By Alan Grosbach, Manager of Communications and Sports Information
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – (Schedule) Twelve teams punched their ticket to the 2014 NAIA Volleyball National Championship, presented by J&L Enterprises, final site with wins today in National Championship Opening Round action. Those programs will join the 11 teams that received a bye based on seeding and host Briar Cliff (Iowa) for the 24-team event in Sioux City, Iowa, from Dec. 2 – 6.
The final site pool play schedule will be announced on Sunday by 5 p.m. CST on www.NAIA.org.
The following teams all received byes to the final site: Biola (Calif.), Briar Cliff, Columbia (Mo.), Concordia (Calif.), Grand View (Iowa), Midland (Neb.), Missouri Baptist, Northwestern (Iowa), Park (Mo.), Rocky Mountain (Mont.), Texas at Brownsville and Viterbo (Wis.). These programs, with the exception of Briar Cliff, were the top 11 teams in the final Tachikara-NAIA Volleyball Coaches’ Top 25 Poll released on Sunday, Nov. 16.
Overall, Opening Round hosts were 11-1 on the day, including six sweeps. Since the Opening Round format was established in 2008, host institutions own a 70-14 (.833) record.
Evangel (Mo.) was the only road team to win today, as the Crusaders downed 2013 semifinalist Wayland Baptist (Texas), 3-0. The victory is the first-ever in national championship for Evangel, which is making its second-ever appearance.
Newcomers Coastal Georgia and Eastern Oregon also made history today with Opening Round wins. The Mariners avenged their only regular-season loss with a 3-1 win against Embry-Riddle (Fla.), while Eastern Oregon downed California Pacific Conference champion Menlo, 3-1.
After today’s results the Cascade Collegiate Conference, American Midwest Conference, Golden State Athletic Conference and Great Plains Athletic Conference are tied for the most teams remaining in the championship with three each.
NAIANetwork.com, the NAIA’s official video-streaming home, will broadcast the first 46 matches of the national championship. The video platform, powered by Stretch Internet, will include live statistics, social media interaction and be available on mobile-friendly devices. Single-championship packages can be purchased for $20, while an all-season pass (up to 17 championships during the 2014-15 season) is available for $75. For more information and to pre-register, click here.
For more information on the 2014 NAIA Volleyball National Championship Opening Round and National Championship final site, click here.