ELITE EIGHT REPORT: Ferris State Continues Preparations For Thursday's National Quarterfinal (Photos)

ELITE EIGHT REPORT: Ferris State Continues Preparations For Thursday's National Quarterfinal (Photos)

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Cedar Rapids, Iowa - The Ferris State University women's volleyball team has officially arrived at the 2013 NCAA Division II Elite Eight as preparations continue for the Bulldogs' national quarterfinal match set for Thursday (Dec. 12).

The Bulldogs, who claimed the Midwest Regional Championship to become one of Division II's eight remaining teams, will square off against BYU-Hawaii in the second of four quarterfinal-round contests on Thursday afternoon at the U.S. Cellular Center in Cedar Rapids.

Thursday's match is slated for a 3:30 p.m. (ET) start and will be carried live by Sunny 97.3 FM and the Bulldog Sports Network at FerrisStateBulldogs.com with Rob Bentley on the call. The NCAA will also provide live video and live statistics throughout the match (see links below).

The Bulldogs departed the FSU campus in Big Rapids on Tuesday morning on the school's official "Bulldog" bus bound for Cedar Rapids. The team held a two-hour practice session on Tuesday afternoon in Seneca, Ill., which is the home of Bulldog freshman Aspen Stuedemann.

After a post-practice dinner in Seneca, the Bulldogs completed the journey to Cedar Rapids on Tuesday evening.

On Wednesday morning, after a team breakfast, the Bulldogs took part in a community engagement event organized by the NCAA Division II staff. The FSU team visited Cleveland Elementary school in Cedar Rapids where they had an opportunity to speak to young students as part of an all-school assembly.  

The youth in attendance welcomed the Bulldogs and displayed signs and banners they had made in support of Ferris State and the squad's Elite Eight appearance.

Following the school visit and a short team meeting, the Bulldogs held an hour-long practice session on the official match floor at the U.S. Cellular Center, which is connected to the official hotel for all eight participating teams.

Selected Ferris State student-athletes along with head coach Tia Brandel-Wilhelm will take part in an official NCAA press conference this evening starting around 7:15 p.m. (ET) that will be streamed live online at the link below.  FSU will then attend the Elite Eight banquet this evening as a team before embarking on their normal gameday routine on Thursday.

Tickets for the Elite Eight will be sold at the U.S. Celluar Center at the event and prices for a single-session are $12 for adults, $5 for students and senior citizens along with $2 for a child. An all-session ticket can be purchased for either $30 for adults or $15 for students/seniors. Spectator parking for the tournament will be available at and around the U.S. Cellular Center.

ferris State overcame the odds in thrilling fashion to claim the NCAA Division II Midwest Regional Championship and move on to the Elite Eight as the Bulldogs topped archrival Grand Valley State 3-2 in a come from behind victory in the title match last Saturday (Dec. 7) in Allendale. FSU dropped the opening two sets of Saturday's match and trailed 11-7 in the fifth and final frame before climbing back to notch the improbable victory. It capped an exciting three-day run for the Bulldogs as they marched to the regional championship.

The Bulldogs, who are 25-8 overall, are one of eight regional champions who will descend on the U.S. Cellular Center aiming for a national championship. Along with the Bulldogs, the other seven participants will include LIU-Post, West Texas A&M, Tampa, Concordia-St. Paul, BYU-Hawaii, Wingate and Wheeling Jesuit.

Thursday afternoon's match will mark the second-ever series' tilt between the Bulldogs and BYU-Hawaii. The Seasiders previously reached the NCAA-II National Semifinals a year ago while falling to the eventual national champion in Concordia-St. Paul. Their lone loss this year in a 27-1 record was a 3-2 setback at Hawaii Pacific on Sept. 26 in PacWest Conference action.

NCAA DII Volleyball Press Conferences
(Wednesday - approx. 7:15 p.m. ET)

Ferris State vs. BYU-Hawaii
National Quarterfinal Match
Thursday, Dec. 12 – 3:30 p.m. (ET)
U.S. Cellular Center - Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Live Local Radio On Sunny 97.3 FM
Bulldog Sports Network Online Audio Broadcast   

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