By Katie Green, NAIA Manager of Athletic Communications and Media
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – (Championship Schedule | Watch Selection Show) The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics has officially announced the teams and Opening Round pairings for the 2017 NAIA Volleyball National Championship. The 44-team event will get underway with 12 National Championship Opening Round matches at campus locations on Nov. 18.
The top 19 seeds and championship host Morningside (Iowa) automatically advance to the national championship final site in Sioux City, Iowa. Action inside the Tyson Events Center starts with three days of pool play from Nov. 28 – 30. The top two teams in each pool will advance to the elimination bracket on Dec. 1, and the national champion will be crowned Dec. 2 the with first-serve set for 7 p.m. CST on ESPN3.
This year’s field includes 33 automatic qualifiers, 10 at-large selections and one host berth (Morningside). The automatic berths are determined by regular-season champions, conference tournament title winners or runner-ups. The remaining at-large bids were determined by the final regular season Women’s Volleyball Coaches’ Top 25 Poll announced Monday. That Top 25 Poll can be viewed here. Final site pools will be determined on Sunday, Nov. 19, and released by 5 p.m. CST
The NAIA Network – the association’s official video streaming home – will broadcast all 63 matches (including 48 pool-play matches) live at the 2017 NAIA Volleyball National Championship final site in Sioux City, Iowa. The video platform, powered by Stretch Internet, allows users access to live video, statistics, and social interaction on a number of devices, including mobile. Single day passes can be purchased for $9.95, while a pool play pass is $24.95 (Nov. 28 – Dec. 1) and an all-championship package is available at $39.95. For more information and the pre-register, click here.
• Twenty-seven programs are back from the 2016 national championship, including last season’s national champion, Hastings (Neb.).
• Undefeated Lindsey Wilson (Ky.) is the team to watch this postseason as the Blue Raiders come into the national championship as the No. 1 ranked team at 28-0. This is Lindsey Wilson’s sixth appearance in the national championship.
• Morningside (Iowa) earned the host berth for the 2017 National Championship. The Mustangs enter competition with a 18-12 overall record and will be making their sixth appearance.
• Three programs in the field have won a national championship before: Columbia (1998, 1999, 2001, 2015), Park (2014) and Hastings (2016).
• The Great Plains Athletic Conference brings the most qualifiers this year with five institutions including: Dordt (Iowa), Hastings (Neb.), Midland (Neb.), Morningside (Iowa) and Northwestern (Iowa). Hastings was the first of the GPAC to win a national title in 2016. The Cascade Collegiate Conference follows right behind with four qualifiers: College of Idaho, Corban (Ore.), Eastern Oregon and Northwest (Wash.).
• Perennial contender, Columbia (Mo.), is the active leader in both championship appearances at 24 and playoff wins with a 90-44 record.
• Texas Wesleyan snapped a 12 year drought of not playing in the national championship. The team returns to the national championship for the first time since 2005. Similarly, Campbellsville (Ky.) snapped a 10 year drought with their last appearance in the national championship being in 2007.
• Six teams have qualified for the first time in program history – Lincoln Christian (Ill.), Embry-Riddle (Ariz.), Marian (Ind.), Missouri Valley, Northwest (Wash.) and Reinhardt (Ga.).
2017 NAIA Volleyball National Championship Qualifiers
|Team||Qualification||Season Record||Appearances||Last Time||Titles|
|Bellevue (Neb.)||At-large Bid||28-11||10||2016||0|
|Campbellsville (Ky.)||At-large Bid||26-8||2||2007||0|
|College of Idaho||Cascade Conference Tournament Runner-Up||24-6||12||2015||0|
|College of the Ozarks (Mo.)||AII Conference Tournament Champion||30-6||5||2016||0|
|Columbia (Mo.)||AMC Regular Season Champion||33-6||24||2016||4|
|Corban (Ore.)||Cascade Regular Season Champion||24-7||2||2016||0|
|Cornerstone (Mich.)||WHAC Conference Tournament Champion||26-7||3||2016||0|
|Dordt (Iowa)||GPAC Tournament Runner-Up||29-6||13||2016||0|
|Eastern Oregon||At-large Bid||22-9||4||2016||0|
|Embry-Riddle (Ariz.)||Cal Pac Conference Tournament Winner||28-3||1||0||0|
|Georgetown (Ky.)||At-large Bid||21-4||20||2016||0|
|Grand View||Heart Regular Season Champion||31-7||7||2016||0|
|Hastings (Neb.)||GPAC Regular Season Champion||25-2||12||2016||1|
|Indiana Wesleyan||Crossroads Conference Touranment Winner||27-10||7||2016||0|
|IU East (Ind.)||River States Conference Tournament Champion||21-18||6||2013||0|
|IU Kokomo (Ind.)||River States Regular Season Champion||30-9||3||2016||0|
|Jamestown (N.D.)||At-large Bid||21-8||5||2016||0|
|Lincoln Christian (Ill.)||AII Conference Tournament Runner-UP||17-19||1||0||0|
|Lindsey Wilson (Ky.)||Mid-South Conference Tournament Champion||28-0||7||2016||0|
|Lourdes (Ohio)||WHAC Tournament Runner-Up||21-11||4||2016||0|
|Madonna (Mich.)||At-large Bid||29-4||17||2016||0|
|Marian (Ind.)||Crossroads Regular Season Champion||27-5||1||0||0|
|Midland (Neb.)||At-large Bid||19-9||5||2016||0|
|Missouri Baptist||At-large Bid||29-8||9||2016||0|
|Missouri Valley||Heart Conference Tournament Runner-Up||32-8||1||0||0|
|Mobile (Ala.)||Southern States Regular Season Champion||38-3||6||2015||0|
|Montana Tech||Frontier Conference Tournament Champion||22-8||4||2016||0|
|Morningside (Iowa)||Host Bid||18-12||6||2016||0|
|Northwest (Wash.)||At-large Bid||22-8||1||0||0|
|Northwestern (Iowa)||At-large Bid||28-4||13||2014||0|
|Oklahoma City||Sooner Conference Tournament Champion||23-6||3||2016||0|
|Our Lady of the Lake (Texas)||Red River Conference Tournament Champion||23-8||3||2016||0|
|Ottawa (Kan.)||KCAC Regular Season Champion||29-10||5||2016||0|
|Park (Mo.)||AMC Conference Tournament Winner||29-3||5||2016||1|
|Reinhardt (Ga.)||Appalachian Regular Season Champion||29-6||1||0||0|
|Saint Xavier (Ill.)||Chicagoland Conference Tournament Champion||34-4||4||2012||0|
|Tabor (Kan.)||KCAC Tournament Champion||27-9||2||2016||0|
|Texas Wesleyan||Sooner Conference Tournament Runner-Up||26-4||9||2005||0|
|Trinity Christian (Ill.)||Chicagoland Conference Tournament Runner-Up||27-12||4||2015||0|
|Union (Ky.)||Appalachian Conference Tournament Winner||31-10||6||2016||0|
|Viterbo (Wis.)||North Star Conference Tournament Champion||33-1||5||2016||0|
|Webber International (Fla.)||The Sun Conference Tournament Champion||25-5||3||2016||0|
|Westmont (Calif.)||GSAC Tournament Champion||31-3||11||2016||0|
|Xavier (La.)||GCAC Tournament Champion||23-2||7||2016||0|
Opening Round Schedule
Saturday, Nov. 18 | Campus Sites
Match 1 - Campbellsville (Ky.) at Texas Wesleyan
Match 2 - College of the Ozarks (Mo.) at Ottawa (Kan.)
Match 3 - IU East (Ind.) at Missouri Valley
Match 4 - IU Kokomo (Ind.) at Indiana Wesleyan
Match 5 - Lincoln Christian (Ill.) at Bellevue (Neb.)
Match 6 - Marian (Ind.) at Xavier (La.)
Match 7 - Mobile (Ala.) at Embry-Riddle (Ariz.)
Match 8 - Oklahoma City at Our Lady of the Lake (Texas)
Match 9 - Reinhardt (Ga.) at Northwest (Wash.)
Match 10 - St. Xavier (Ill.) at Union (Ky.)
Match 11 - Trinity Christian (Ill.) at Tabor (Kan.)
Match 12 - Webber International (Fla.) at Lourdes (Ohio)
For more information on the 2017 NAIA Volleyball National Championship Opening Round and final site, click here.