KANSAS CITY, Mo. - The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) has officially released the Volleyball National Championship Opening Round matches for the 33rd annual event. The top-11 seeds, in addition to host school Morningside (Iowa), will receive a bye, while the other 24 qualifying teams will play in the Opening Round matches on Nov. 17. All matches will be played at campus sites.
Four of the five newcomers to the National Championship, Bryan (Tenn.), Davenport (Mich.), Ottawa (Kan.) and Viterbo (Wis.), will begin play on Nov. 17. The Master's (Calif.) is the other first-timer and earned a bye. Davenport will travel to Viterbo in the first meeting between the schools in a National Championship.
Defending national champion, Texas at Brownsville, returns to the field and it is one of the 12 teams who received a bye. Besides the one title won by the Scorpions, Columbia (Mo.) is the only other school in the 36-team field to win a championship.
Alongside the five first-timers in the field, Cal State San Marcos, Indiana East, Jamestown (N.D.), Lindsey Wilson (Ky.), Menlo (Calif.), Oklahoma Baptist, St. Thomas-Houston (Texas), Saint Xavier (Ill.) and Xavier (La.), are looking for their first playoff win.
Westmont (Calif.) returns to the tournament for the first time since 2002, ending a nine year drought. That is the longest absence of any qualifiers with at least one appearance.
The Golden State Athletic Conference (GSAC) leads all conferences with five teams in the field. Representing the GSAC are Biola (Calif.), Concordia (Calif.), The Master's, Vanguard (Calif.) and Westmont. The Great Plains Athletic Conference follows with three, while the American Midwest Conference, Association of Independent Institutions, Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference, Mid-South Conference, Midwest Collegiate Conference, Red River Athletic Conference, Southern States Athletic Conference and Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference have two teams apiece in the field.
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The winners of the National Championship Opening Round matches will advance to the Tyson Events Center/Gateway Arena in Sioux City, Iowa, location of the NAIA National Championship Final Site presented by CNOS. Those 12 winners will meet up with Morningside (Iowa) and the 11 top seeds in the National Championship from Nov. 27 - Dec.1.
The following teams have received an opening round bye: Biola, Columbia, Concordia, Embry-Riddle (Fla.), Hastings (Neb.), Indiana Wesleyan, Lee (Tenn.), The Master's, Morningside, Oklahoma Baptist, Texas at Brownsville and Westmont.
The final 24 teams will be placed into six pools and will compete in round-robin pool play Nov. 27 - 29, with the top-two teams from each pool advancing to the single-elimination bracket starting Nov. 30. The championship match will take place on Dec. 1 at 8 p.m. CST in Sioux City.
The final site pool will be determined on Sunday, Nov. 18 and released by 5 p.m. CST
NeuLion, the NAIA's official video-streaming company of 12 select NAIA national championship events, will be broadcasting all single elimination matches of the 2012 Volleyball National Championship. The single-elimination matches starting at 10 a.m. CT on Nov. 30 will be streamed and coverage will continue through the championship match at 8 p.m. CST on Dec. 1. Single day packages can be purchased for $9.95, while an all-tournament pass is available for $29.95. For more information and to pre-register, click here.
For more information on the National Championship, click here.
National Championship Opening Round Pairings
Match 1: Bryan (Tenn.) at Indiana East
Match 2: Xavier (La.) at Georgetown (Ky.)
Match 3: Menlo (Calif.) at College of Idaho
Match 4: Saint Xavier (Ill.) at Madonna (Mich.)
Match 5: St. Francis (Ill.) at Doane (Neb.)
Match 6: Spring Hill (Ala.) at Missouri Baptist
Match 7: St. Thomas-Houston (Texas) at MidAmerica Nazarene (Kan.)
Match 8: Grand View (Iowa) at Lindsey Wilson (Ky.)
Match 9: Cal State San Marcos at Vanguard (Calif.)
Match 10: Davenport (Mich.) at Viterbo (Wis.)
Match 11: Ottawa (Kan.) at Bellevue (Neb.)
Match 12: Jamestown (N.D.) at Carroll (Mont.)