MIAMI SHORES, Fla. -- In the first volleyball region rankings released this season, Barry University entered at No. 9 in the South.
The top eight teams from each region across the country qualify for the NCAA Division II National Tournament.
Barry is 12-11 overall, 6-8 in South Region matches. The Buccaneers, who sit sixth in the Sunshine State Conference standings with a 4-6 league mark, play Friday and Saturday at Rollins and Florida Tech, both of whom occupy the Nos. 7-8 spots, respectively, in the region poll.
Rollins (14-12, 5-5 SSC) is fourth in the league standings. Florida Tech (15-8, 5-6) is fifth.
Needless to say, this weekend carries weight to the Buccaneers' postseason possibilities.
"We played well against Rollins and Florida Tech the first time around, and the team is very motivated for this weekend," Bucs second-year head coach Steve Hendricks said. "We have had a great week of practice preparing for these two teams, understand the importance, and will do our best to return to Barry with two wins."
Barry lost to Rollins and FIT in a pair of four-set matches at the tail end of September in Miami Shores -- both swing matches that could've gone either way. Against Rollins, the final two sets were decided by two points at the close of the match -- the fourth set requiring additional serves or volleyball's equivalent of overtime to come to a verdict. In the match with the Panthers, the two teams split the first two sets before the Bucs fell in the decisive final two.
The Buccaneers outhit and outblocked the Tars. In the match against Tech, the Bucs and Panthers both attacked under .200, and Barry had five more blocks.
"It is great to be in the top 10 of our region, and we have five matches remaining on our schedule versus teams that are ranked ahead of us in the South Region," Hendricks said. "It gives us great opportunity to have some control of our destiny in making the top eight for the (NCAA) regional tournament."
Follow the Florida Tech match 4 p.m. Saturday at Palm Bay High School via LIVE STATS
Palm Beach Atlantic