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Northwest junior middle hitter Rachel Sturdevant celebrates after a kill against Missouri Western at MWSU Fieldhouse.

Northwest Missouri State volleyball earned a berth to the program’s second postseason and will be the No. 3 seed in the Central Region Tournament.

The NCAA unveiled the field for the 2021 NCAA Division II Volleyball Tournament on Monday, including the eight schools that will travel to top-seeded Central Missouri next week for the Central Regional. UCM (28-3) clinched the No. 1 seed after defeating Northwest in the MIAA Tournament Championship on Saturday in five sets.

St. Cloud State (27-4) earned the No. 2 seed while Northwest Missouri State (26-5) and Winona State (28-4) earned the three and four seeds.

“I’m so proud and happy for our players,” Northwest coach Amy Woerth said in a statement. “They’ve put in so much hard work and sacrifice to get here. I’m excited to be in the tournament and to see our team rise to the occasion.”

UCM will face No. 8 Arkansas Tech, and the winner will move on to meet Winona or No. 5 Washburn.

Northwest will face MIAA foe Nebraska-Kearney, the No. 6 seed, with St. Cloud State or No. 7 Concordia-St. Paul awaiting.

Central Region action will get underway Thursday, Dec. 2, with first round play. The second round will be contested Friday, Dec. 3. The Central Region title match is set for Saturday, Dec. 4.

Northwest was ranked No. 4 in the final AVCA Top 25 of the regular season. Northwest’s lone losses have come to NCAA Tournament teams, including three losses to UCM, one to UNK and one to Michigan Tech.

Northwest’s only other previous trip to the NCAA Tournament came at the conclusion of the 2010 season. Northwest earned the No. 7 seed in the South Central Region in Warrensburg, Missouri, losing in three sets to Washburn.

Brandon Zenner can be reached at brandon.zenner@newspressnow.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NPNowZenner.

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