By Chad Waller, NAIA Director of Communications and Sports Information
Photo courtesy of Steve Paulson
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – (Schedule) (Live Streaming) In the final day of pool play, 12 teams punched their ticket to the single-elimination bracket in the 34th annual NAIA Volleyball National Championship final site, presented by J&L Enterprises and CNOS Foundation. Defending national champion Concordia (Calif.) headlines the list of programs. The second-seeded Eagles join the overall No. 1 seed Texas at Brownsville, No. 3 Biola (Calif.) and No. 4 The Master's (Calif.) in action on Friday -- these four teams earn a bye in the first round and advance to the quarterfinals.
The first round of bracket play begins Friday at 10 a.m. CST with action on two courts. Quarterfinals are scheduled for 5:45 and 8 p.m.
Six of the 12 teams are repeat qualifiers to the bracket play from 2012: Biola, Columbia (Mo.), Concordia, Georgetown (Ky.), Texas at Brownsville and The Master's (Calif.). Three newcomers will compete, which include Grand View (Iowa), Midland (Neb.) and Wayland Baptist (Texas).
Other teams to advance to Friday are: Dordt (Iowa), Madonna (Mich.) and Northwestern (Iowa). Dordt is appearing in single-elimination play for the first time since 2005, Madonna is advancing for the first time since 2007 and Northwestern is in it for the first time since 2009.
Tickets can be purchased at the Tyson Events Center door or in advance by calling the box office at 712-279-4850.
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.
Texas at Brownsville will carry a 34-0 record into bracket play after a 3-0 shutout (25-13, 25-16, 25-18) of Columbia. The Ocelots are the only undefeated team remaining in NAIA ranks and notched their 11th-straight shutout today. The win against Columbia was Texas at Brownsville's third this year, all coming in shutout fashion. Ranked No. 1 in hitting percentage in the championship, Texas at Brownsville finished at a .309 clip. Annelies Dokter posted 12 kills for the Ocelots. Trinity Ojo led the Cougars with 13 kills. The Ocelots improve to 17-2 in the national championship since 2010.
In a matchup of 0-2 teams in Pool A, Briar Cliff (Iowa) took a 3-1 decision (25-21, 20-25, 25-16, 25-16) over Westmont (Calif.). Breanna Nogelmeier knocked down a game-high 12 kills. Westmont's Madison Serrano was the team leader with 10 kills and also had 14 digs. Briar Cliff ends its season at 20-17 and Westmont falls to 22-11.
Defending national champion Concordia finished Pool B with a 3-0 mark after defeating Georgetown, 3-0 (25-10, 25-18, 25-14). The Concordia defense held strong limiting Georgetown to a .025 hitting mark. On the offensive side, Madison Ekis went for 13 kills as the only Eagle in double-figures. No Tiger had more than five kills on the day. Since 2006, the Eagles move to 23-1 in pool play and advance out of the pool for the eighth time in the past nine years.
Park (Mo.) finished pool play with its first win after a 3-2 victory (18-25, 25-12, 24-26, 25-21, 15-10) over Trinity Christian (Ill.). Wanessa Siqueira was the offensive star for the Pirates with 23 kills and 10 digs. Setter Juliana Barros had 56 assists. Trinity Christian, who ends it year at 37-10, pushed the match to five sets with a strong defensive effort including 16 team blocks. Park concludes its season at 35-7.
Dordt took a 2-0 lead over Indiana Wesleyan and hung on for a 3-1 win over the Wildcats. Scores were 25-20, 25-19, 20-25, 28-26. Dordt's defense was strong with 76 digs and 7.0 blocks, led by Kayla Broekhuis with 21 digs. Meghan Krausman tallied 14 kills and 10 digs. Rae Brandes ended her night with 16 kills and nine digs for Indiana Wesleyan.
Biola ended its pool play with a perfect 3-0 record after a 3-1 victory (26-28, 25-22, 25-21, 25-18) against Lindsey Wilson (Ky.). The Eagles held an advantage in service aces (9-4) and in total team blocks (11-7). Joclyn Kirton topped the club in kills (16) and setter Gracee Gallarda went for 50 assists and 18 digs. For Lindsey Wilson, Kailey Moorhead posted 14 kills and Kirsten King tallied 17 digs. The Blue Raiders finish their season with a 36-6 record.
Thanks to a 3-2 win (25-21, 26-24, 18-25, 17-25, 15-8) over Rocky Mountain (Mont.), The Master's punched its second-straight ticket to bracket play. Sam Dougherty was a double-double machine for the Mustangs with 27 kills and 18 digs. Rocky Mountain, who ends its season at 25-9, received 20 kills from Ahlea Billis and 13 from Yang Yang.
With a spot in Friday's bracket play on the line, Madonna won the last three sets after digging a 0-1 hole to advance past MidAmerica Nazarene (Kan.) (20-25, 27-25, 25-22, 29-27). The Crusaders rebound after falling last night for the first time all season -- they are now 40-1 overall. Stacey Catalano topped the club with 16 kills and added 13 digs. Amanda Obrycki added 20 digs. Zoraida Heredia posted a match-high 20 kills for the PIoneers. MidAmerica Nazarene heads home with a 27-4 record.
Behind a .304 hitting effort, Wayland Baptist took down Spring Hill (Ala.), 3-1 (25-20, 25-13, 23-25, 25-20). With the win, the Pioneers remain undefeated at 3-0 in the pool. Shahala Hawkins was the offensive star with 25 kills and a .511 hitting mark. The Pioneers,who are playing in their first-ever national championship, received 52 assists from Ashlyn Westerman. Sha Sha Buchanan ended with 18 kills and a .390 hitting clip for Spring Hill.
Northwestern earned a right to play in Friday's First Round for the first time in four year thanks to a 3-1 win (25-18, 25-19, 25-27, 25-16) over Vanguard (Calif.). The Red Raiders duo of Kaitlin Floerchinger (18 kills, 12 digs) and Karlie Schut (15 kills, 13 digs) were too much for Vanguard. The Lions struggled offensively with a .129 hitting percentage. Jessica Chase and Rachael Barker each posted 13 kills apiece for Vanguard, who end their season with a 22-9 mark.
Grand View finished its pool with a perfect 3-0 record, all coming against higher-seeded teams. The fourth-seed Vikings shut out No. 3 seed Embry-Riddle (Fla.), 3-0 (25-19, 25-15, 25-21). Kelly Koutnik, with 11 kills, was key for the team to head to its first-ever single-elimination bracket. Jennifer Beatty was the kills leader for Embry-Riddle with eight kills. Hannah Gray recorded 24 digs in the losing effort.
Playing in its first-ever National Championship, Midland is making a memorable impression amongst the competition. The Warriors survived a five-set match against Oklahoma Baptist by scores of 22-25, 20-25, 25-12, 25-22, 19-17). Defensively, the teams combined for 204 digs. Midland placed six players with 10-or-more digs, led by Megan Farley's 19. Heather Pribyl was the offensive star for the Warriors with 18 kills and nine assist blocks. Kristin Pressley topped Oklahoma Baptist hitters with 17 kills and added 19 digs. Kaitlyn Lucy held the game-high in digs with 27.
For more national championship information, click here.
Records of Seeds
Record of No. 1 seeds: 15-3
Record of No. 2 seeds: 6-12
Record of No. 3 seeds: 9-9
Record of No. 4 seeds: 6-12