Athletics recognizes volleyball
Despite being overlooked by the NCAA tournament selection committee and being denied by the Colonial Athletic Association to play for a conference title, AU Women's Volleyball team will be recognized Wednesday night during halftime of the Men's Basketball game against Richmond University at 7 p.m.
AU will hang a banner commemorating the team's 26-4 record and regular season championship in Bender Arena, athletic director Dan Radakovich said.
The Eagles finished their CAA regular season in first place with an 11-1 record, but the CAA would not allow the team to compete in the postseason championship tournament because AU had decided earlier in the year to abandon the CAA for the Patriot League.
AU attempted to file suit in D.C. Superior Court to allow athletic teams to play in the postseason, but the lawsuit was thrown out. Not being able to play in the CAA tournament prevented AU from earning an automatic bid the NCAA National Championship tournament, and the bid eventually went to James Madison University - a team The Eagles beat twice during the regular season.
AU's remaining option was to earn an automatic bid from the NCAA selection committee. There has never been an instance in the NCAA Women's Volleyball tournament's 19-year history where a CAA team has earned an automatic bid.
Volleyball head coach Barry Goldberg said the banner is indicative of the support that the university community and the athletic department has shown the volleyball program through this ordeal.
"Dan [Radakovich] has stuck up for me. Our new athletic director went to bat for us. The community here went to bat for us," Goldberg said. Since the team learned on Nov. 28, 2000 that they would not be participating in the NCAA tournament, Goldberg said he has had sometime to inquire with the selection committee about why AU was not selected.
"The answers they gave were the same answers they give to every team they don't chose," he said, adding that some members of the selection committee said privately that AU was heavily considered for an automatic bid.
Goldberg also said he is not going to dwell on the disappointment any further, and while he is upset that his six graduating seniors did not have the opportunity to go to the tournament this year, he said he is focusing his efforts to bring the team to a place where they can not be kept from making the tournament next year.