FAIRFAX, Va. (WJHL) – Just over one week since the team’s Conference Carolina tournament championship, the Tornado are ready to take center stage on one of the sport’s biggest stages.
King will open up the NCAA Men’s Volleyball Tournament from George Mason University on Sunday evening.
The team was able to practice in EagleBank Arena in Fairfax, Virginia ahead of their opening round matchup against Ohio State. King head coach Ryan Booher believes the Buckeyes to be a very strong team in all areas, particularly the serve. They are also an aggressive group, taking the fight to their opponents.
But, the Tornado program has a belief that their status as a small-school underdog could be to their advantage.
“I think we were the only team not to have 20 wins – that made the tournament,” senior outside hitter Jackson Carroll said earlier this week. “I mean, everyone is looking at us – smaller school, not a lot of wins. Hopefully it’s an easy win is what they’re thinking. I think we kind of like that, you know?”
Booher knows Ohio State will be a step up in competition, but he believes his team has prepared themselves for the magnitude of the moment and the opponent.
“The first time we were here, it was a little intimidating,” Booher said. “We had played some big teams, but not on that stage. Now these guys know – we’ve been out and we’ve played Long Beach State, we’ve played USC – we’ve played Loyola. It’s going to be a little more familiar.”
The last time King qualified for the NCAA Tournament field in 2018, they fell to Ohio State in their opening match. The Tornado will have a chance to grab a win this season at 6 p.m. EDT on Sunday.