By Katie Green, Manager of Athletic Communications and Media
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – (Championship Schedule | Bracket) The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics has officially announced the 2018 Men’s Volleyball National Invitational qualifiers. The eight-team field will begin play on April 17 at the final site in Des Moines, Iowa.
This year’s field includes five automatic bids (including the host bid) and three at-large selections. The automatic berths are determined by conference/group tournament winners and host bid claimed by Grand View (Iowa). The remaining at-large bids were determined by the final regular season Men’s Volleyball Coaches’ Top 10 Poll announced Sunday. That Top 10 Poll can be viewed HERE.
Action inside the Charles S. Johnson Wellness Center will begin with three days of pool play starting on April 17 and ending April 19. The semifinals will take place on April 20 and the championship on April 21.
This year is the third year that men’s volleyball is considered an invitational sport in the NAIA. During previous years it was considered an emerging sport.
The NAIA Network – the association’s official video streaming home – will broadcast all 15 matches (including 12 pool play matches) live at the 2018 NAIA Men’s Volleyball National Invitational in Des Moines, 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 $29.95 (April 17 - 19) and an all-championship package is available at $39.95. The semifinal and championship matches will also be produced on ESPN3. For more information and to pre-register, CLICK HERE.
- This is the first year that Benedictine – Mesa (Ariz.), Briar Cliff (Iowa) and St. Andrews (N.C.) will qualify for the invitational.
- This will be the second time that Cardinal Stritch (Wis.) and Ottawa (Kan.) have participated in the invitational.
- Grand View, Lourdes (Ohio) and Missouri Baptist have participated in all three of the invitationals.
- Missouri Baptist is the only team in the field that has won an invitational title (2016) and holds the best invitational record at 6-1.
- Host, Grand View, has finished in the semifinals the last two years and holds the second-best invitational record at 4-3.
- The 2017 invitational winner, Park (Mo.), is not returning in the 2018
- Five of the eight teams in the 2018 field also participated in the invitational in 2017: Cardinal Stritch, Grand View, Lourdes, Missouri Baptist
- The No. 1 team, Missouri Baptist enters the invitational with only one blemish on their season record that came at the hands of Grand View.
- Grand View earned the host berth as well as winning the Heart of America Athletic Conference tournament championship, which allowed for a third at-large bid.
- The Unaffiliated – AMC/GPAC/KCAC conference group has the most teams to qualify for the invitational with Briar Cliff, Missouri Baptist
|Qualification||Season Record||Invitational Appearances||Last Time||Titles|
|Benedictine Mesa (Ariz.)||At-Large||17-7||1||0||0|
|Briar Cliff (Iowa)||At-Large||15-4||1||0||0|
|Cardinal Stritch (Wis.)||Conference Winner||23-6||2||2017||0|
|Grand View (Iowa)||Host Bid/Conference Winner||19-4||3||2017||0|
|Lourdes (Ohio)||Conference Winner||21-6||3||2017||0|
|Missouri Baptist||Conference Winner||22-1||3||2017||1 (2016)|
|St. Andrews (N.C.)||Conference Winner||19-6||1||0||0|
Photo Credit: Paul Smith