Defending Champs Begin 2015 as No. 1 Team
Courtesy of Tyler Price, Assistant Director of Athletics, Baker (Kan.)
BALDWIN CITY, Kan. – Defending NAIA Men’s Volleyball National Invitational Tournament Champion Park (Mo.) will begin the 2015 season ranked No. 1 in the 2015 NAIA Men’s Volleyball Preseason Top 10 Poll, announced on Wednesday.
The Pirates are coming off its fourth NAIA Men’s Volleyball National Championship and its 30-4 record along with AVCA NAIA Men’s and Women’s Volleyball National Coach of the Year in Mike Talamantes. Coach Talamantes also led his 2014 Park women’s volleyball team to a NAIA national championship and perfect 40-0 mark.
Following up Park in the poll is No. 2 ranked Grand View (Iowa). The Vikings are coming off its most successful season in men’s volleyball history by qualifying for its first-ever appearance in the NAIA Men’s Volleyball National Invitational. The Vikings were the No. 2 seed last year and returns the 2014 AVCA NAIA Men’s Volleyball Player of the Year in sophomore outside hitter Pedro Cardoso.
Concordia (Calif.) - 2013 national champion - is ranked No. 3 in this week’s poll. The Eagles finished last season as the national runner-up to Park and have reached the NAIA national championship match in each of its two years as a program.
The No. 4 spot goes to another returning NAIA National Tournament qualifier in Clarke (Iowa). The Crusaders went 24-7 a year ago and served as the No. 4 seed in the national tournament that was held in Denver, Colo.
The 2015 and 2016 NAIA Men’s Volleyball National Invitational Tournament host, Missouri Baptist, is the No. 5 ranked team in the Preseason Poll. The Spartans will host the tournament the next two seasons at the Carl and Deloris Petty Sports and Recreation Complex. Missouri Baptist went 21-8 and 6-2 in the NAIA South Division a year ago, finishing second in the standings.
Sixth-ranked St. Ambrose (Iowa) will begin the 2015 season with a new head coach at the helm, as Catherine Wildner begins her first season as the head coach of the men’s volleyball program. The Bees are coming off a successful season in 2014 with a record of 21-10 and 4-4 mark in the NAIA North.
NAIA National Division squad Hope International (Calif.) comes in at No. 7 this week. The Royals were 15-10 a year ago.
The final 2014 NAIA National Invitational qualifier ranked in the poll is No. 8 Lourdes (Ohio). The Gray Wolves qualified for its first-ever NAIA National Invitational Tournament in 2014 and served as the No. 5 seed. They finished the year with a record of 17-7 and captured the NAIA Great Lakes Conference Tournament Championship over Cardinal Stritch (Wis.).
NAIA South Division squad Missouri Valley is ranked No. 9 this week. The Vikings are coming off of another 20-win season, going 22-12, and posted a 4-4 mark in the NAIA South.
Wrapping up the Preseason Poll is No. 10 Cardinal Stritch. The Gray Wolves captured the 2014 NAIA Great Lakes regular season crown, but just missed out on a trip to Denver, Colo., for the National Invitational in a five set loss to Lourdes in the conference tournament Championship.
2015 NAIA Men’s Volleyball Preseason Top 10 Poll (Jan. 7, 2015)
1. Park (Mo.)
2. Grand View (Iowa)
3. Concordia (Calif.)
4. Clarke (Iowa)
5. Missouri Baptist
6. St. Ambrose (Iowa)
7. Hope International (Calif.)
8. Lourdes (Ohio)
9. Missouri Valley
10. Cardinal Stritch (Wisc.)