By Alan Grosbach, Manager of Communications and Sports Information
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Defending national champion Park (Mo.) opens the 2015 season as the No. 1 team in the Tachikara-NAIA Volleyball Coaches’ Preseason Top 25 Poll, the national office announced Tuesday. The Pirates claim the top-spot for the second-straight edition after receiving all 16 first-place votes and 436 points.
Last season, Park made program history with a 3-0 sweep against then-defending champion Texas at Brownsville to win its first-ever national title. The Pirates ended the campaign with a 40-0 record – the fourth team in the last six years to conclude the season with an unblemished record – including a 17-0 record against Top 25 teams.
The Pirates return a talented squad, highlighted by Tachikara-NAIA Volleyball National Championship Most Valuable Player Wendy Romero. The senior outside hitter, who also was the American Midwest Conference Player of the Year and a NAIA First Team All-American, ended 2014 with a .352 hitting percentage, 79 service aces and a 4.5 kills per set average.
Biola (Calif.) checks in at No. 2 with 422 points. The Eagles have reached at least the quarterfinals of the national championship each of the last four seasons. With the ranking, Biola has now been listed among the top 10 nationally for 41-consecutive polls.
Rounding out the top five are No. 3 Missouri Baptist (397 points), No. 4 Viterbo (Wis.) (395 points) and No. 5 Rocky Mountain (Mont.) (389 points). All three programs advanced out of pool play at last year’s championship.
Three newcomers – No. 22 Hastings (Neb.), No. 23 Lewis-Clark State (Idaho) and No. 25 Dordt (Iowa) – join the Top 25 in this edition. The two squads out of the Great Plains Athletic Conference (GPAC) were both ranked at some point in 2014, while Lewis-Clark State garners a Top 25 mention for the first time since Oct. 16, 2012.
Twelve of the 21 conferences are represented throughout the Top 25, led by four teams from the GPAC – No. 9 Midland (Neb.), No. 12 Northwestern, Hastings and Dordt.
The poll was voted upon by a panel of head coaches representing each of the conferences and the Association of Independent Institutions. The first regular-season Top 25 will be announced on Sept. 8.
For the complete ratings calendar, click here.
Notes: (All information as of 2000) Defending national champion Park (Mo.) takes the top spot for the second time in program history … Park’s No. 1 ranking in the 2014 Postseason Poll made the Pirates the 10th team to hold the No. 1 ranking since 2000 … The Pirates own the NAIA’s longest active winning streak at 41 matches … Former member Fresno Pacific (Calif.) has the most No. 1 appearances with 70, followed by former member National American (S.D.) with 33 … No. 2 Biola (Calif.), which has been ranked among the top 10 in 41-consecutive polls, holds the longest active streak in the Top 25 at 112-straight … No. 10 Columbia (Mo.) is next with 100-consecutive mentions … Thirty-three teams made a Top 25 appearance in 2014 …Biola, Concordia (Calif.), Northwestern (Iowa) and Texas at Brownsville ranked among the top 10 in every edition last season … There has only been one program that has been able to maintain the No. 1 ranking for an entire season, with Fresno Pacific accomplishing the feat in 2004, 2008 and 2009.2015 Tachikara-NAIA Volleyball Coaches’ Preseason Top 25 Poll (Aug. 18)
|RANK||LAST WEEK^||SCHOOL (1ST PLACE VOTES)||2014 Record||TOTAL POINTS|
|1||1||Park (Mo.) (16)||40-0||436|
|5||5||Rocky Mountain (Mont.)||32-3||389|
|7||12||Lindsey Wilson (Ky.)||35-5||338|
|14||14||College of Idaho||22-12||249|
|19||25||Wayland Baptist (Texas)||23-10||175|
|21||21||Grand View (Iowa)||26-16||159|
|23||NR||Lewis-Clark State (Idaho)||19-9||103|
Others receiving votes: Kansas Wesleyan 76; St. Catharine (Ky.) 52; MidAmerica Nazarene (Kan.) 48; Point Park (Pa.) 46; Cornerstone (Mich.) 39; St. Thomas (Fla.) 34; The Master’s (Calif.) 24; Carroll (Mont.) 18; Bryan (Tenn.) 16; Ottawa (Kan.) 11; Mobile (Ala.) 8; Concordia (Neb.) 8; Taylor (Ind.) 5; Ashford (Iowa) 4; Northwest (Wash.) 4; Westmont (Calif.) 4; Cardinal Stritch (Wis.) 4; Graceland (Iowa) 4.
^ Based off 2014 Postseason Coaches’ Poll (Dec. 10, 2014)