a great tribute to our seniors,” Mosser said. “They have worked so hard for four years.”

Readers can reach Forum reporter

Eric Peterson at (701) 241-5513.

Peterson’s blog can be found

at peterson.areavoices.com