By Nikki Sherrill, Communications and Sports Information Intern
SIOUX CITY, Iowa - (Full Schedule | Bracket) With the seeds wiped away and teams now competing in a one-and-done bracket, eight tickets to the quarterfinals of the 2016 NAIA Volleyball National Championship, presented by F&M Bank and Absolute Screen Art, were up for grabs.
Quarterfinal action is slated to begin at 6 p.m. CST with two matches, with the remaining pair of matches to follow at 8:15 p.m. CST eight teams are featured – Columbia (Mo.), Dordt (Iowa), Eastern Oregon, Hastings (Neb.), Lindsey Wilson (Ky.), Midland (Neb.), Park (Mo.) and Westmont (Calif.)
In the top part of the bracket, two Great Plains Athletic Conference teams looked to extend their time in Sioux Ciy, but only one came out on top its match. Dordt matched up with Corban (Ore.), which was making its first appearance in the national championship. Brooke Granstra, a First Team All-Conference player in the GPAC, led the Defenders with 15 kills to go along with nine digs. Dordt managed to earn a .285 hitting percentage to boost the offense into the quarterfinals, ending Corban’s first national championship journey.
Dordt will square off against the top team listed in the bracket as Columbia powered its way to a sweep over another GPAC school in Doane .The Cougars proved to be too much for the Tigers as they won their 15th straight match, 3-1. Sashiko Heredia led all players with a match-high 37 assists. Columbia is now 10-0 at the national championship since it went 0-3 in 2014.
Columbia and Dordt will meet for the first time in quarterfinal history at 6 p.m. CST Friday. The four-time national champion, Columbia, holds the record for most appearances in the national championship with 23 qualifications under its belt.
Last season’s national runner-up, Missouri Baptist, saw its ride cut short as Lindsey Wilson bounced the Spartans, 3-1 in the first round. Lindsey Wilson has only lost one match so far this season, and the Blue Raiders found their game early on in the meeting with Missouri Baptist. After going up 2-0, the Spartans powered through to grab set three, but Lindsey Wilson snagged set four to advance. Eileen Acuna registered a double-double with 13 kills and 16 digs to give the Blue Raiders the advantage on both sides of the net. This is the second-straight season Lindsey Wilson will appear in the quarterfinals.
Still alive in bracket play is Midland who survived a thrilling five-set match against Montana Tech. The Warriors, who have been ranked No. 1 in the NAIA Top 25 Coaches’ Poll three times this season, stole the first two sets against the Orediggers. However, Montana Tech took the next two behind the outstanding play of Jordan Danz and Nicole Peacock who both earned double-doubles. The fifth set was back-and-forth but ultimately the Warriors advanced to the quarterfinals with a 20-18 decisive set.
Lindsey Wilson and Midland will face-off in the quarterfinals Friday, which will be the first meeting for the two squads.
The last four spots were up for grabs in the afternoon as eight programs had a chance to advance. The No. 1 team in the last Top 25 Coaches’ Poll, Westmont, was back in familiar territory as it swept Viterbo (Wis.) on the heels of a strong performance by Taylor Beckman. The Lake Oswego, Ore., native recorded a double-double with 14 kills and 20 digs.
The second match of the 1 p.m. session required more than three as Grand View (Iowa) and Park needed five sets to decide a quarterfinalist. The Pirates jumped out to a 2-0 lead before falling in the next two against the Vikings. Another big performance from Park’s Wendy Romero, who ended the match with 21 kills and 22 digs, helped push the Pirates forward. Romero has earned a double-double in each match during this national championship.
Park is back in the quarterfinals after going 0-3 in last season’s championship. Westmont and the Pirates are scheduled for first-serve at 8:15 p.m. CST Friday.
Eastern Oregon took care of business against Oklahoma City, sweeping the Stars to advance into Friday night. Makayla Lindburg tallied 19 kills alongside her nine digs. Eastern Oregon will compete in its first ever appearance in the national quarterfinals. Eastern Oregon’s quarterfinals opponent also swept its first round match as Hastings earned a 3-0 win over Biola to advance.
First serve for the Mountaineers and Broncos is set for 8:15 p.m. CST.
The NAIA Network – the association’s official video streaming home – will broadcast all 63 matches (including 48 pool-play matches) live at the 2016 NAIA Volleyball National Championship final site in Sioux City, Iowa. The video platform, powered by Stretch Internet, allows users access to live video, statistics, and social interaction on a number of devices, including mobile. Single day passes can be purchased for $9.95, while a pool play pass is $24.95 (Nov. 29 – Dec. 2) and an all-championship package is available at $39.95. For more information and the pre-register, click here.
For more information on the NAIA Volleyball National Championship, click here.