The Cowley College volleyball team will enter the NJCAA Division II Volleyball Championships as the No. 1 seed when play begins this week.

Sixteen teams will compete for the national title beginning Thursday at the Alliant Energy Powerhouse Arena in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

The Lady Tigers (38-0) take on 16th-seeded Montgomery College (17-8) at 1 p.m. Thursday.

“From our first day of practice, we dedicated our season to the process and playing to our standards,” Cowley coach Steven Gream said. “The No. 1 seed is very nice and is a symbol of the hard work of that process. That said, there are 15 other teams in this National tournament and everyone is 0-0 at the start of the tournament.

“There are never any easy matches, no matter the seed you get. We need to continue to play to our standards and following the process.”

The Cowley-Montgomery winner will advance to face the winner of the Kirkwood-McHenry match at 7:30 p.m. on Nov. 18. Kirkwood is seeded eighth in the bracket and McHenry has the 9 seed.

Other matches in Cowley’s half of the bracket include No. 4 Johnson County taking on No. 13 Cape Fear and No. 5 Sauk Valley battling No. 12 North Dakota SCS. On the other side of the bracket, second-seeded Iowa Central faces No. 15 Mott; No. 7 Scottsdale plays No. 10 Heartland; No. 3 Parkland takes on No. 14 Richard Bland; and No. 6 Terra State meets No. 11 Lake-Sumter.

“For three days, there are going to be some great teams playing fantastic volleyball,” Gream said. “The team that plays solid fundamental volleyball for four matches is the team that has a chance to come away with the championship.”

Livestream of the matches can be found on the NJCAA Network.

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