By Nikki Sherrill, Athletic Communications and Media Intern
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – (Bracket | Schedule & Results) The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics has officially announced the teams and bracket pairings for the 2017 NAIA Men’s Volleyball National Invitational. The eight-team event will get underway with two play-in matches on Wednesday, April 19.
The winners of the two play-in matches will advance into pool play with two pools of three teams. Pool play will begin Thursday morning and end Friday afternoon. The national semifinals will take place Friday evening and the National Invitational final is slotted for a 6 p.m. CDT start on ESPN3 and NAIANetwork.org.
This year’s field includes five automatic qualifiers and three at-large bids. The automatic berths were determined by conference/group tournaments. Those five tournament winners were Grand View (Iowa), Warner (Fla.), Missouri Baptist, Cardinal Stritch (Wis.) and Lourdes (Ohio). The three remaining at-large bids – Park (Mo.), Ottawa (Kan.) and Missouri Valley – were decided based on the final regular-season Coaches’ Top 10 Poll from April 9. For the complete final rating, click here.
Men’s Volleyball is in the second year of “Invitational Sport” status, which means that at least 25 institutions currently sponsor men’s volleyball at an intercollegiate varsity level. After the completion of the NAIA National Invitational, the sport will be reviewed by the National Administrative Council (NAC), which governs the NAIA sport status. If approved at that point by the NAC and if the sport meets a minimum of 40 institutions sponsoring the sport at an intercollegiate varsity level, then the sport of Men’s Volleyball would become a NAIA National Championship sport beginning with the 2017-18 season.
The NAIA Network – the association’s official video streaming home – will broadcast all eight matches (including two play-in matches) live at the 2017 NAIA Men’s Volleyball National Invitational in St. Louis, Mo. The video platform, powered by Stretch Internet, allows users access to live video, statistics, and social interaction on a number of devices, including mobile. For more information and the pre-register, click here. The semifinals and final matches will be simulcast on ESPN3 as well.
2017 NAIA Men’s Volleyball National Invitational Qualifiers
|Cardinal Stritch (Wis.)||Chicagoland – Tournament Champion||27-7|
|Grand View (Iowa)||Heart – Tournament Champion||22-3|
|Lourdes (Ohio)||Unaffiliated Cal Pac/Golden State Tournament Champion||19-7|
|Missouri Baptist||Unaffiliated AMC/Independent Tournament Champion||25-2|
|Missouri Valley||At-Large 3||17-12|
|Ottawa (Kan.)||At-Large 2||25-6|
|Park (Mo.)||At-Large 1||23-4|
|Warner (Fla.)||Unaffiliated AAC/Mid-South Tournament Champion||23-4|
Play - In Schedule
Wednesday, April 19 | St. Louis, Mo.
Match 1 – Ottawa (Kan.) vs. Missouri Valley
Match 2 – Lourdes (Ohio) vs. Cardinal Stritch (Wis.)
For more information on the 2017 NAIA Men’s Volleyball Invitational, click here.