By Chad Waller, Director of Communications and Sports Information
NAIA Match of the Week
No. 3 Texas at Brownsville (0-0, 0-0 RRAC) at No. 2 Columbia (Mo.) (0-0, 0-0 AMC)
Saturday, Aug. 31 | 5 p.m. CDT | Arena of Southwell Complex | Columbia, Mo. |
Hampton Inn Volleyball Classic
Live Stats | Live Video (Columbia) | Live Audio (Columbia)
• A pair of national semifinalists from a year ago battle Saturday in Columbia, Mo., in the NAIA Match of the Week. No. 2 Columbia (Mo.), the defending national runner-up, hosts No. 3 Texas at Brownsville in the Hampton Inn Volleyball Classic.
• Both teams are competing in their first matches of the year Friday on Day One of the tournament. Columbia finished 42-2 last season, while Texas at Brownsville went 30-2.
• Since 2000, Columbia and Texas at Brownsville rank Nos. 3 and 4 in consecutive rankings in the Top 25. The Cougars have been nationally ranked 73-straight weeks, dating back to the start of the 2007 season. Texas at Brownsville is next with 48-consecutive rankings.
• For Columbia, NAIA All-America Honorable Mention selection Brooke Simpson returns on the outside. She was second on the team last year in kills per game (3.23), points per game (3.57) and third in digs per game (2.45). As a team, the Cougars ranked No. 1 in the NAIA in assists per game (14.1), hitting percentage (0.328) and kills per game (15.3).
• Head coach Melinda Wrye-Washington enters her 17th season at the helm with a 587-80 (.880) mark. That win total is good for seventh on the NAIA active list and No. 20 on the all-time chart.
• Last season, Columbia took its 20th-straight American Midwest Conference (AMC) regular-season title (won or shared). Also, the Cougars won the tournament championship for the sixth time in the last seven years.
• Texas at Brownsville has the luxury of welcoming back three focal points from a 30-2 squad last year. 2012 NAIA First Team All-American Danica Markovic, 2012 NAIA Second Team All-American Ana Guerra and 2012 NAIA All-America Honorable Mention pick Michelle Marques will compete for the Ocelots.
• Last year, the team ranked No. 1 in the NAIA in service aces per game (2.3) and was fifth in overall hitting percentage (.289). Guerra averaged 1.6 blocks per game to rank second nationally.
• The Ocelots ran the table in the Red River Athletic Conference winning the 2012 regular-season and tournament titles.
• Head coach Todd Lowery stands 134-9 (.937) entering his fifth season at Texas at Brownsville. He led his squad to the 2011 national championship title. In his previous four seasons, the Ocelots have averaged 34 wins per year. Prior to Texas at Brownsville, Lowery spent six years at National American (S.D.) where he won the 2002 and 2006 NAIA national championships. In 10 collegiate seasons, Lowery is 345-31 (.918) which puts him No. 12 on the active wins list and his .918 win percentage is No. 1 on the active chart.
• In the last meeting, Columbia out-lasted the Ocelots, 3-2, (22-25, 27-25, 25-16, 27-29, 15-7) in the 2012 NAIA National Championship Semifinals on Dec. 1. Kahoriz Feliz led all players with 19 kills and Brooke Simpson chipped in 14 kills and 21 digs.
• Even though this is not a conference match for Columbia, the Cougars hold the AMC record with 156-straight league wins. Riding the current streak heading into 2013, the Cougars last AMC loss came on Oct. 3, 2002 to Missouri Baptist.
• The NAIA Volleyball Match of the Week is selected by the fans via the official NAIA Facebook page – Play NAIA. Match of the Week voting begins Tuesday evenings with the winner being announced Wednesday at 5 p.m. CDT. Click HERE to visit the Play NAIA Facebook page.
This Week Around NAIA Volleyball
• With a 4-0 start to the year, defending national champion and top-ranked Concordia (Calif.) is riding a 42-match win streak dating back to last year. The Eagles play host to Cornerstone (Mich.), No. 25 Carroll (Mont.) and Westminster (Utah) in the Asics/Wyndham Labor Day Classic this weekend.
• Three top-10 programs will be showcased this weekend at the Hampton Inn Volleyball Classic, hosted by Columbia (Mo.). Host school and No. 2 Columbia is joined by No. 3 Texas at Brownsville and No. 7 Georgetown (Ky.). All three teams will be playing in their first match of the season. In addition, No. 14 Park (Mo.) and No. 24 Grand View (Iowa) will also partcipate.
• No. 13 Midland (Neb.) is off to a sizzling 9-0 record, a school-record start to the year. On Friday, the Warriors travel to take on No. 12 Bellevue (Neb.).
• Wiley (Texas), out of the Red River Athletic Conference, earned an upset over NCAA Division I member Grambling (La.) on Tuesday. The Wildcats won by a 3-0 score (25-14, 25-20, 25-20) thanks to holding Grambling to a .000 hitting percentage (22-22-95).
• Overall, 17 Top 25 match-ups are scheduled this upcoming weekend:
o Friday: No. 25 Carroll (Mont.) at No. 1 Concordia (Calif.)
o Friday: No. 7 Georgetown (Ky.) at No. 2 Columbia (Mo.)
o Friday: No. 3 Texas at Brownsville vs No. 24 Grand View (Iowa)
o Friday: No. 25 Carroll (Mont.) vs No. 4 Biola (Calif.)
o Friday: No. 5 Oklahoma Baptist def. No. 21 Eastern Oregon, 3-0 (25-23, 31-29, 25-22)
o Friday: No. 5 Oklahoma Baptist vs No. 11 Madonna (Mich.)
o Friday: No. 7 Georgetown (Ky.) vs No. 24 Grand View (Iowa)
o Friday: No. 8 MidAmerica Nazarene (Kan.) vs No. 15 Viterbo (Wis.)
o Friday: No. 11 Madonna (Mich.) @ No. 10 Embry-Riddle (Fla.)
o Friday: No. 13 Midland (Neb.) @ No. 12 Bellevue (Neb.)
o Friday: No. 22 Point Park (Pa.) @ No. 17 Indiana Wesleyan
o Saturday: No. 3 Texas at Brownsville @ No. 2 Columbia (Mo.)
o Saturday: No. 14 Park (Mo.) vs No. 3 Texas at Brownsville
o Saturday: No. 5 Oklahoma Baptist @ No. 10 Embry-Riddle (Fla.)
o Saturday: No. 21 Eastern Oregon @ No. 10 Embry-Riddle (Fla.)
o Saturday: No. 13 Midland (Neb.) vs No. 15 Viterbo (Wis.)
o Saturday: No. 25 Carroll (Mont.) @ No. 16 Westmont (Calif.)
• To view the complete volleyball scoreboard, click here.
• The first regular-season Coaches' Top 25 Poll will be announced Sept. 10. In the Preseason Top 25 (Aug. 20), Concordia (Calif.) earned 21-of-22 first-place votes to secure the No. 1 position. National runner-up Columbia (Mo.) landed the second spot, followed by No. 3 Texas at Brownsville, No. 4 Biola (Calif.) and No. 5 Oklahoma Baptist. For the complete poll, click here.
• The first national NAIA Player of the Week will be conducted Sept. 10. For the complete schedule, click here.
For the Record (Through games played Aug. 29)
• Through Thursday, 171 teams have played at least one match. Fifty-five remaining programs will kick off their season in the next week.
• Of teams that have played at least two matches, 27 clubs are undefeated. Seven of those teams are at least 5-0 on the young season.
• No. 13 Midland (Neb.) holds the most victories in the NAIA with a school-best 9-0 record. The Warriors were the first volleyball program to play a varsity match this year. The Warriors upended Great Falls (Mont.), 3-0, on the afternoon of Aug. 16.
• Midland and No. 25 Carroll (Mont.) played out the first Top 25 battle of the season with the Warriors taking a 3-2 match on Aug. 17.
• Heading into this year, Taylor (Ind.) tops all NAIA programs in 33 years of competition with 1,131 victories. Columbia (Mo.) is right behind in second place with 1,120 wins, but accomplished that mark in 12 fewer seasons.
• Overall, six programs have eclipsed the 1,000-win all-time threshold: Taylor, Columbia, Mount Vernon Nazarene (Ohio), Georgetown (Ky.), Briar Cliff (Iowa) and Madonna (Mich.).
• Madonna head coach Jerry Abraham tops all head coaches in career wins with a 1,005-263 (.793) record (heading into 2013). He has coached all 26 years at Madonna, since the inception of the program in 1987. Paul Swanson of Mount Vernon Nazarene (Ohio) is looming behind Abraham with 1,002 victories (heading into 2013).
• Todd Lowery of Texas at Brownsville is No. 1 on the active win percentage chart with a .918 clip (345-31 record). With a .880 mark (587-80 record), Columbia (Mo.) head coach Melinda Wrye-Washington stands second.
• No. 2 Columbia (Mo.) holds the American Midwest Conference (AMC) record with 156-straight league wins. Riding the current streak heading into 2013, the Cougars last AMC loss came on Oct. 3, 2002 to Missouri Baptist. Also, Columbia has won or shared the last 20-straight AMC regular-season championships.
National Statistics (Through games played Aug. 29)
• Alexandra Simpson of Central Baptist (Ark.) leads the NAIA with a .667 hitting percentage in three sets.
• In the kills category, Vickie Flanders of Purdue North Central (Ind.) is No. 1 with 6.0 kills per set. Sam Dougherty of The Master's (Calif.) holds the highwater mark with 26 kills in a single match done against Lewis-Clark State (Idaho) on Aug. 22.
• With 58 assists accomplished twice this year, Bellevue's (Neb.) Beth Walker is No. 1 on the single-match list. Juliana Barros of Park (Mo.) has the highest assists average (13.3).
• Kelsey Deerinwater of Southern Wesleyan (S.C.) leads all players with 50 digs in a single match -- done against Asbury (Ky.) on Aug. 23. Abbie O'Mara of William Woods (Mo.) has averaged 7.8 digs per set, which is tops in the NAIA.
• For a complete look at the NAIA national statistical leaders, click here.
Looking Ahead to the National Championship
• For the sixth-straight year, Sioux City, Iowa, will play host to the 34th annual NAIA National Championship. The final site event will take place Dec. 3 – 7 at the Tyson Events Center.
• The National Championship Opening Round will occur Nov. 23 with 12 matches going on at various campus sites. Those 12 winners will meet up with the top 12 seeds, who earned an Opening Round bye, for a 24-team national championship final site event in Sioux City.
• The 36-team National Championship Opening Round field will be announced Nov. 17.