TERRE HAUTE, IND. -- Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology opens the NCAA Division III Women's Volleyball Tournament against No. 5 ranked Wittenberg University in a match at Calvin College on Thursday at 3 p.m.
Rose-Hulman stands 24-8 this fall and earned its spot in the 64-team NCAA Division III Tournament field by capturing the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference Tournament championship in three sets over Bluffton University on Sunday.
The Fightin' Engineers are making their first appearance in the NCAA Division III Tournament and enter the postseason event on a six-match winning streak. Rose-Hulman has established single-season school records for wins (24) and winning percentage in a year that featured the first conference regular season title in program history.
Junior Anna Lewer (Indianapolis/Lutheran) was named the Most Valuable Player of the HCAC Tournament and leads the team in kills (307) and digs (388) this season. Lewer ranks eighth in Rose-Hulman history with 873 kills and stands fifth in the program record book with a .242 attack percentage.
Seniors Karah Hickman (Hobart, Ind./Hobart) and Leah Pelzel (Loveland, Ohio/Mount Notre Dame) joined Lewer on the all-HCAC Tournament Team. Hickman leads the HCAC in attack percentage (.344) and stands second on the team with 110 blocks this season. She ranks eighth in school history with 857 kills, fourth in career attack percentage at .259 and fourth all-time with 307 blocks.
Pelzel led Rose-Hulman in assists (725) and service aces (72) this season and also contributed 372 digs to the effort. She ranks third in school history in career service aces (202) and assists (2,483) and stands fourth in digs (1,577).
Senior Morgan Williams (Fenton, Mich./Powers Catholic) has added 285 kills at a .310 hitting percentage and paces the squad with 113 blocks. Williams ranks second in school history with 359 blocks and stands 10th with 806 career kills.
Other Engineers that have appeared in over 100 sets this season include sophomores Kira Boswell (Ames, Iowa), Kate Dangel (Upper Arlington, Ohio) and Casey Levitt (Thousand Oaks, Calif./Westlake). Boswell recorded 394 assists and 137 digs, Dangel added 330 digs with 15 aces, and Levitt contributed 229 kills, 281 digs and 39 service aces to the team statistics.
Rose-Hulman has amassed two six-game winning streaks this season and surpassed the team's school record for wins by four heading into the national tournament.
Wittenberg is ranked No. 5 nationally with a record of 31-3 overall and a perfect 16-0 mark in North Coast Athletic Conference play. The Tigers also won the NCAC Tournament with a sweep over Hiram last weekend.
The winner of the Rose-Hulman vs. Wittenberg match will advance into Saturday's second round match against the winner of Heidelberg vs. Geneva. Other teams at the eight-team, three-round NCAA regional site include Otterbein, Hope, Calvin and St. Norbert.