By Nikki Sherrill, Athletic Communications and Media Intern
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The NAIA Men's Volleyball National Invitational will have a new home next season as Grand View University in Des Moines, Iowa will be the host for the next two events. The 2018 event is slated for April 18 – 21 while 2019 will see the competition run from April 17 – 20. The Charles S. Johnson Wellness Center on Grand View's campus will serve as the venue for all matches.
This will be the first time the National Invitational will be held in the state of Iowa. For the past three seasons, Missouri Baptist possessed host duties for the event.
“I am excited to announce that Grand View University will be the home for our NAIA Men's Volleyball National Invitational for the next two seasons. We are excited to see the sport growing and are thrilled Grand View and its staff will be able to help us expand it even more,” said NAIA President and CEO Jim Carr. “This growing and popular sport within the Association will show fans the first-class skill these student-athletes display on the court. Des Moines will be a great atmosphere for our student-athletes to compete in.”
In 2017, Grand View ended the season as the national runner-up after earning the No. 1 seed in the Invitational. The Vikings fell in the final match to Park (Mo.) 3-0. Grand View is led by the 2017 AVCA-NAIA Coach of the Year in Donan Cruz.
“We are thrilled to be hosting the 2018 and 2019 Men's volleyball National Tournament,” said Grand View coach Donan Cruz. “Men's Volleyball is on the rise in the NAIA and we want to help grow the game by hosting a great National tournament. We look forward to incorporating new ideas to enhance the overall tournament experience for both our student-athletes and all our spectators. One of our main goals as the tournament host will be to showcase how athletic and exciting our sport is and host a summit for all prospective institutions interested in the idea of adding men's volleyball to their campus community."
Grand View will provide live video streaming for all 11 matches of the event on NAIANetwork.com. Both of the national semifinal games and the National Championship match will be viewed world wide on the Watch ESPN App and ESPN 3 for the third-straight year.
“Hosting the men's volleyball championships will be a win-win for the metro area. Of course, we will expose players and fans from all around the country (and world) to our great city,” said Grand View President Kent Henning. “Equally important, we will be exposing our community to a fun and exciting sport. Today, Iowa's youth can only compete in this sport at the club level. By bringing elite athletes and teams in this entertaining sport to our community, we hope we can help the sport grow, both in popularity and participation.”
Men's Volleyball is entering its third year as an Invitational Sport in the NAIA with 38 varsity programs. In order to be considered for full NAIA Championship Sport status, a minimum of 40 varsity institutions would be required.
For more information on NAIA Men's Volleyball, click here.