By: Tyler Price, Baker (Kan.) Sports Information Director
DENVER, Colo. - The 2014 NAIA Men’s Volleyball National Invitational Tournament Championship presented by Tachikara will include two teams making their first-ever appearance - No. 2 Grand View (Iowa) and No. 5 Lourdes (Ohio), two teams seeking another national title for its resume - No. 1 Concordia-Irvine (Calif.) and No. 3 Park (Mo.) and two squads that are seeking its first-ever national title – No. 4 Clarke (Iowa) and No. 6 Johnson and Wales (Colo.)
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:
#1 -- Concordia University-Irvine (Irvine, Calif.)
#3 -- Park University (Parkville, Mo.)
#6 -- Johnson & Wales University (Denver, Colo.)
#2 -- Grand View University (Des Moines, Iowa)
#4 -- Clarke University (Dubuque, Iowa)
#5 -- Lourdes University (Sylvania, Ohio)
Thursday, April 10 (Pool Play) (All times Mountain Standard Time (MST))
SESSION 1: 10:00 AM -- Match #1 -- #2 Grand View vs. #5 Lourdes
12:30 PM -- Match #2 -- #1 Concordia-Irvine vs. #3 Park
SESSION 2: 4:00 PM -- Match #3 -- #2 Grand View vs. #4 Clarke
6:30 PM -- Match #4 -- #1 Concordia-Irvine vs. #6 Johnson & Wales
Friday, April 11 (Pool Play & Semifinals)
SESSION 3: 10:00 AM -- Match #5 -- #4 Clarke vs. #5 Lourdes
12:30 PM -- Match #6 -- #3 Park vs. #6 Johnson & Wales
SESSION 4: 4:00 PM -- Semifinal #1 -- Pool A Winner vs. Pool B Second Place
6:30 PM -- Semifinal #2 -- Pool B Winner vs. Pool A Second Place
Saturday, April 12 (Championship)
SESSION 5: 6:00 PM--Championship--Winner of Semifinal #1 vs. Winner of Semifinal #2
No. 1 Concordia enters its second-ever and second-straight National Invitational Tournament. The Eagles won the NAIA National Conference Tournament by going 4-0 on its home floor.
The Eagles enter the tournament with a record of 26-6 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. 2Grand View will appear in its first-ever national tournament after its NAIANorth Conference Tournament championship on Mar. 29 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, Mar. 29 in three sets over 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. 4Clarke 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 two week’s ago 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. 5Lourdes 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 Mar. 29 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.
For a look at the tournament home page, click here.
Fans can follow all the action via live stats, by clicking here.
Live video will also be available for all six matches, by clicking here.