Women’s club volleyball hosting final tournament before Nationals

17 teams to take over Rec Center Saturday

Photo+courtesy+of+Anne+Pufahl
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Women’s club volleyball hosting final tournament before Nationals

Photo courtesy of Anne Pufahl

Photo courtesy of Anne Pufahl

Photo courtesy of Anne Pufahl

Photo courtesy of Anne Pufahl

Robby Cowles, robert.cowles@mu.edu

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This weekend women’s club volleyball will host the last ranking tournament of the National Collegiate Volleyball Federation before Nationals in April. The Spring Tune-Up Ranking Tournament is arguably the most important ranking tournament of the season, which makes the choosing of Marquette to host an exciting accomplishment.

Senior club president Maria De Valk and junior co-vice president Michelle Konecki believe that Marquette has a strong reputation around the NCVF for hosting tournaments, which is why they’ve been rewarded the event.

“(The NCVF) has always regarded Marquette as good for holding a ranking tournament,” De Valk said. “The cool thing for us is that we’re the smallest school that hosts and competes in Division I.”

“Especially from other teams who host tournaments, they say, ‘This is very well run,’” Konecki said. “And at tournaments with schools who are new to hosting, you can just kind of tell. It’s just not as organized or not as well run, just less preparedness.”

Although it is an accomplishment to be awarded a ranking tournament, it is still a huge undertaking and burden on the team as they have to balance hosting a fair tournament while focusing on winning.

“It can go both ways,” Konecki said. “Having a tournament at home, you’re constantly in charge of keeping up standings and stuff throughout the day, so it is busy and hectic that way. You have more responsibilities, but we always play and practice on court five, so it’s a little home for us.”

De Valk added that the home-court advantage at this time of the season is nice. “As the president, it’s a lot of work. I have to contact the NCVF pretty much every week, and the application was just very tedious and difficult.”

De Valk said none of it would be possible without the guidance of former volleyball coach and assistant director of the Rec Center, Anne Pufahl.

“(Pufahl) goes above and beyond; she does everything for us pretty much in terms of hosting a tournament,” De Valk said. “I do all the small details, but she makes sure that everything’s on time and does all the seeding and everything … We always get a good turnout; we always get some of the best teams in the nation because of her.”

Pufahl coached the women’s volleyball club for 17 years prior to this year and has been at the helm for every tournament the club has hosted.

“To be awarded a NCVF Ranking Tournament each year means we run a great tournament that teams know will be run efficiently and correctly,” Pufahl said. “Marquette’s women’s club is the team that many schools model themselves after. I get lots of calls regarding, ‘How do you run your tournament? … Teams also know the competition in the Midwest is some of the best. Three out of the last four national champions have come from the Marquette ranking tournament.”

At least 17 teams will compete in the tournament on Saturday, March 5, beginning at 8 a.m. The championship match will be played at 7 p.m. in the Rec Center.

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