MILWAUKEE, Wis. (naccsports.org) --- Benedictine University topped Milwaukee School of Engineering, 3-1, Saturday in a winner-take-all match for the 2019 Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference (NACC) regular-season title at the Dan and Ada Rice Center in Lisle, Illinois.
With Benedictine (22-3, 14-2 NACC) ineligible for next week's NACC Tournament due to sanctions related to their aborted move to Division II last fall, MSOE (19-7, 13-3 NACC) earned the top seed and a first-round bye in the league tournament by virtue of a tiebreaker over No. 2-seeded Dominican University (18-10, 13-3 NACC). As the top seed, the Raiders will host the semifinals and finals next Friday and Saturday at Edgar Hotchkin Arena in Milwaukee. The Stars also received a first-round bye.
Aurora University (12-13, 9-7 NACC), Marian University (10-14, 8-8 NACC), Lakeland University (13-12, 7-9 NACC) and Concordia University Wisconsin (9-14, 5-11 NACC) round out the six-team field and will participate in first-round NACC Tournament games Tuesday, April 9.
The winner of the Aurora/CUW first-round match will face Dominican at 5 p.m. Friday in the first semifinal of the night, while MSOE takes on the Marian/Lakeland winner in the late game at 7:30 p.m.
The championship game is slated for 5 p.m. Saturday, April 13. The winner earns the NACC's automatic berth into the NCAA Division III Men's Volleyball Championship.
With Saturday's win over MSOE, Benedictine earned its second league title in the NACC's second year of sponsoring a league title. The Eagles - ranked eighth nationally and third in the West Region - must now sit and wait to see if their name is called as one of just two true at-large selections when the NCAA Championship field is released Monday, April 15.
Five of the six schools in this year's NACC Tournament are familiar faces with only CUW making their first appearance. MSOE won its first-round match last season before bowing out to Benedictine in the semifinals. Second-seeded Dominican won the 2018 tournament, outlasting Benedictine in an epic five-setter in the final before making a run to the national semifinals of the NCAA Championship.
Marian topped Aurora in a first-round match a year ago before seeing its season end with a 3-0 loss to Dominican in the semifinals, while Lakeland also made a first-round exit. Tournament newcomer CUW has made great strides in the program's second season, qualifying for the NACC Tournament after going winless in 26 tries in their inaugural campaign.
NACC Men's Volleyball Tournament