After falling to Fontbonne University in the Midwest Collegiate Volleyball League Tournament title match Saturday, Carthage won’t have to wait long for a shot at postseason redemption.
The Red Men (23-2), who were ranked second nationally in the latest Division III coaches poll, will host UC Santa Cruz (18-16) in a NCAA Division III Regional semifinal 4 p.m. today at Tarble Arena. Ninth-ranked Milwaukee School of Engineering (21-7) will take on No. 15 Fontbonne (25-2) at 6:30 p.m.
The winners of today’s matches will play at 6 p.m. Saturday for a spot in the Division III Final Four, which will be held April 26 and 27 at Kean University in Union, N.J.
Carthage, which received an at-large tournament bid after losing 3-2 to Fontbonne in Kenosha, will enter action with a Division III-leading 13 assists and 13.67 kills per set. Matt Reinsel leads coach L.J. Marx’s squad with a top-ranked 12.08 assists per set.
Carthage’s Evan Walsh is tops in the productivity with 3.64 kills per set, while Eric Winter paces the efficiency with a .388 hitting percentage on 117 kills along with a seventh-ranked 1.02 blocks per set. Walsh also sparks the defense with 2.45 digs per set.
UC Santa Cruz, which qualified for the tourney as an independent, will try to avenge a 3-2 road setback Feb. 9 to the Red Men and extend its winning streak to seven. The Banana Slugs are dominant at the net with a fifth-ranked 2.29 blocks per set, led by the dynamic duo of Justin Fortner (0.9 per set) and Raymond Cascio (0.8). Cascio also commands the offense with 4.51 points per set and 3.76 kills per set.