FLORENCE – The University of North Alabama football and volleyball teams each received invitations on Sunday to extend their seasons. Both squads will have the opportunity to play for a national championship after being selected to play in the NCAA Division II Tournament.
For the seventh straight year and the 17th time overall, the UNA football team has advanced to the post-season with a chance to compete for the NCAA Division II National Championship.
With an 8-2 overall record and coming off back-to-back wins over West Georgia and Valdosta State, UNA was selected for the 24-team Division II playoff field announced Sunday. The Lions, seeded fifth in Super Region 2, will play on the road at fourth seeded West Alabama (8-3) on November 19. Kickoff time is noon Central.
UNA lost 31-26 at to West Alabama back on October 27 in Livingston.
“I’m thrilled for our players,” said UNA Head Coach Terry Bowden. “It will not be difficult to get our players up and motivated to play a team that we lost to in the regular season.”
The winner of the UNA-West Alabama game will advance to face top seeded Delta State on November 26 in Cleveland, Miss. In the other half of the Super Region 2 bracket, third seeded North Greenville hosts sixth seeded Albany State, with that winner traveling to face seconded seeded Mars Hill on November 26.
UNA has completely dominated the all-time series with West Alabama, holding a 47-16-1 advantage. The two schools have played every season since UNA reinstated its football program in 1949 and the 64 all-time meetings and 47 UNA wins are the most for the Lions with any opponent. The Tigers have tried to turn the tide with wins over the Lions in 2009 and this season.
Officials with the NCAA also announced Sunday evening that the University of North Alabama volleyball team qualified for the South Region Tournament. The Lions earned the sixth seed in the region and will play third-seeded Rollins at noon Thursday on the campus of the University of Tampa.
The post-season bid gives the Lions a Gulf South Conference-leading 14th appearance in the NCAA Tournament. UNA enters the event with a 24-9 record after coming up short in the GSC championship match. The Lions will face Rollins (23-10) for the third time this season. The Tars won a pair of neutral-site matches against UNA this year, picking up a 3-0 victory on Sept. 16 at the AASU Pirate Volleyball Classic and a 3-1 win over the Lions on Oct. 14 at the UWG Regional Crossover.
“We are very excited to be selected for the NCAA tournament,” said UNA head coach Stephanie Radecki. “Its is a huge honor to represent UNA and the south region. It is going to be a very competitive tournament that is filled with great teams all wanting to advance.”
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