The Viterbo University volleyball team has been perfect most of the regular season, now it's hoping it can be for the next five weeks to win a national championship.
After starting the season 26-0, the V-Hawks earned the No. 1 ranking in the NAIA Top 25 Poll for the first time in program history on October 13. That very same night, Viterbo lost its first match of the season, and eventually lost three matches in a row before dropping to seventh in the poll.
Viterbo (33-4) hit the re-set button, and finished the season with wins in seven of its final eight matches and a North Star Athletic Association title in its first season as a participant.
The V-Hawks are the top seed in the south division of the conference tournament this week, and will host Waldorf University on Saturday night at Beggs Gymnasium. Three wins would give Viterbo the conference tournament title and an automatic bid into the NAIA Volleyball National Tournament later this month.
Viterbo's players and coach Ryan DeLong admit there were lessons to be learned from that week spent atop the rankings, but the team is close to playing its best volleyball once again.
"When we felt that taste a little bit, that kind of got us going in the right direction," DeLong said. "We're a pretty good team, but we're not always as good as we think and we've got to get back in the gym and get better."
"I think we just have to realize we need to have that resiliency as a team to take each person and opponent as a challenge and overcome those challenges," senior Jennifer Krentz said.
Saturday's game will start at 7 p.m. at Viterbo. A win would advance the V-Hawks to the NSAA Final Four on November 13.