January 06, 2014
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BALDWIN CITY, Kan. – After winning the NAIA Men’s Volleyball National Invitational Tournament championship in Denver, Colo., last season in just its first year competing at the NAIA level, Concordia (Calif.) comes into the 2014 season ranked No. 1 in the 2014 NAIA Men’s Volleyball Preseason Top 10 Coaches' poll.
The Eagles went 25-7 a year ago and defeated then-No. 1 Park (Mo.) in straight sets to win the national crown.
They return AVCA-NAIA Player of the Year Naseri Tumanuvao and NAIA National Tournament MVP Dillon Auxier in 2014 and will compete with first year head coach Shawn Patchell.
NAIA national runner-up Park University enters 2014 as the No. 2 squad in the country. The Pirates went 27-2 last season and 9-1 in conference play. Theyreturn AVCA-NAIA All-American setter Rob Cordero along with NAIA National Tournament selection Murilo Pereira.
The No. 3 spot goes to Missouri Baptist University. The Spartans advanced all the way to the NAIA National Tournament semifinals a year ago and posted an 18-8 overall record.
In 2014, they return a wealth of players, as two-time NAIA All-American setter Robert Esser is back for head coach John Yehling along with Clayton Baker, Kevin Knight and Jodan Pinto.
GrandView University comes in at No. 4. The Vikings were one match away from thenational tournament last season, as they fell to No. 1 Park in the championship of the MAMVIC West conference tournament.
Hope International is the No. 5 team in this week’s poll. The Royals return AVCA-NAIA All-American Dominic Blonski in 2014, on a team that posted a 17-12 record in 2013.
St. Ambrose will enter the 2014 season as the No. 6 ranked team in the NAIA. SAU was also a 2013 NAIA National Invitational tournament team. The Fighting Bees went 20-11 last season and returns all-conference performers George Langheld and David Suwada.
The No. 7 team in the preseason poll is Warner University. The Royals advanced to theNAIA National Invitational Tournament semifinals in 2013 and returns Christian Carter and Reggie Montalvo from that squad.
Cardinal Stritch will enter this season as the No. 8 ranked team in the country, as they return three all-conference players, Patrick Ronan, Noah Mader and Brian Hoffman from a team that went 23-13 in 2013.
Rounding out the Top 10 is No. 9 Missouri Valley and No. 10 Clarke University. Mo Valley went 21-10 last season and 5-5 in conference play. They return MAMVIC West Conference Newcomer of the Year Jacob Haar and All-Conference returner Peterson Silva.
Clarke will begin the season under new head coach Dan Mathews and returns AVCA-NAIA All-American Tyler Wills from a team that went 20-10 last season.
The first regular season poll of 2014 will be announced on Monday, Jan. 20.
2014 NAIA Men’s Volleyball Preseason Top 10 Poll (Jan. 6, 2014)
1. Concordia (Calif.)
2. Park (Mo.)
3. Missouri Baptist
4. Grand View (Iowa)
5. Hope International (Calif.)
6. St. Ambrose (Iowa)
7. Warner (Fla.)
8. Cardinal Stritch (Wis.)
9. Missouri Valley
10. Clarke (Iowa)