The Missouri State volleyball team earned an at-large bid to the school’s ninth NCAA Tournament in the last 14 seasons and 12th overall on Sunday, capitalizing on a 26-8 overall record and Missouri Valley Conference regular season championship to continue a memorable 2016 campaign. The Bears will begin tournament play against Ohio State on Friday, Dec. 2, at 5 p.m. in Manhattan, Kan., in a rematch of a Sept. 9 contest won by the Bears in Hammons Student Center.

The other half of the four-team regional pits No. 14 national seed Kansas State against Lipscomb. The winners will play on Dec. 3 at 7 p.m., and the champion of the four-team sub-regional advances to the third and fourth rounds Dec. 9-10 at a site to be determined.

The Bears own five top-50 RPI victories while accumulating their highest win total since 2006, and recently rode a 17-match winning streak into Saturday’s MVC Tournament championship match, which resulted in MSU’s first loss since Sept. 26. Missouri State boasts the MVC Player of the Year in Lily Johnson, the Freshman of the Year in Daniele Messa, and the Coach of the Year in Melissa Stokes. Johnson, Messa and Simone House earned first-team all-MVC honors, and Lynsey Wright is a second-team all-MVC selection.

MSU is 1-11 all-time in the tournament, with appearances in 1982, 1990, 1993, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011 and 2015. Missouri State lost to Missouri in Lawrence, Kan., last season, and defeated Arkansas in 2006 for its only tournament victory.

Ohio State is 20-12 on the season and tied for seventh in the Big Ten with a 10-10 conference record and final RPI of 38. Kansas State is the No. 14 national seed, owning a 20-9 overall record and No. 19 ranking in the RPI after tying for fourth place in the Big 12. Lipscomb is 22-7 and earned the automatic bid from the Atlantic Sun Conference. The Bisons are ranked 54th in the RPI.

Missouri State is 4-2 all-time against Ohio State, including a five-set home win earlier this season. The Bears own a 15-9 record against Kansas State, the last meeting being a 3-2 KSU win in Manhattan in 2014. MSU also visited Manhattan for the 2003 and 2007 NCAA Tournaments. Missouri State and Lipscomb have not played in volleyball.

Story–Missouri State Athletics