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Wayne Cavadi | NCAA.com | November 17, 2022

The complete guide to the DII women's volleyball championship tournament

Tampa wins the 2021 DII women's volleyball championship

The 2021 DII women's volleyball season concluded in Tampa, Florida with the home team Tampa Spartans taking home yet another national championship in its illustrious history.  

Let's take a look at how the tournament works. 

When did the DII women's volleyball championship begin

Prior to the formation of NCAA Division II, there were seven Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women champions, the last being Hawaii-Hilo in 1981. That same season, the NCAA DII women's volleyball championship crowned its first champion, with Sacramento State blanking Lewis in straight sets for the first title in the history of the sport. 

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Building the DII women's volleyball bracket: How to get in the tournament

The DII women's volleyball championship starts with 64 teams. Twenty-three of those teams that make up the field enter the tournament via an automatic bid from winning their respective conferences. Those 23 conferences are:

  • California Collegiate Athletic Association
  • Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference
  • Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association
  • Conference Carolinas
  • East Coast Conference
  • Great American Conference
  • Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference
  • Great Lakes Valley Conference
  • The Great Midwest Athletic Conference
  • Great Northwest Athletic Conference
  • Gulf South Conference
  • Lone Star Conference
  • Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association
  • Mountain East Conference
  • Northeast-10 Conference
  • Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference
  • Pacific West Conference
  • Peach Belt Conference
  • Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference
  • Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference
  • South Atlantic Conference
  • Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference
  • Sunshine State Conference

So, how about those other 41 schools attempting to win the DII women's volleyball title? The selection committee will pick those at-large bids. If a school has a DII record of at least .500 and has played at least 60 percent of its games against a DII institution with a minimum of 15 DII matches, then it is eligible for an at-large bid. 

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The process begins three weeks prior to the end of the season when the regional rankings are released. These NCAA polls break the conferences into eight regions and rank the top 10 teams per region. Now, those can change over the next three weeks of course, but we start to see how the top eight from each region will pan out. In making the final selections for the 41 at-large bids, the committee looks at the following criteria:

  • DII in-region winning percentage
  • Overall DII winning percentage
  • DII strength of schedule
  • DII head-to-head competition
  • Results versus common DII opponents
  • In-region RPI
  • In-region non-conference won-lost record
  • Performance Indicator

Once the 41 at-large bids are chosen, the NCAA announces the 64-team field in a selection show right here on NCAA.com.

What does the DII women's volleyball bracket look like?

DII volleyball bracket

Much like March Madness, the 64-team DII women's volleyball bracket is set up in a single-elimination format. The eight regions begin play in regional tournaments and the winner advances to the final site where the quarterfinals, semifinals and championship match are all played. Once at the final site, the eight teams are seeded No. 1 through 8 and play begins with the highest-seeded teams "hosting" the lowest-seeded teams. This process of seeding at the final eight site began in 2016 and the No. 1 seed has won every year under the new format so far: Concordia-St. Paul in 2016 and '17, Tampa in 2018, Cal State San Bernardino in 2019, and then Tampa again in 2021.

The complete history of the DII women's volleyball championship

Concordia-St. Paul is doing its best to make the DII volleyball record books all its own. Since 2007, the Golden Bears have won nine titles, the most in the 38-year history of the DII volleyball championship. Below is a complete list of every championship match since the 1981 season.

2021 Tampa (34-2) Chris Catanach        3-0 Washburn Tampa, FL.
2020 No champion Canceled - COVID-19    
2019 Cal State San Bernardino Kim Cherniss 3-1 Nebraska-Kearney Denver, Co.
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) Leonid 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

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