CHARLESTON, S.C. – In what will be a rematch from its last NCAA appearance, the College of Charleston (18-12) will travel to Gainesville, Florida to take on the No. 15 Florida Gators (23-5) in the first round of the 2009 NCAA Tournament on December 3. The time of the match is yet to be determined.
“It’s always nice to see College of Charleston pop up on the screen” said head coach Jason Kepner. “Going back to Florida is familiar territory for us and we look forward to playing the Gators on Thursday. I’m hoping that the tough schedule we played earlier in the year has prepared us for another hostile environment and another good team. We’ll go back to work on Monday and Tuesday and prepare ourselves for the first round”.
The Cougars earned an automatic bid to the tournament following a 3-0 victory over Furman in last week’s Southern Conference Championship match and will be making their sixth NCAA appearance in program history. Each of those appearances have come in the last eight years, including a first round meeting with Florida in 2007. In that match, the tenth-ranked Gators notched a 3-0 victory in the programs’ only previous meeting.
Florida was awarded an at-large bid and is currently ranked No. 15 in the latest AVCA National Poll and was the last of the Top-16 teams to be seeded. CofC, meanwhile, has won 11 of their last 13 matches entering the tournament and will be the only team not from the State of Florida in Gainesville. The other first round matchup features 31-3 Florida International against 18-12 Miami.
“It feels like home” said junior setter Cole Dawley (Charleston, S.C.) when asked about her reaction to playing Florida and heading to Gainesville. “It’s the only other time I’ve been to the NCAA’s and we’ve been there [to Gainesville] three straight times now. We picked a great time to peak. The end of the season is right where we need to do it and we started doing that down the stretch. If we play like we did last weekend, we should be able to be competitive with a good Florida team”.
The second round match between the winners will be on December 4 at a time to be determined. The team that advances to Regionals will face a bracket that has two-time defending national champion Penn State (30-0), Binghamton (15-15), Penn (22-5) and first time participant Army (26-5) from December 11-12.
CofC has made five previous NCAA appearances, with the last coming in 2007, and has an all-time record of 1-5 in the tournament. This is the third straight time that they have been sent to Gainesville, Florida and have previously made trips to Chapel Hill, North Carolina, Los Angeles, California and South Bend, Indiana. In 2005, the Cougars earned their first NCAA victory with a 3-1 win over North Carolina.
The start time of the match will be posted on www.CofCSports.com when it becomes available.
2009 NCAA Tournament First and Second Rounds
December 3-4 at Gainesville, Florida
Miami (18-12) vs. FIU (31-3)
Col. of Charleston (18-12) vs. No. 15 Florida (23-5)