The Shaw women will begin the defense of their Division II national title on a new stage.
The No. 3 seed Bears (25-4) will travel to Gannon University in Erie, Pa., on Friday to take on No. 6 seed Glenville State (26-3) in the Atlantic Region. This is Shaws third straight NCAA tournament appearance.
Despite the new venue, the state of Pennsylvania has been good to the Bears.
Shaw had a 6-0 record at Edinboro University in Edinboro, Pa., the past two years. Coach Jacques Curtis said he preferred playing on the road.
We were the only conference team with a 7-1 road record, Curtis said at the CIAA tournament. There are less distractions, less pressure than home so we actually prefer going on the road.
The road back to the NCAA tournament was a little rougher than expected. Heading into the CIAA tournament, Shaw was ranked No. 8 in the first NCAA regional poll. Only the top eight teams earn a postseason berth.
The Bears earned an automatic bid by defeating Fayetteville State in the CIAA championship. The Broncos, who were nationally ranked throughout the season, were left out of the playoffs.
Shaw can become the first CIAA womens team to win back-to-back national titles.