By Chad Waller, NAIA Director of Communications and Sports Information
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – (Schedule) (Live Streaming) The 34th edition of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) Volleyball National Championship final site, presented by J&L Enterprises and CNOS Foundation will welcome 24 teams to the Tyson Events Center from Dec. 3 - 7. The City of Sioux City, Iowa, is hosting for the sixth-straight time. Tickets can be purchased at the door or in advance by calling the Tyson Events Center box office at 712-279-4850.
Action begins at 1 p.m. CST on Tuesday with pool play format. There are six pools with four teams each with each squad playing three matches from Tuesday through Thursday. The top two teams from each pool will advance to the single-elimination bracket starting on Friday. The semifinals are scheduled for Saturday at 11 a.m. with the championship finals match to follow at 7 p.m.
NeuLion, the NAIA’s official video-streaming partner, will be broadcasting all 47 matches of the National Championship. For the first time ever, all pool play matches from Dec. 3 - 5, in addition to bracket play through the championship final Dec. 7 will be streamed live. Single day packages can be purchased for $9.95, while an all-tournament pass is available for $24.95. For more information and to pre-register, click here.
The 24-team field is comprised of the 12 National Championship Opening Round winners decided on Nov. 23, the top 11 teams ranked in the final NAIA Volleyball Coaches' Top 25 Poll released on Nov. 17, and the final site host team, Briar Cliff (Iowa).
Defending national champion Concordia (Calif.), along with Biola (Calif.), Briar Cliff, Columbia (Mo.), Lindsey Wilson (Ky.), Madonna (Mich.), MidAmerica Nazarene (Kan.), Midland (Neb.), Northwestern (Iowa), Oklahoma Baptist, Texas at Brownsville and Vanguard (Calif.) all earned Opening Round byes.
Opening Round champions from Nov. 23 include: Dordt (Iowa), Embry-Riddle (Fla.), Georgetown (Ky.), Grand View (Iowa), Indiana Wesleyan, The Master's (Calif.), Park (Mo.), Rocky Mountain (Mont.), Spring Hill (Ala.), Trinity Christian (Ill.), Wayland Baptist (Texas) and Westmont (Calif.).
Concordia (23-2), champions of the Golden State Athletic Conference (GSAC), is making its eighth-straight National Championship and ninth overall. Since 2006, the Eagles are 20-1 in pool play action and they have advanced out of pool play in seven of the past eight years. Concordia is trying to become the sixth different team to win back-to-back titles. The Eagles are matched up in Pool B with Georgetown, Park and Trinity Christian.
2012 NAIA National Champion Texas at Brownsville brings an undefeated 31-0 mark to Sioux City. The Ocelots, who are 20-6 in five previous championship appearances, have dominated their opponents this year to the tune of eight-straight shutouts. Overall, Texas at Brownsville has recorded 27 shutouts in 31 matches and just one match this year has gone five games. The Ocelots are joined in Pool A by Columbia, Westmont and Briar Cliff.
Columbia is the most decorated in this year's field with 79 wins (third all-time) and 20 appearances (second all-time). The Cougars (28-9) need three more postseason wins of 82 to tie former member Brigham Young-Hawaii's mark for second place in NAIA history. Columbia has faced two of its three pool-play opponents earlier this year -- 0-2 against Texas at Brownsville and defeated Briar Cliff, 3-0, on Nov. 1.
Madonna (38-0) joins Texas at Brownsville as the only NAIA teams with an undefeated season record. The Crusaders stand 27-25 in the National Championship in 12 previous trips. Champions of the Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference regular season, Madonna is paired with MidAmerica Nazarene, The Master's and Rocky Mountain in Pool D.
Biola brings in the second-most championship wins (46) in this year's field behind Columbia's 79. Overall, eight programs have 20-plus playoff wins. Conversely, of teams making at least their second trip, Briar Cliff is the only program searching for championship win No. 1 (0-3).
Three rookies will be making their first-ever National Championship trip: Midland, Park and Wayland Baptist. Twelve other programs are relative newcomers having five-or-fewer championship trips.
The GSAC, with Biola, Concordia, The Master's, Vanguard and Westmont sends the most conference schools with five. The Great Plains Athletic Conference claims four national championship-playing programs: Briar Cliff, Dordt, Midland and Northwestern.
For more national championship information, click here.