The Hope College volleyball team is starting its pursuit of a NCAA Division III national championship in Ohio.

Coach Becky Schmidt’s Flying Dutch are headed to the eight-team Wittenberg regional this week. Play will begin on Thursday, Nov. 13.

Hope (28-2 overall) will play Franklin & Marshall, Pennsylvania (21-11), in the first round in Springfield, Ohio, at 3 p.m. Thursday.

Thursday’s winner will face either Juniata, Pennsylvania (27-7), or Franciscan, Ohio (13-16), in the Friday, Nov. 14 regional semifinals at 3:30 p.m. The regional final is Saturday, Nov. 15 at 7 p.m.

The other first-round matchups at Wittenberg pit Mount Union, Ohio (28-5) vs. Washington & Lee, Virginia (27-6), and Wittenberg (27-3) vs. Cabrini, Pennsylvania (26-6).

This is Hope’s 12th NCAA Tournament appearance overall and seventh in a row. The Flying Dutch reached the national quarterfinals last season.

Hope received one of 20 Pool C at-large berths to the 64-team national tournament.

Winners from eight regionals will advance to the Division III championships at the Freeman Center in Newport News, Virginia, from Nov. 21-24.  If the Flying Dutch reach the national final, the match would be played on Monday, Nov. 24. 

Hope opened the season at Wittenberg’s Courtyard Marriott Invitational and won all three matches on Aug. 29-30. The MAA co-champions Dutch beat two nationally ranked opponents: Wittenberg in four sets and St. Thomas (Minnesota) in three.