The matchup between No. 12 College of Idaho and No. 13 Indiana Wesleyan in Pool A was one of only two five-set matches on the day. The Lady Yotes triumphed, 26-28, 25-22, 17-25, 25-23, 15-12. College of Idaho senior outside hitter Ciciley Fox tallied a career-high 24 kills and senior libero Whitney Brigham posted a Day 1 best with 34 digs.
No. 1 Concordia (Calif.) extended its winning streak to 32 matches as the Eagles breezed to a 25-9, 25-19, 25-14 victory over Kansas Wesleyan. Sophomore outside hitter Maddy Ekis led Concordia with 11 kills. The Eagles, now 33-1 overall, prepare for a 1 p.m. match with Indiana Wesleyan on Wednesday.
Host school Morningside (Iowa) provided hope for an upset by taking the first set, 25-23, over No. 3 Lee (Tenn.). But the Lady Flames responded by dominating the second set, 25-9, before winning the final two sets, 25-21, 25-18, to pick up their 31st win of 2011. Sophomore outside hitter Marija Zelenovic swatted a match-high 15 kills.
All three schools in the midst of their first National Championship appearances fell on the event’s first day. Grand View (Iowa), Kansas Wesleyan and MidAmerica Nazarene (Kan.) all dropped their first-ever pool play matches after advancing to the final site with Opening Round victories.
However, No. 22 Grand View pushed No. 6 Azusa Pacific (Calif.) to the limit. The Cougars narrowly avoided the upset with a 25-27, 25-21, 25-17, 19-25, 15-6 win over the Vikings in the final match to wrap up. NAIA’s kills leader Devon Jensen notched a match-high 24 kills for Grand View. Azusa Pacific’s Raechel Jones dished out 26 assists.
Four-time defending champion Fresno Pacific (Calif.) made itself at home once again at the Tyson Events Center by topping Missouri Baptist, 25-22, 25-17, 25-17, for its 96th victory all-time at the National Championship. The Sunbirds were led by a nine-kill effort turned in by sophomore outside hitter Jessie Alcorn. Fresno Pacific will play MidAmerica Nazarene (Kan.) at 8 p.m. on Wednesday before a key Pool B battle with No. 2 Texas at Brownsville at 5:45 p.m. on Thursday.
The Golden State Athletic Conference, which advanced the most teams to the final site with six, went 4-2 on Tuesday. The Cascade Collegiate Conference and the Frontier Conference were the only other leagues to win more than once, as both went 2-0. Members of the Mid-Central College Conference posted a mark of 0-2.
Pool play resumes on Wednesday at 1 p.m. CST at the Tyson Events Center as all 24 squads return to action. The top-two teams from each of the six pools will move on to single-elimination play beginning on Friday.
Pool Play - Day 1
Box Score - Kansas Wesleyan vs. Concordia (Calif.)
Box Score - Columbia (Mo.) vs. Point Loma Nazarene (Calif.)
Box Score - Embry-Riddle (Fla.) vs. Freed-Hardeman (Tenn.)
Box Score - Biola (Calif.) vs. Spring Hill (Ala.)
Box Score - Lewis-Clark State (Idaho) vs. Indiana Tech
Box Score - College of Idaho vs. Indiana Wesleyan
Box Score - Southern Oregon vs. Vanguard (Calif.)
Box Score - Rocky Mountain (Mont.) vs. Taylor (Ind.)
Box Score - Texas at Brownsville vs. MidAmerica Nazarene (Kan.)
Box Score - Lee (Tenn.) vs. Morningside (Iowa)
Box Score - Missouri Baptist vs. Fresno Pacific (Calif.)
Box Score - Azusa Pacific (Calif.) vs. Grand View (Iowa)