Trio of MEC teams headed to "Big Dance"

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PARKERSBURG, W. Va. (WTAP)- A trio of Mountain East Conference teams have punched their tickets to the NCAA Division 2 tournament.

In men's basketball, The West Liberty Hilltoppers are making their ninth straight appearance in the tournament.

Their first test will be against Shippensburg on Saturday at Virginia State.

The Hilltoppers are 26-3 and have won the Atlantic Region title five out of the last seven years. They have also made the sweet 16 seven out of the last eight seasons.

Shippensburg enters tournament play with a 23-7 record and a fifth seed. The Hilltoppers are the four seed.

"I couldn't pick a better group of guys to go to war with," said West Liberty head coach Ben Howlett.

"We're going to go back to practice this week. We're going to get better.

Joining them in the Atlantic Region are the Wheeling Jesuit Cardinals.

Wheeling Jesuit claimed its first MEC tournament title, which automatically gave them a spot to the big dance.

The Cardinals are the third seed and will match up with sixth seed West Chester on Saturday.

Wheeling Jesuit carries a 26-5 record into the tournament while West Chester is 21-6.

"I can't tell you how hard I ask these guys to work every single day," said Wheeling Jesuit head coach Danny Sancomb.

"I'm not always nice about it. I'm always trying to push them to get the best but I do it because I love them. I want them to reach their goals and their dreams."

The field of 64 is set for the women's NCAA Division 2 tournament. The red-hot Glenville State Lady Pioneers have claimed their spot.

The Pioneers are on a blistering 29-game winning streak and are coming off an MEC tournament championship and regular season title.

Glenville State is making its 11th appearance and second straight in the big tournament. It will face West Chester in the opening round on Friday at Virginia Union.

The Pioneers are the second seed at 30-1 while West Chester comes in at 23-5.

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