Volleyball Championship Final Site Preview
KANSAS CITY, Mo. - (Bracket | Schedule) (Press Book - PDF) The 2012 NAIA Volleyball National Championship presented by CNOS Foundation is set to get underway on Nov. 27 in Sioux City, Iowa. The Tyson Events Center/Gateway Arena serves as the venue for the 33rd annual event as round robin pool play begins Nov. 27 and runs through Nov. 29.
The top-two teams from each of the six four-team pools will advance to the single elimination bracket starting Nov. 30. The championship match will be held Dec. 1 at 8 p.m. CST.
Among the 24-squad final site field, five teams have appeared in at least 10 National Championships: Columbia (Mo.) (19), Georgetown (Ky.) (15), Biola (Calif.) (12), Madonna (Mich.) (12) and Lee (Tenn.) (11). Columbia has made 19-consecutive trips, dating back to 1994. Columbia and Texas at Brownsville are the only teams in this year's field to have won a national title.
Top-ranked Concordia (Calif.), who won the Golden State Athletic Conference (GSAC) regular-season championship for the second time in school history, headlines Pool A. The Eagles are the only undefeated team in the field and are on an NAIA best 32 match-winning streak. The 2012 GSAC Player of the Year Brooke Marino is currently injured for the Eagles, who are making their eighth-straight trip to the National Championship. The highest-ranked challenger to Concordia within Pool A is No. 12 Indiana East. The Red Wolves will count on senior setter Lauren Crump, who was the Kentucky Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Player of the Year.
No. 2 Texas at Brownsville, who was placed in Pool B, makes its fifth appearance at the National Championship in program history. The Scorpions were ranked No. 1 for nine-straight weeks during the regular-season until its lone loss Concordia in late October. Westmont (Calif.) returns to the tournament for the first time since 2002, ending a nine year drought. The Warriors are tied with St. Francis (Ill.) for the longest absence of any qualifiers with at least one appearance.
Pool C features No. 3 Columbia, the American Midwest Conference Tournament champion. The Cougars streak of 31-consecutive wins is the second-longest active mark in the nation behind only Concordia's 32-straight victories. The Cougars only loss this season came on Sept. 8 against Texas at Brownsville. Columbia will go head-to-head with No. 10 Oklahoma Baptist on Nov. 29 in Pool C action. The Lady Bison are making its second-straight trip to the national championship; however the Lady Bison are still looking for their first win.
No. 4 Biola (Calif.) will face off with No. 9 Lee (Tenn.) on Nov. 29 in a battle of the top-ranked squads in Pool D. The Eagles are making its 12th trip to the National Championships and have qualified in each of the past six years and holds two runner-up finishes. The Lady Flames are in its fifth-consecutive National Championship after winning the Southern Stats Athletic Tournament.
Fifth-ranked Embry-Riddle (Fla.), who is making its second straight trip to the National Championship, is the highest-ranked team in Pool E. The Eagles Jordan Holcomb became the first player in history for Embry-Riddle to win NAIA Volleyball National Player of the Week. Embry-Riddle looks forward to a Nov. 29 showdown with No. 8 Hastings (Neb.).
Finally, Pool F groups No. 6 The Master's (Calif.) and No. 7 Indiana Wesleyan. The Mustangs, who finished in third place in the GSAC with a 10-4 league mark, are making its first ever national championship appearance. The Wildcats are making its third-straight appearance in the National Championship and hold a record of 2-3.
Besides The Master's, Viterbo (Wis.) is the only other school making its first National Championship appearance.
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' start at 10 a.m. CST on Nov. 30 will be streamed and coverage will continue through the championship match on 8 p.m. CST on Dec. 1. For more information and to pre-register, click here.