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BLOOMINGTON — Illinois Wesleyan’s volleyball team, which has won a school-record 20 straight matches, learned Monday it will open the NCAA Division III Tournament on Friday in a regional hosted by the University of Chicago.

Third-seeded IWU faces sixth-seeded Cal Lutheran in a regional quarterfinal at 3 p.m. at Chicago’s Ratner Center.

The Titans are making their second straight and sixth all-time NCAA appearance, with others coming in 2017, 2015, 1998, 1997 and 1991.

The regional opens at 12:30 p.m. Friday with No. 2 seed Washington (Mo.) playing No. 7 Cornell College. No. 4 Trinity (Texas) meets No. 5 Aurora at 5:30 p.m. and top-seeded Chicago plays No. 8 University of Dubuque after that.

Cal Lutheran has an 18-11 record and gained an at-large bid after losing to Claremont-Mudd-Scripps, 3-0, in the title match of the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) Tournament.

Quarterfinal winners meet at 2:30 p.m. and 5 p.m. Saturday with the title match at 1 p.m. Sunday.

CCIW honors

IWU’s daughter-mother tandem of senior outside hitter Tyler Brown and head coach Kim Nelson-Brown were selected as Most Outstanding Player and Coach of the Year in the College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin on Monday.

Brown, who was the league's Freshman of the Year in 2015, is the first Titan to win the top award since Molly May in 2004 and the sixth IWU player to earn the honor.

Brown was third in the league in digs per set with 5.31, fourth in kills (3.81) and eighth in hitting percentage (.271).

Nelson-Brown earned her second league Coach of the Year honor and first since 2003 after leading the Titans to an 8-0 conference record, the outright regular-season championship and the CCIW Tournament title.

Brown was among six IWU players selected to the all-CCIW teams. Seniors Rachel Burkman and Leah Seielstad joined her on the first team, while senior Heidi Dague and freshmen Bev Ryan and Madi Corey were second-team selections.

Brown was a first team all-CCIW pick for the third straight year. Burkman, who was also a first team all-CCIW choice last year, was seventh in the league in kills (3.27) and blocks (0.73) per set. Seielstad was fourth against CCIW opponents with 6.38 assists per set.

Dague was second in blocks (1.0/set) and seventh with a .277 hitting percentage. Corey was tied for third with 0.46 aces per set and had 4.85 assists per set. Ryan made .56 blocks and 1.48 kills per set and had a .384 hitting percentage, but her kill attempts were too few to qualify for final CCIW stats.

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Sports Editor

Sports editor for Lee Enterprises Central Illinois.

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