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2014 NAIA National Invitational Tournament Field Set

March 31, 2014
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Story by Tyler Price
 
DENVER, Colo. - The field is set for the 2014 NAIA Men’s Volleyball National Invitational Tournament Championship presented by Tachikara, as this season’s field will consist of No. 1 Concordia (Calif.), No. 2 Grand View (Iowa), No. 3 Park (Mo.), No. 4 Clarke (Iowa), Johnson and Wales (Colo.) and Lourdes (Ohio).
 
All six teams will compete for the national championship on the campus of Johnson and Wales University inside the Wildcat Center in Denver, Colo., April, 10-12.
 
The seeding will be played as follows:
No. 1 Concordia
No. 2 Grand View
No. 3 Park
No. 4 Clarke
No. 5 Lourdes
No. 6 Johnson and Wales
 
No. 1 Concordia enters its second-ever and second-straight National Invitational Tournament. The Eagles won the NAIA National Conference Tournament over the weekend by going 4-0 on its home floor.
 
The Eagles enter the tournament with a record of 26-5 and have only lost once to a NAIA opponent this season, that was a three set loss at Hope International back on Mar. 26. CUI won the 2013 NAIA National Invitational Tournament over then-No. 1 Park.
 
CUI will enter the tournament with the NAIA National Conference Player of the Year Harrison Carroll and first year and NAIA National Conference Coach of the Year Shawn Patchell.
 
No. 2 Grand View will appear in its first-ever national tournament after its NAIANorth Conference Tournament championship over the weekend against St. Ambrose.
 
The Vikings enter the tournament under NAIA North Coach of the Year Donan Cruz and feature the NAIA North Libero of the Year, Mitch McPartland and Freshman of the Year Pedro Cardoso. The Vikings are 26-2 on the season with their only losses coming to No. 1 Concordia and No. 3 Park.
 
The Park Pirates will look for its fourth NAIA Men’s Volleyball national championship ring on Apr. 10-12 and this marks the 13th appearance for the Pirates at nationals.
 
Park won the NAIA South Conference Tournament championship on Saturday in three setsover Missouri Valley in Marshall, Mo.
 
The Pirates feature one of the top player’s in the country in NAIA South Freshman and Player of the Year Daniel Arteaga. Third year and NAIA South Coach of the Year Mike Talamantes won the NAIA National Championship in 2012 and led thePirates to a national runner-up finish in 2013. Park enters the tournament with a record of 25-4.
 
No. 4 Clarke will make its second-ever trip to nationals and first since 2010. The Crusaders are 23-5 on the season and fell in the semifinals of the NAIA North Conference Tournament championship to St. Ambrose last week in four sets. The Crusaders earned the only at-large berth into the tournament.
 
Clarke brings with them NAIA North Player of the Year, Tyler Wills. The junior, outside hitter was not only a NAIA North First-Team All-Conference player in 2014 but, a NAIA North Academic All-Conference recipient.
 
No. 5 Lourdes will make its first-ever appearance at the NAIA National Invitational Tournament championship. The Gray Wolves are led by NAIA Great Lakes Coach of the Year Greg Reitz and won the Great Lakes Tournament championship on Saturday in a five-set battle with Cardinal Stritch (25-22, 21-25, 17-25, 25-22, 20-18).
 
Lourdes went 17-5 this season and posted the NAIA Great Lakes Player of the Year injunior, outside hitter, Jo’Lon Clark.
 
Finally, the tournament host school Johnson and Wales University will make its fourth appearance in the national tournament and comes in with a record of 2-18. 
 
NAIA Men’s Volleyball Top 10 Poll, (Mar. 31, 2014)
1. Concordia-Irvine (Calif.)
2. Grand View (Iowa)
3. Park (Mo.)
4. Clarke (Iowa)
5. Missouri Baptist
6. St. Ambrose (Iowa)
7. Missouri Valley
8. Emmanuel (Ga.)
9. Hope International (Calif.)
10. Warner (Fla.)