Texas at Brownsville made its climb up the rankings by way of an impressive early season run. The Scorpions have already blazed through four squads ranked in the preseason poll, including a four-set showdown over then No. 2 Columbia (Mo.) on the way to an 8-0 start. Texas at Brownsville won all four of its matches at the Quality Inn Classic Sept. held 2 - 3, led by the event's MVP and Tachikara-NAIA Volleyball Player of the Week Danica Markovic.
"It's great to be recognized as the No. 1 team in the country," Scorpion head coach Todd Lowery said. "There seems to be a great deal of parity this year in NAIA volleyball and it should make for an exciting season."
Fresno Pacific (Calif.), ranked No. 1 in the preseason poll, dropped its first three matches of the season before rallying to win its next three. However, the early-season struggles led to a free-fall back to No. 24 in the poll for the Sunbirds.
Lee (Tenn.) picked up the remaining three first-place votes and crept up to No. 2 after earning 649 total points. Columbia, who received 648 points, stepped back one spot after falling to Texas at Brownsville. Meanwhile, fourth-ranked Azusa Pacific (Calif.) picked up 626 points and fifth-ranked Embry-Riddle (Fla.) tallied 574 points as the two squads jumped into the top-five after starting their seasons without a blemish.
Indiana Tech made the largest advancement within the Top 25, going from 17th to 10th. Five schools - No. 17 Vanguard (Calif.), No. 19 Madonna (Mich.), No. 21 Viterbo (Wis.), No. 22 Indiana East and No. 25 Saint Xavier (Ill.) - entered the poll after going unranked in the preseason. The Golden State Athletic Conference was one again the most represented league with six of its members earning Top 25 status.
The poll was voted upon by a panel of head coaches representing each of the conferences and Independents. The next regular season poll will be announced on Sept. 13.
Notes: (all information as of 2000) No. 1 Texas at Brownsville will meet No. 2 Lee (Tenn.) at the Lee Invitational on Sept. 9, marking the first regular-season battle between the NAIA's top-two volleyball teams since No. 1 Fresno Pacific defeated No. 2 California Baptist, 3-2, on Nov. 7, 2009 ... Fresno Pacific narrowly snuck into the Top 25 to remain as the only school to be ranked in all 131 polls ... Azusa Pacific ranks second with the most consecutive Top-25 appearances with 73 ... Northwestern (Iowa) dropped out of the poll and broke a string of 56-straight Top 25 nods ... Texas at Brownsville is ranked No. 1 for the first time in school history.
||SCHOOL (1ST PLACE VOTES)||2011 RECORD||TOTAL POINTS|
|1||4||Texas at Brownsville (21)||8-0||682|
|2||3||Lee (Tenn.) (3)||1-0||649|
|4||6||Azusa Pacific (Calif.)||11-0||626|
|6||12||Point Loma Nazarene (Calif.)||4-0||557|
|7||7||Lewis-Clark State (Idaho)||6-2||555|
|8||10||College of Idaho||5-1||511|
|14||18||Rocky Mountain (Mont.)||11-2||414|
|24||1||Fresno Pacific (Calif.)||3-3||147|
|25||RV||Saint Xavier (Ill.)||8-1||146|
Others receiving votes: Grand View (Iowa) 118; Cal State San Marcos 107; Olivet Nazarene (Ill.) 94; Great Falls (Mont.) 76; Lubbock Christian (Texas) 54; Concordia (Ore.) 40; SCAD Savannah (Ga.) 32; Point Park (Pa.) 22; Carroll (Mont.) 18; Freed-Hardeman (Tenn.) 18; Evangel (Mo.) 13; Morningside (Iowa) 8; Jamestown (N.D.) 6; Spring Hill (Ala.) 4; Asbury (Ky.) 1; Daemen (N.Y.) 1; Trinity Christian (Ill.) 1; MidAmerica Nazarene (Kan.) 1; Grace (Ind.) 1; Dordt (Iowa) 1; Northwestern (Iowa) 1.