With the 3-1 (25-22, 23-25, 25-17, 25-20) victory over Nebraska-Kearney, Cal State San Bernardino took home its first national championship in DII women's volleyball. The final match was a showdown between undefeated teams.
Alexis Cardoza and Stephanie Doak led the team with 20 kills each, while Leilia To'omalatai totaled 27 digs. Of the four sets, the Coyotes hit less than .300 once — that being the second set which they lost, 25-23.
The 2019 tournament included many twists and turns, but it ultimately led to the matchup of two unbeaten teams in the final match.
2019 DII women's volleyball championship: How the final match was won
- Set 1: Cal State San Bernardino 25, Nebraska-Kearney 22: This one went back-and-forth until the Coyotes earned a five-point lead (18-13). Stephanie Doak and Alexis Cardoza accounted for a combined 14 kills, while Leilia To'omalatai had six digs.
- Set 2: Nebraska-Kearney 25, Cal State San Bernardino 23: What began as a redemption run for UNK turned into a set win for the Lopers. UNK started the set with a 6-2 lead and faced several pushes by the Coyotes, but Julianne Jackson's eight kills and Maddie Squiers' 22 assists led the Lopers to even the match.
- Set 3: Cal State San Bernardino 25, Nebraska-Kearney 17: This critical third set favored the Coyotes the entire way. With an impressive hitting performance (.324), Cardoza and Doak boosted their kill totals to 15, as To'omalatai increased her dig total to 19. The Coyotes are now one set away from their first national title.
- Set 4: Cal State San Berdardino 25, Nebraska-Kearney 20: The Coyotes etched their name in history, winning their first national title in program history. The Coyotes hit .333 in the final set as Cardoza and Doak upped their kill totals to 20.
Here's how we previewed the match:
2019 DII women's volleyball finals: What to know about each team
Cal State San Bernardino vs. Nebraska-Kearney
This is it. Two teams left and nary a loss between them. Nebraska-Kearney enters as the No. 2 seed with a 38-0 record while Cal State San Bernardino is the top seed, sitting at 32-0. We've tracked both schools all season, and it is only fitting their ultimate conclusion comes with the trophy at stake.
UNDEFEATED TRACKER: Follow the Lopers, Coyotes run to the finals
When looking at the strengths of both teams, it's pretty easy to see what each team does well: everything. Here's a quick look at the numbers you should know:
BOLD = Best in DII women's volleyball
What can you take away from these numbers? Well, a few things.
- The Coyotes are tops in DII women's volleyball in both hitting percentage and blocks. Cal State San Bernardino has a lot of length and a big advantage over everybody they've played. It's not to say the Lopers don't have height, but the Coyotes have it everywhere — of the ten players on the court for the semifinals, only libero Leilia To'omalatai was below 5-11.
- UNK needs to do something no other team has done this season: immobilize Alexis Cardoza. The unanimous AVCA DII national player of the year was third in DII women's volleyball with a 4.49 kills per set average behind a .345 hitting percentage. She paces this Coyotes' attack.
- Cal State San Bernardino needs to watch out for this Lopers swagger. Nebraska-Kearney has done exceptionally well against nationally-ranked teams, a perfect 12-0 per our count. This is a team that doesn't fear anyone and brings the same level of energy every night: in 37 matches, they've gone to five sets just four times.
These are two teams that have been to the title match before, but haven't taken home the hardware. This is about a thrilling a matchup as we could have hoped for to conclude the 2019 season and should be a good one from Denver.
2019 DII women's volleyball semifinal results
What a gritty performance from Nebraska-Kearney. It was a back-and-forth affair, but the higher seed will advance to the finals after winning in four sets. Julianne Jackson led the way once again with 20 kills.
Regis put up a good fight, but it was ultimately no match for No. 1 seed Cal State San Bernardino. Alexis Cardoza was the star once again, notching 22 kills and 13 digs. Jalyn Hayes chipped in with 10 kills.
2019 DII women's volleyball quarterfinal results
Rockhurst made a statement in the first game of the day, sweeping Carson-Newman in three sets. Karli Reichert was outstanding, racking up nine kills, while Alyssa Woodman had eight.
Julianne Jackson was absolutely dominant for Nebraska-Kearney, notching a team-high 13 kills and 13 digs. Gannon took the first set, but Nebraska-Kearney reeled off three straight, outscoring its opponent by 18 over the last two.
UNDEFEATED TRACKER: Track the final two undefeated teams run for a perfect season
Game 3: No. 4 Regis 3, No. 5 Saint Leo 0
Regis came out of the gates firing. It never allowed Saint Leo to score more than 18 points in a set, winning each one handily. Silvia Basso was phenomenal, tallying a whopping 49 assists on the night. Nikki Kennedy finished with 13 kills.
Cal State San Bernardino lived up to its billing as the 1-seed, completing the third sweep of the quarterfinals in dominant fashion. Molloy put up a decent fight in the third set, but it wasn't enough in the end. Alexis Cardoza led the way with 17 kills on 27 attempts for the victors.
2019 DII women's volleyball championship: Regional final Saturday
- The Nebraska-Kearney vs. Concordia-St. Paul match could have earned top billing of the day, and the two certainly delivered. After exchanging 25-19 sets, the two battled back and forth. The fifth and decisive set was a war in itself. Once again, the Lopers fell behind early, but came back to win 15-13, remain undefeated and move on to the semis.
- No. 5 Saint Leo was back at it, taking down No. 3 Barry 3-2 to advance to the quarterfinals. It is the first South Region Championship for the Lions, and they took down the No. 1, 3 and 4 seeds to accomplish it.
- Speaking of successful five-seeds, Rockhurst is back in familiar territory, reaching the quarterfinals for the second time in three years. How did the Hawks do it? By sweeping No. 1 Lewis in the second round and then doing the same to No. 2 Hillsdale in the regional final.
- No. 2 Gannon knocked out No. 1 Wheeling in straight sets. It was a battle of the last two regional champions, and this time around it went to Gannon who returns to the quarterfinals for the second time in three years.
- Azusa Pacific took Cal State San Bernardino to the limit, but the Cougars upset run came to an end in the West Region final. The Coyotes jumped out to a 2-0 lead, but Azusa Pacific came right back, highlighted by a thrilling 33-31 third set. The Coyotes were able to hold off the Cougars 15-10 in the final set.
Here is the full scoreboard from the third round:
Saturday, Dec. 7
- No. 5 Saint Leo 3, No. 3 Barry 2
- No. 2 Gannon 3, No. 1 Wheeling 0
- No. 3 Carson-Newman 3, No. 4 Augusta 0
- No. 1 Molloy 3, No. 3 Bridgeport 1
- No. 1 Regis 3, No. 2 Colorado School of Mines 0
- No. 1 Nebraska-Kearney 3, No. 3 Concordia-St. Paul 2
- No. 5 Rockhurst 3, No. 2 Hillsdale 0
- No. 1 Cal State San Bernardino 3, No. 6 Azusa Pacific 2
DII women's volleyball championship: What to read
- If you are curious how the 64 teams got into the bracket and what remains ahead, be sure to check out our essential guide to the DII women's volleyball tournament. It is a comprehensive look from the selection process to the national championship match: A complete guide to the DII women's volleyball championship
- Twenty-three teams earned an automatic bid to the postseason by winning either their regular-season championship or conference tournament. We tracked those automatic qualifiers here: Your 2019 NCAA DII tournament automatic bids
2019 DII women's volleyball championship: What you missed, so far
- Barry made sure that 2019 will crown a new national champion. The Bucs eliminated defending champs Tampa in an intense 3-2 battle. Barry jumped out to a two-set advantage before Tampa came storming back. The fifth set was no easy task, as Tampa and Barry went back and forth until the Bucs prevailed 21-19 for the decisive set.
- One day after the No. 1 seeds went 8-0, we saw a few struggle to advance, if at all. Augusta and Wingate played three lopsided sets back and forth before a tightly-contested 15-13 fifth set by Augusta led to the first big upset of a No. 1 in the tournament. Shortly after, Saint Leo had it much easier, sweeping No. 1 Lynn from the 2019 championship. Later, Rockhurst and Lewis battled. Neither team were strangers to deep runs in the tournament, but Friday saw No. 5 Rockhurst end No. 1 Lewis' run in straight sets.
- Nebraska-Kearney and Cal State San Bernardino are still perfect on the season. The Lopers were able to stay that way in straight-sets over Northern State. The Coyotes pulled through in four sets against Alaska Anchorage.
- Below is the complete schedule for the second round:
Second round, Friday, Dec. 6 (all times Eastern):
- No. 3 Barry 3, No. 2 Tampa 2
- No. 3 Carson-Newman 3, No. 7 Flager 1
- No. 2 Gannon 2, No. 6 Shepherd 0
- No. 3 Bridgeport 3, No. 7 Holy Family 0
- No. 3 Concordia-St. Paul 3, No. 2 Minnesota Duluth 0
- No. 2 Hillsdale 3, No. 6 Michigan Tech 1
- No. 2 Colorado School of Mines 3, No. 3 Angelo State 1
- No. 1 Wheeling 3, No. 5 Millersville 0
- No. 5 Saint Leo 3, No. 1 Lynn 0
- No. 4 Augusta 3, No. 1 Wingate 2
- No. 1 Molloy 3, No. 4 Saint Anselm 2
- No. 6 Azusa Pacific 3, No. 2 Western Washington 2
- No. 1 Nebraska-Kearney 3, No. 4 Northern State 0
- No. 5 Rockhurst 3, No. 1 Lewis 0
- No. 1 Regis 3, No. 4 Arkansas-Fort Smith 0
- No. 1 Cal State San Bernardino 3, No. 4 Alaska Anchorage 1
The first round of the NCAA DII tournament got underway on Thursday, Dec. 5. Here's what you may have missed:
- Tournament heavyweights Concordia St.-Paul and Tampa both moved on to the regional semifinals. It was smooth sailing for the defending champion Spartans, who swept their way to the second round, but Concordia-St. Paul had a real fight, going the full five sets with Washburn.
- Two No. 6 seeds advanced in upset fashion in the early games. Shepherd took down East Stroudsburg 3-2, while Michigan Tech made a statement sweeping UMSL in straight sets. Two No. 7 seeds partook in the largest upsets of the day thus far as No. 7 Flagler swept its way to victory over No. 2 Queens (NC) and No. 7 Holy Family ousted No. 2 Bentley three sets to one. Azusa Pacific joined the upset part at night, as the No. 6 seed took out Cal State L.A.
- All eight No. 1 seeds advanced, and quite easily at that. At least for the most part. Seven of the eight seeds combined to go 21-1 with only Molloy dropping a set. Regis jumped out to an early 2-0 lead before MSU Denver came storming back to force a decisive fifth set. But the Rangers moved on to Friday's second round. No. 1 seeds Nebraska-Kearney and Cal State San Bernardino remained perfect on the season.
Here is the complete scoreboard from Round 1:
Thursday, Dec. 5 (all times Eastern)
- Shepherd 3, East Stroudsburg 2
- Bridgeport 3, Georgian Court 1
- Barry 3, West Florida 1
- Carson-Newman 3, Anderson (SC) 0
- Concordia-St. Paul 3, Washburn 2
- Michigan Tech 3, Missouri-St. Louis 0
- Angelo State 3, West Texas A&M 1
- Gannon 3, Seton Hill 0
- Holy Family 3, Bentley 1
- Tampa 3, Alabama Huntsville 0
- Flagler 3, Queens (NC) 0
- Azusa Pacific 3, Cal State L.A. 0
- Hillsdale 3, Indianapolis 2
- Minnesota Duluth 3, Central Missouri 1
- Colorado School of Mines 3, Tarleton State 0
- Millersville 3, Shippensburg 2
- Saint Anselm 3, New Haven 1
- Saint Leo 3, Embry-Riddle 0
- Augusta 3, USC Aiken 0
- Western Washington 3, Hawaii Hilo 0
- Northern State 3, St. Cloud State 0
- Rockhurst 3, Ferris State 2
- Arkansas-Fort Smith 3, Texas A&M-Commerce 2
- Wheeling 3, Fayetteville State 0
- Molloy 3, Adelphi 1
- Lynn 3, Spring Hill 0
- Wingate 3, Emmanuel 0
- Alaska Anchorage 3, UC San Diego 2
- Nebraska-Kearney 3, Oklahoma Baptist 0
- Lewis 3, Saginaw Valley State 0
- Regis 3, MSU Denver 2
- Cal State San Bernardino 3, Central Washington 0
DII women's volleyball championship: History
The Tampa Spartans are back in the field, looking to defend their 2018 national championship. The Spartans are the No. 2 seed in the South and will face Alabama Huntsville in the first round. The winningest team in DII women's volleyball championship history — Concordia-St. Paul — is also back in the field, facing off against Washburn — a fellow 2018 finals team — in the first round.
HISTORY: DII programs with most titles
Below is the complete history of the championship match.
|2018||Tampa (33-4)||Chris Catanach||3-2||Western Washington||Pittsburgh, Pa.|
|2017||Concordia-St. Paul (34-3)||Brady Starkey||3-0||Florida Southern||Pensacola, Fla.|
|2016||Concordia-St. Paul (32-4)||Brady Starkey||3-0||Alaska Anchorage||Sioux Falls, S.D.|
|2015||Wheeling Jesuit (39-4)||Christy Benner||3-0||Palm Beach Atlantic||Tampa, Fla.|
|2014||Tampa (33-1)||Chris Catanach||3-0||S'west Minnesota State||Louisville, Ky.|
|2013||Concordia-St. Paul (35-3)||Brady Starkey||3-0||BYU-Hawaii||Cedar Rapids, Iowa|
|2012||Concordia-St. Paul (34-4)||Brady Starkey||3-2||Tampa||Pensacola, Fla.|
|2011||Concordia-St. Paul (34-2)||Brady Starkey||3-0||Cal State San Bernardino||Cal State San Bernardino|
|2010||Concordia-St. Paul (32-4)||Brady Starkey||3-1||Tampa||Louisville, Ky.|
|2009||Concordia-St. Paul (37-0)||Brady Starkey||3-0||West Texas A&M||Concordia-St. Paul|
|2008||Concordia-St. Paul (37-1)||Brady Starkey||3-2||Cal State San Bernardino||Concordia-St. Paul|
|2007||Concordia-St. Paul (36-4)||Brady Starkey||3-1||Western Washington||Washburn|
|2006||Tampa (35-1)||Chris Catanach||3-1||North Alabama||West Florida|
|2005||Grand Valley State (32-1)||Deanne Scanlon||3-1||Nebraska-Kearney||Nebraska-Kearney|
|2004||Barry (34-1)||Dave Nichols||3-1||Truman||Barry|
|2003||North Alabama (33-7)||Matt Peck||3-0||Concordia-St. Paul||Cal State San Bernardino|
|2002||BYU-Hawaii (27-2)||Wilfred Navalta||3-0||Truman||West Texas A&M|
|2001||Barry (32-2)||Dave Nichols||3-0||South Dakota State||Grand Valley State|
|2000||Hawaii Pacific (28-0)||Tita Ahuna||3-0||Augustana (S.D.)||Augustana (S.D.)|
|1999||BYU-Hawaii (30-2)||Wilfred Navalta||3-0||Tampa||Battle Creek, Mich.|
|1998||Hawaii Pacific (31-5)||Tita Ahuna||3-1||North Dakota State||Kissimmee, Fla.|
|1997||West Texas A&M (37-1)||Debbie Hendricks||3-2||Barry||Cal State Bakersfield|
|1996||Nebraska-Omaha (35-2)||Rose Shires||3-2||Tampa||Central Missouri|
|1995||Barry (34-2)||Lenid Yelin||3-1||Northern Michigan||Barry|
|1994||Northern Michigan (32-4)||Mark Rosen||3-1||Cal State Bakersfield||Cal State Bakersfield|
|1993||Northern Michigan (38-1)||Jim Moore||3-1||Cal State Bakersfield||Northern Michigan|
|1992||Portland State (36-1)||Jeff Mozzochi||3-2||Northern Michigan||Portland State|
|1991||West Texas A&M (36-2)||Jim Giacomazzi||3-0||Portland State||West Texas A&M|
|1990||West Texas A&M (38-1)||Kim Hudson||3-0||North Dakota State||Cal State Bakersfield|
|1989||Cal State Bakersfield (21-15)||David Rubio||3-0||Sacramento State||Cal State Bakersfield|
|1988||Portland State (36-5)||Jeff Mozzochi||3-0||Cal State Northridge||North Dakota State|
|1987||Cal State Northridge (35-6)||Walt Ker||3-2||Central Missouri||Nebraska-Omaha|
|1986||UC Riverside (29-7)||Sue Gozansky||3-0||Cal State Northridge||Sacramento State|
|1985||Portland State (36-5)||Jeff Mozzochi||3-1||Cal State Northridge||Portland State|
|1984||Portland State (33-4)||Jeff Mozzochi||3-0||Cal State Northridge||Portland State|
|1983||Cal State Northridge (30- 6)||Walt Ker||3-2||Portland State||Florida Southern|
|1982||UC Riverside (31-5)||Sue Gozansky||3-0||Cal State Northridge||Cal State Northridge|
|1981||Sacramento State (28-6)||Debby Colberg||3-0||Lewis||UC Riverside|