All eyes were on the University of Missouri-St. Louis, which ranked fourth. Louis volleyball team hosted the Division II NCAA Midwest Regional Tournament at the Mark Twain Athletic Center this past weekend.
The Tritons put on a show in front of a crowd of 1,000 over the weekend, defeating No. 8 seed Missouri State, No. 5 seed Grand Valley State University, and No. 2 seed Ferris State University to win the Midwest Regional for the second straight year. They won the championship and subsequently qualified for the national quarterfinals.
But behind the scenes, a team of UMSL Athletics staff, student-athletes and student volunteers worked around the clock to ensure the three-day event ran smoothly.
Director of Athletics Lori Flanagan said the regional meet was quite an effort.
“When we put forward a bid to host an NCAA regional championship, it’s a tough job because we have to provide a fair opportunity for all eight participating teams,” Flanagan said. “You need people who are very knowledgeable about what they’re doing. There’s no margin for error. You need to get coordination from every department on campus to support you. This includes: This includes campus police, custodians, food services, student life, facilities, maintenance, and even Triton Sound.”
UMSL announced its bid for regionals earlier this season, and athletics department officials met for six weeks to discuss logistics such as game coverage, campus signage, hotel contracts and online ticket sales. Even with advance preparation, it took him less than a week after winning the regional award for the department to put its plan into action.
“Everything is ready, and we have to believe that what is ready will turn around in a short period of time,” Flanagan said. “All groups really need to come together and support.”
Fortunately, Mr. Flanagan had a lot of support as he prepared for the approximately 1,200 participants, including athletes, coaching staff, members of the media, and spectators, to arrive on campus over three days. She said everyone in the department contributed in some way, from administrative staff to medical trainers. She particularly highlighted the efforts of student-athletes and student volunteers.
“We asked our student-athletes to serve as hosts for each visiting team,” Flanagan said. “They greeted the team when they arrived on campus. They brought them into our building. They showed them where the locker rooms were. They stayed with them while they practiced. They met every day, whether it was practice or games.”
Student-athletes and student volunteers (including sports management majors who earned service-learning hours during the tournament) also sold perks, merchandise, and tickets, produced digital live streams, and shagged balls during practices and games. I helped.
“What was really cool was that we were able to give a group of students instructions on what to do and they knew how to get it done,” Flanagan said. “They were really helpful and helpful.”
Staff members including Jackie Warren, Director of Residential Life and Housing, also attended. Warren is an avid sports fan and attends as many of his UMSL sporting events as possible. While watching the Tritons dominate on the court during the regular season, Warren spoke to Flanagan about the possibility of the university hosting a regional tournament.
“Lori was asking, ‘If we were to host a regional tournament, would you want to help?’” Warren recalled. “Right away, I said, ‘Yes!’” I help out in any way I can, whether it’s watching some great volleyball, welcoming guests to UMSL, or cheering on the Tritons. I was so excited. In addition, we strongly believe that UMSL Athletics is a great partner to our campuses regarding residential life and housing and can support our colleagues and students on campus during large events and special occasions. ”
During the tournament, Warren was stationed in the hospitality room and kept food and beverages in the area for coaches, media members, referees, tournament staff, and VIPs. She also welcomed guests who visited the school and answered their questions.
Prime Minister Kristin Sobolik expressed her gratitude for the efforts of everyone who helped organize the tournament.
“Athletics is the gateway to our university, and this tournament introduces our beautiful campus and excellent athletic facilities to those who have never experienced our campus,” Sobolik said. said. “Our team is top-notch, with great coaching, training and athletic support. We are also pleased that our campus community came out to support the Tritons. I am.”
Overall, Flanagan said he was happy with how the tournament went together and credited UMSL fans for helping create a positive atmosphere.
“You know you’ve done a really good job when you don’t have any complaints. We didn’t have any complaints,” she said. She added, “We feel like we put on a Class A event and we feel like our fans really enjoyed their experience here.”