By Mike DeVader, Communications and Sports Information Intern
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Fresh off a perfect season and the school’s first-ever national title, the Park (Mo.) Pirates are the top-ranked squad in the Tachikara-NAIA Volleyball Coaches’ Postseason Top 25 Poll, the national office announced Wednesday.
Park (40-0) collected all 19 first-place votes and 529 points on its way to the program’s inaugural top spot. The Pirates took down defending national champion Texas at Brownsville, 3-0, in the final of the 2014 NAIA Volleyball National Championship, presented by J&L Staffing and Recruiting.
Perhaps the biggest obstacle for the Pirates came in the semifinals against Biola (Calif.), who pushed Park to the brink in its first five-set match of the season. The Pirates won the first set before dropping the next two to Eagles. With Biola one set away from the final match, Park stormed back to take the final two sets (25-16; 15-12) to advance to the championship final.
With the final win on Dec. 6, Park finished the season as the NAIA’s lone unbeaten squad.
No. 2 is Texas at Brownsville –this season’s national runner-up. The Ocelots (34-5) earned 507 points after the team’s run to back-to-back championship final appearances. Before its loss to Park on Dec. 6, the two programs had met just twice on the court – with the Ocelots holding a 2-0 advantage and an undefeated-set streak to the Pirates. The defeat dropped Texas at Brownsville to 2-1 in the all-time series against the new national champions.
Up one spot to No. 3 is Biola (32-5) with 500 points. The Eagles earned their ranking thanks to the previously mentioned impressive performance against Park. Biola carried its momentum from a 15-1 record in Golden State Athletic Conference (GSAC) play straight into national championship competition and did not miss a beat.
The rest of the top five includes No. 4 Viterbo (Wis.) (41-9) and No. 5 Rocky Mountain (Mont.) (32-3). Both schools garnered 478 and 447 points, respectively.
With the fifth spot rating, the Battlin’ Bears’ string of 11-consecutive No. 1 rankings was snapped. Rocky Mountain entered the national championship fresh off capturing a Frontier Conference Tournament crown with a 3-1 win over Lewis-Clark State (Idaho). The school’s quest for the championship banner came to a halt with a 3-1 loss at the hands of Viterbo in the quarterfinals on Dec. 5.
There was a ton of shuffling throughout the poll this week, as only five institutions held steady to their positions from the Nov. 16th release. No. 6 Missouri Baptist was the only representative from the top 11 that did not find a new home in the rating.
No. 11 Vanguard (Calif.) and No. 14 College of Idaho share the honor of highest positive mover within the rankings, as both schools jumped up 10 spots from the final poll. Conversely, No. 21 Grand View (Iowa) plummeted from No. 11, the largest drop of any school.
No new schools entered the Postseason Top 25 Poll.
The American Midwest Conference, GSAC and Cascade Collegiate Conference all tied for the most programs ranked in the poll with three teams apiece.
The poll was voted upon by a panel of head coaches representing each of the conferences and Association of Independent Institutions.
For the complete volleyball ratings calendar, click here.
Notes: (All information as of 2000) Park (Mo.) takes the top spot for the first time in program history after winning the school’s first-ever national crown… Park becomes the 10th team to hold the No. 1 ranking since 2000… Former member Fresno Pacific (Calif.) has the most No. 1 appearances with 70, followed by former member National American (S.D.) with 33… No. 7 Concordia (Calif.), which ranks fifth all-time with 14 No. 1 mentions, holds the longest active streak in the Top 25 at 112-straight polls … No. 3 Biola (Calif.) is second with 111-consecutive mentions followed by No. 16 Columbia (Mo.) (99) and No. 2 Texas at Brownsville (74)… Thirty-three teams have made a Top 25 appearance this season… Biola, Concordia, Northwestern (Iowa) and Texas at Brownsville have ranked among the top 10 in every edition… There has only been one program that has been able to maintain the No. 1 ranking for an entire season with Fresno Pacific accomplishing the feat in 2004, 2008 and 2009.
2014 Tachikara-NAIA Volleyball Coaches’ Postseason Top 25 Poll (Dec. 10)
|RANK||LAST WEEK||SCHOOL (1ST PLACE VOTES)||2014 Record||TOTAL POINTS|
|1||2||Park (Mo.) (19)||40-0||529|
|2||5||Texas at Brownsville||34-5||507|
|5||1||Rocky Mountain (Mont.)||32-3||447|
|12||12||Lindsey Wilson (Ky.)||35-5||349|
|14||24||College of Idaho||22-12||278|
|21||11||Grand View (Iowa)||26-16||222|
|24||22||Cal State San Marcos||27-11||126|
|25||20||Wayland Baptist (Texas)||23-10||114|
Others receiving votes: Concordia (Ore.) 102; Embry-Riddle (Fla.) 79; MidAmerica Nazarene (Kan.) 56; Kansas Wesleyan 28; Dordt (Iowa) 24; Oklahoma Baptist 22; Cardinal Stritch (Wis.) 19; St. Catharine (Ky.) 8; Bryan (Tenn.) 6; Union (Ky.) 3.