Shawnee State University, which advanced to pool play after a three-set win over Indiana East University on Saturday in Portsmouth, has been placed in Pool C along with Taylor, the College of Idaho and defending national champion Fresno Pacific.
Shawnee State coach Kristi Kamer said Pool C is among the toughest of the six pools.
"I think that's probably one of the strongest pools," Kamer said. "Most of the strongest teams are there."
The Bears (35-9) and Fresno Pacific (29-2) play at 1 p.m. Nov. 30. SSU's second game is against Taylor at 3:15 p.m. Dec. 1 and the Bears' final pool game is against the College of Idaho at 1 p.m. Dec. 2. The top two teams from each pool will advance to the single elimination bracket starting Dec. 3
Fresno Pacific is more than just a defending champion. The Sunbirds are looking to win their fourth-straight volleyball title and the fifth in school history. Fresno Pacific won its 11th-consecutive Golden State Athletic Conference title this season and the GSAC is a tough volleyball conference. The GSAC has a tournament-high six teams in the final 24.
Shawnee State and Fresno Pacific have never played in volleyball."They're a good all around team but they've also lost this year,” Kamer said. “They're human. Anything can happen and I believe in my team. My girls are up for this challenge."
Taylor (34-6) comes into the tournament after winning the Mid-Central College Conference Tournament title. Shawnee State defeated Taylor three sets to two on Sept. 3. The College of Idaho is ranked No. 16 in the NAIA Top 25.
The Bears have been led all season by seniors Tiffany Dailey, Haley Halcomb, Jami Turrill and Heather Koehler but Kamer said the team doesn't have to rely on just that quartet for leadership.
"Right now they've been leading us really well," Kamer said. "Everyone has stepped up, my freshmen have stepped up. Everyone, Shayye who is a junior, everyone is stepping up.”