Viterbo University volleyball is heading back to a familiar place this week, but there is a different feeling about the task at hand.
The V-Hawks, ranked 2nd in the latest NAIA top 25 poll, and winners of 36 straight matches, are feeling the pressure to deliver a national championship.
After losing in the semifinals each of the last two seasons, Viterbo appears to be in position to go two wins further, but the V-Hawks are focused on playing their brand of volleyball.
"Just because we're in nationals now, nothing's changing. We just have another goal to meet, which is a national championship," senior outside hitter Sara Biermaier said. "We're still playing volleyball, it's still best out of three, three pool game, that's what we need to do."
Head coach Ryan DeLong wants to win a national title as much as his players, but acknowledged the successes his team has already enjoyed in reaching this stage. The V-Hawks won the North Star Athletic Association regular season and tournament titles for a second straight year in route to a 39-2 overall record.
"It's hard to get there as many times as we have. You have to be good, you have to have some luck, you have to stay healthy," DeLong said. "We're excited to be there. We obviously have bigger goals than just getting down there. At the end of the day, I'm proud of where we are so far and just looking forward to an exciting week coming up."
Viterbo will face College of the Ozarks on Tuesday to begin pool play, then Carroll College Wednesday and Doane University on Thursday. The top two teams in the pool of four will advance to elimination rounds later in the week.