First Round/Quarterfinal Recap
SIOUX CITY, Iowa – Just four teams are left standing in the 2011 NAIA Volleyball National Championship presented by CNOS Foundation after first-round and quarterfinal-round play concluded on Friday. Columbia (Mo.), Concordia (Calif.), Lee (Tenn.) and Texas at Brownsville each punched their tickets to Saturday’s semifinals in Sioux City, Iowa, by navigating through the first day of bracket play.
No. 1 Concordia became the first team to move on to the semifinals as it continued its domination of No. 8 Azusa Pacific (Calif.). The Eagles defeated the Cougars for the third time in as many tries this season, taking Friday’s match, 25-13, 25-20, 25-16. Junior outside hitter Brooke Marino hit a sizzling .393 and tallied 15 kills and 13 digs. Azusa Pacific never could get on a roll and hit only .155 as a team. The Eagles pushed their winning streak to 35 matches and look forward to Saturday’s semifinal date with No. 4 Columbia.
No. 12 College of Idaho eyed another upset Friday evening, but was turned back by the fourth-seeded Cougars. Columbia again came after its opponent with an array of attackers as three Cougars wound up in double-figures in kills, led by senior Vesna Trivunovic’s 15. Middle blocker Torrey Hulsey, who swatted nine kills and added four block assists, played brilliantly again, but was unable to lift the Lady Yotes to a second upset on the day.
Second-seeded Texas at Brownsville continued its near-flawless play in the National Championship, topping No. 7 Embry-Riddle (Fla.), 25-23, 25-14, 25-20. The Scorpions have yet to drop a set in their four matches at the event. Sophomore middle blocker Ana Guerra has effectively stifled the attack from the opposition and posted eight block assists and two block solos in the win over the Eagles. Texas at Brownsville will now focus on its semifinal match with Lee.
The Lady Flames needed five sets to secure their last two pool play contests, but dispatched No. 6 Biola (Calif.) in only three, 26-24, 25-23, 25-16. No. 3 Lee was led by the play of senior outside hitter Arlene Ferreira, who hit .379 and totaled 12 kills and 13 digs. The Lady Flames caught fire in the third set, hitting .364 as a team, and extinguished a Biola team that ran out of gas.
Friday’s action started off with a flurry of five-set matches as eighth-seeded Azusa Pacific and 12th-seeded College of Idaho pulled out tight matches in the first round of single-elimination play. The Cougars, who recorded all three of their wins at the National Championship in five sets, got 24 kills from senior Amy Alkazin and sophomore Jackie Landers. Azusa Pacific defeated No. 9 Lewis-Clark State (Idaho), 29-27, 29-27, 22-25, 26-28, 15-8. College of Idaho upset No. 5 Rocky Mountain (Mont.), 18-25, 25-17, 25-23, 20-25, 15-12, with strong play from its middle blockers. Junior Hulsey and sophomore Liz Myers hit .450 and .333, respectively, in the middle for the Lady Yotes.
In the next double-header of first-round matches, No. 7 Embry-Riddle polished off No. 10 Southern Oregon, 25-17, 25-11, 23-25, 25-11. With the third-set hiccup being the exception, the Eagles dominated the Red Raiders as junior Jordan Holcomb’s 15 kills led a quartet of Eagles with 10-or-more kills. Playing simultaneously on an adjacent court, No. 6 Biola remained unbeaten in National Championship play, for the time being, by eliminating four-time defending champion Fresno Pacific (Calif.). Junior Christine Douglas paced the Eagles with 20 kills while hitting .378.
The first National Championship semifinal match between Concordia and Columbia will be held at 10 a.m. CST on Saturday, followed by the second semifinal match between Texas at Brownsville and Lee at 12:30 p.m. CST. The winners will meet in the championship final at 8 p.m. CST.
Of the four remaining teams, only Columbia, who owns three national titles, has ever won a national championship. Concordia has two second-place finishes, while Lee and Texas at Brownsville have yet to appear in a National Championship final match.
Box Score - Rocky Mountain (Mont.) vs. College of Idaho
Box Score - Azusa Pacific (Calif.) vs. Lewis-Clark State (Idaho)
Box Score - Embry-Riddle (Fla.) vs. Southern Oregon
Box Score - Biola (Calif.) vs. Fresno Pacific (Calif.)
Box Score - Concordia (Calif.) vs. Azusa Pacific (Calif.)
Box Score - Columbia (Mo.) vs. College of Idaho
Box Score - Lee (Tenn.) vs. Biola (Calif.)
Box Score - Texas at Brownsville vs. Embry-Riddle (Fla.)