Head coach Chris Keife's Cougars assured themselves of a berth in bracket play by winning in five sets for the second-straight day in Pool F action. Standout Kelsey Pritchard's 15 kills spurred No. 18 Taylor (Ind.) in its bid for an upset, but battle-tested Azusa Pacific of the Golden State Athletic Conference (GSAC) prevailed, 25-17, 21-25, 25-17, 21-25, 15-7. The Cougars were the sharper-hitting team, gaining a .335 to .207 advantage in hitting percentage. Taylor dropped to 0-2 in pool play.
Pool C featured a furious rally by No. 3 Lee (Tenn.), who avoided being upset by No. 14 Vanguard (Calif.) by surging back from an 0-2 hole. Despite Jamie Heegan's 29 kills and 14 digs, the Lions were unable to claim any of the final three sets as they crumbled, 25-23, 25-22, 20-25, 20-25, 11-15. Lee moved to 2-0 on the strength of 23 kills and 20 digs by Arlene Ferreira, while Vanguard fell to 0-2.
No. 2 Texas at Brownsville made quick work of No. 18 Missouri Baptist, 25-17, 25-18, 27-25, as Scorpion head coach Todd Lowery picked up his 100th win in just three seasons in Brownsville. Texas at Brownsville improved its Pool B mark to 2-0 as it proceeds on a collision course with four-time defending champion Fresno Pacific at 5:45 p.m. on Thursday. The 11th-ranked Sunbirds, also 2-0 in Pool B after a Wednesday victory over MidAmerica Nazarene (Kan.), have eliminated the Scorpions in each of Texas at Brownsville's last three appearances at the National Championship.
No. 1 Concordia (Calif.) got a stiff test from No. 13 Indiana Wesleyan in the first trio of simultaneous matches on Day 2. The Wildcats benefited from 10 service errors from the top-ranked Eagles and evened the match at one-set apiece early on. But Brooke Marino, one of the nation's top performers, helped Concordia re-focus on the way to a 25-19, 19-25, 25-16, 25-20 victory. Marino tallied 20 kills and 25 digs as the Eagles extended their winning streak to 33. They will take on No. 7 College of Idaho at 3:15 p.m. on Thursday in their final match in Pool A.
Fourth-ranked Embry-Riddle (Fla.) and fifth-ranked Columbia (Mo.) also lifted their pool play records to 2-0. Embry-Riddle took care of No. 16 Spring Hill (Ala.), 22-25, 25-19, 25-21, 25-16, powered by Jordan Holcomb's 22 kills. Columbia posted a blistering .363 hitting percentage in a swift 25-14, 25-21, 25-20 decision over No. 17 Indiana Tech.
After two days of pool play, 12 teams sport 2-0 records and have clinched berths in the 12-team single-elimination bracket that gets started on Friday. The other 12 squads find themselves at 0-2 and will not advance past the conclusion of Thursday's pool play action. The 12 schools that will move on to bracket play are: Azusa Pacific, No. 9 Biola (Calif.), College of Idaho, Columbia, Concordia, Embry-Riddle, Fresno Pacific, Lee, No. 8 Lewis-Clark State, No. 7 Rocky Mountain, No. 10 Southern Oregon and Texas at Brownsville.
The GSAC, which advanced the most teams to the final site with six, went 4-2 for the second-straight day. The Cascade Collegiate Conference and the Frontier Conference also carried over identical records from the previous day as both leagues went 2-0. Members of the Mid-Central College Conference plummeted to 0-4 in pool play matches.
Pool play resumes on Thursday at 1 p.m. CST at the Tyson Events Center in Sioux City, Iowa, as all 24 squads return to action. Seeding for the 12-team bracket will be announced following the end of play on Thursday.
Pool Play - Day 2
Box Score - Concordia (Calif.) vs. Indiana Wesleyan
Box Score - Embry-Riddle (Fla.) vs. Spring Hill (Ala.)
Box Score - Columbia (Mo.) vs. Indiana Tech
Box Score - Lewis-Clark State (Idaho) vs. Point Loma Nazarene (Calif.)
Box Score - Biola (Calif.) vs. Freed-Hardeman (Tenn.)
Box Score - College of Idaho vs. Kansas Wesleyan
Box Score - Lee (Tenn.) vs. Vanguard (Calif.)
Box Score - Texas at Brownsville vs. Missouri Baptist
Box Score - Azusa Pacific (Calif.) vs. Taylor (Ind.)
Box Score - Southern Oregon vs. Morningside (Iowa)
Box Score - Rocky Mountain (Mont.) vs. Grand View (Iowa)
Box Score - Fresno Pacific (Calif.) vs. MidAmerica Nazarene (Kan.)