SPOKANE, Wash. - Whitworth University can claim a share of its fourth Northwest Conference championship in the last five seasons. But the Pirates will not be able to celebrate that championship with a bid to the 2011 NCAA Division III tournament. Whitworth was not awarded an at-large berth in the tournament field, which was announced this morning.
The Pirates finished with a record of 14-3-1 overall and a Northwest Conference mark of 12-2 to tie Pacific Lutheran for first place in the final standings. But PLU earned the league's automatic bid to the national tournament thanks to a regular-season sweep of Whitworth in NWC play.
Whitworth has now won a total of six NWC championships since 2004 and seven in the 16-year term of head coach Sean Bushey. Only one other Whitworth team has won more conference crowns in that time span. Bushey now has a record of 196-83-32 in his career leading the Pirates.
Pacific Lutheran will play regional host University of Redlands in the first round on Saturday afternoon.