RALEIGH, N.C. – The Shaw University women's volleyball team will begin their quest to defend their title as the Lady Bears look to open the 2017 Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) Tournament on Friday, Nov. 17 at the VSU Multipurpose Center on the campus of Virginia State University in Petersburg, Va. The tournament is free and open to the public.
Shaw claimed the 2016 CIAA crown with a sweep of Fayetteville State on Nov. 20, 2016. That championship was the first for the Lady Bears in 21 years and the programs third overall.
The official bracket of the tournament was released on Nov. 9 by the conference office where it featured eight total teams, including the top four from both the north and south divisions. Representing the Northern Division will be No. 1 Chowan University, No. 2 Virginia State University, No. 3 Virginia Union University, and No. 4 Lincoln (PA) University. The participating Southern Division teams include No. 1 Shaw University, No. 2 Winston-Salem State University, No. 3 Fayetteville State University, and No. 4 Johnson C. Smith University.
The Lady Bears earned the No. 1 seed from the South after capturing their second-consecutive Southern Division title with a three-straight set victory over division foe Fayetteville State on Nov. 6.
Led by fourth-year head coach and two-time CIAA Coach of the Year, DiShondra Goree, Shaw wrapped up their 2017 regular season with the league's best record, standing 25-4 overall, 15-1 in the CIAA and 9-1 within the south division. The Lady Bears lone conference loss came against Fayetteville State back on Oct. 9.
With a target on their back and an eye on the ultimate prize, Shaw will face Lincoln (Pa.) at 7:30 p.m. during the first round of the tournament. Both teams met earlier this season where the Lady Bears swept the Lady Lions, 3-0 at the CIAA Volleyball Round-Up.
Should Shaw advance to the semi-finals, the Lady Bears will face the winner of either No. 2 seed Virginia State (North) and No. 3 seed Fayetteville State (South) at 7 p.m. The championship match will take place on Sunday, Nov. 19 at 1 p.m.
For the most up-to-date information on Shaw women's volleyball and its 13 varsity sport teams, please visit www.shawbears.com.