Volleyball Team Handles Bluffton, Headed to NCAAs

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HANOVER, IND. -- The Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology volleyball team reached the NCAA Division III Tournament for the first time in program history with a 25-15, 25-17, 25-11 victory over Bluffton University in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference Championship Game on Sunday.

The Engineers were led by junior Anna Lewer (Indianapolis, Ind./Lutheran) with 10 kills on the day.  Senior Morgan Williams (Fenton, Mich./Powers Catholic) added eight kills and five total blocks.

Senior Leah Pelzel (Loveland, Ohio/Mount Notre Dame) led the team with 21 assists and with 13 digs.  Lewer and sophomore Casey Levitt (Thousand Oaks, Calif./Westlake) chipped in with nine digs each. 

Lewer was named Most Valuable Player of the 2011 HCAC Tournament.  Pelzel and senior Karah Hickman (Hobart) were also named to the all-tournament team for their efforts over the three-game tourney. 

Rose-Hulman enters the NCAA Tournament with a school record 24 wins and a school record for single-season winning percentage.  The team also won its first regular season and first conference tournament championship this fall.

Rose-Hulman was part of a five-way tie for the regular season conference championship and received the No. 5 seed for the HCAC Tournament.  The Fightin' Engineers won at Transylvania on Tuesday, at Hanover on Saturday and over Bluffton on Sunday to secure the title.

Rose-Hulman improved to 24-8 on the season, while Bluffton stands 22-11 on the campaign.  The Fightin' Engineers will find out their NCAA Tournament destination on Monday at 11 a.m. at ncaa.com.