By Chad Waller, NAIA Director of Communications and Sports Information
Photo courtesy of Steve Paulson
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – (Schedule) (Live Streaming) Five of the six top seeds were victorious on Day One at the NAIA Volleyball National Championship final site, presented by J&L Enterprises and CNOS Foundation. All 24 teams played one match as the National Championship is divided into six pools of four teams each, with every team playing each other in their respective pool.
Top seeds in Pools A, B, C, D, E held strong today. The biggest upset occurred when Grand View (Iowa), the No. 4 seed in Pool F, surprised top-seed Midland (Neb.), 3-1.
Three National Championship newcomers were in action. Wayland Baptist (Texas) was the surprise as the Pioneers defeated Vanguard (Calif.), 3-0, in Pool E. Both Park (Mo.) and Midland fell in their matches as first-time qualifiers.
The Golden State Athletic Conference, who has the most teams represented in the National Championship with five, went 3-2 on Day One with losses by Vanguard (Calif.) and Westmont (Calif.). With four teams representing the Great Plains Athletic Conference, the league recorded a 2-2 mark on Tuesday.
Four of the 12 matches today went the full five sets.
Action continues Wednesday at 1 p.m. CST with pool-play from the Tyson Events Center. Tickets can be purchased at the door or in advance by calling the Tyson Events Center box office at 712-279-4850.
Texas at Brownsville took down host school Briar Cliff, 3-0 (25-20, 25-12, 25-21). The offensive attack was spread out for the Ocelots as four players recorded at least six kills, including eight by Danica Markovic and Vanja Joksic. Briar Cliff could never get much offense going as the Chargers hit -.017 as a team.
Columbia (Mo.), a team that ranks third in NAIA history with 80 postseason wins, defeated Westmont (Calif.), 3-1 (25-17, 21-25, 25-19, 25-16). Paula Rosa posted a team-best 20 kills and added 10 digs. Setter Lydie van Deursen recorded 50 assists.
Concordia (Calif.) started its national title defense with a 3-0 sweep (25-11, 26-24, 25-21) of Trinity Christian (Ill.). Jessica Israel led the Eagles with 16 kills, while Le Mi went for 13 kills and a .750 hitting mark (13 kills, 1 error, 16 attempts). Concordia improves to 21-1 in National Championship action since 2006.
Georgetown used a five-set thriller against Park (Mo.) to win its seventh-straight overall on the year. Park, one of three newcomers in the field, battled back after being down 0-2 but eventually bell by scores of 25-19, 25-22, 10-25, 22-25, 15-11. The Tigers dominated at the net with 11.0 blocks, compared to just 3.0 by Park. Rachel Eubanks was the offensive sparkplug with 15 kills.
The top seeded Eagles of Biola (Calif.) triumphed over Indiana Wesleyan, 3-1 (25-19, 25-17, 26-28, 25-19). Three players reached the 10-kill threshold, led by the 16 off the arm of Chelsee Arnitz and Amy Weststeyn. Gracee Gallarda finished with 52 assists.
In a match that ended Day One after 11 p.m. local time, No. 3-seeded Dordt (Iowa) survived over Lindsey Wilson (Ky.), 3-2 (25-18, 25-20, 21-25, 17-25, 15-7). The Defenders, who had a raucous crown backing them up, took a 2-0 lead before the Blue Raiders took sets three and four. However, Dordt took control of the fifth set with a 7-2 start and never looked back. Brooke Wolterstorff ended her night with 17 kills. Lindsey Wilson's Kailey Moorhead posted a game-high 18 kills.
The team with the most wins on the year, Madonna (Mich.) held off Rocky Mountain (Mont.), 3-2 (22-25, 25-19, 25-27, 25-9, 15-13). Improving to 39-0 overall, the Crusaders achieved offensive balance with five players over 10 kills -- Stacey Catalano posted 17 kills to lead the group. Evia Prieditis, who entered the match No. 3 in the nation in assists per game, tallied 66 tonight.
The Master's (Calif.) used a .395 team hitting percentage to take a 3-2 (25-18, 20-25, 21-25, 25-20, 15-9) victory against MidAmerica Nazarene (Kan.). Sam Dougherty compiled the day's highest kill total with 25 and chipped in 13 digs. For the Pioneers, Linjun Ji ended the day with 21 kills and 13 digs.
Top seed Northwestern (Iowa) halted one of the nation's longest win streak with a 3-0 shutout (25-23, 25-17, 25-17) over Spring Hill (Ala.). Coming into the match, Spring Hill had won 28-straight on the year. However, the play of Karlie Schut (20 kills) and 7.0 team blocks was too much.
Wayland Baptist (Texas) made an impression in its first National Championship with a 3-0 sweep (25-23, 25-17, 25-15) over Vanguard (Calif.). The Pioneer defense held Vanguard to a .038 hitting clip and posted 13.0 team blocks. Shahala Hawkins was a dominant force at the net with nine blocks (one solo and eight assist blocks), to go along with 11 kills.
Oklahoma Baptist moved to 33-5 on the season with a 3-1 win (25-21, 25-22, 22-25, 25-20) against Embry-Riddle (Fla.). Kristin Pressley led the Bison with 17 kills and 22 digs. In a 6-2 system, Aysegul Guney (23 assists) and Rachel Aguilar (22 assists) were the primary assist-makers. Embry-Riddle received 17 kills from Taylor Ruiz and 38 digs from Hannah Gray.
In the biggest upset of the day, the fourth seeded Grand View (Iowa) Vikings outlasted top seed Midland (Neb.), 3-1 (25-16, 15-25, 25-16, 25-18). Kadie Subbert led the offensive attack with 17 kills and swung at a .405 percentage. Chrissy Daggett passed out 38 assists. The Vikings finished with 9.0 total blocks as a team.
For more national championship information, click here.
Records of Seeds
Record of No. 1 seeds: 5-1
Record of No. 2 seeds: 3-3
Record of No. 3 seeds: 3-3
Record of No. 4 seeds: 1-5