By Tim Glon
ADA — The No. 23-ranked Ohio Northern volleyball team will travel to Grand Rapids, Mich., and face Millikin (Ill.) at 12:30 pm in the First Round of the 64-team NCAA Division III Tournament on Thursday.
The Polar Bears (27-3 overall) earned an automatic bid by winning the Ohio Athletic Conference Tournament title with a thrilling 5-set victory over Heidelberg on Saturday.
Millikin (26-11 overall) qualified for the NCAA Tournament by winning the Collegiate Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin Tournamrnt title with a 3-0 victory over Elmhurst (Ill.)
With a victory over the Big Blue, the Polar Bears would face either No. 7-ranked Wittenberg or Bethany (W.Va.), who will follow ONU at 3 pm, in the Second Round on Friday at 5 pm.
No. 21 Carnegie Mellon (Pa.) will face DePauw (Ind.) at 5:30 pm and top-ranked Calvin (Mich.) will face Pittsburgh-Bradford at 8 pm in the other two matches on Thursday.
The Regional Finals are slated for Saturday at 7:30 pm.
The Polar Bear spikers are riding a 19-match winning streak into the NCAA Tournament and are 27-3 on the season under 26th-year head coach Kate Witte.
A total of 43 teams received automatic bids and 21 teams qualified with at-large bids in the 2016 tournament field.
ONU will be making its 29th appearance at the NCAA III Tournament.