Defending Champion Missouri Baptist to Begin 2016 Ranked No. 1
Courtesy of Tyler Price, Assistant Director of Athletics, Baker (Kan.)
BALDWIN CITY, Kan. – After capturing its first-ever NAIA Men’s Volleyball National Invitational Tournament Championship last April, the Missouri Baptist University men’s volleyball team will begin the 2016 season ranked No. 1 in the 2016 NAIA Men’s Volleyball Preseason Top 10 poll.
The Spartans finished 2015 with a record of 30-8 and defeated St. Ambrose in three sets to capture the national title in front of its home crowd in St. Louis, Missouri.
MBU loses only one starter from last year’s team and returns National Tournament MVP, setter Kyle Foley.
No. 2 Grand View (Iowa) advanced to the national semifinals a year ago and returns a majority of its team from a year ago that went 20-9. The Vikings will return NAIA National Tournament Invitational All-Tournament selection Pedro Cardoso for his junior campaign.
2015 NAIA national runner-up St. Ambrose (Iowa) enters the new season ranked No. 3 after a season in which they posted a record of 29-11 in head coach Catherine Wildner’s first season.
Four-time NAIA men’s volleyball national champion Park University (Mo.) enters 2016 as the No. 4 ranked team. The Pirates advanced to the national semifinals in 2015 and went 26-6 under head coach Mike Talamantes. Park returns key outside hitters Daniel Arteaga and Ramon Cora this season.
No. 5 ranked Warner University (Fla.) went 17-9 last season and returns one of the top libero’s in the country in Hui Ding and its starting setter Martin Krueger.
No. 6 Cardinal Stritch (Wisc.) advanced to the NAIA National Invitational a year ago and ended the season with a record of 21-13. They return last season’s Great Lakes Conference Tournament MVP Patrick Ronan for his senior season.
No. 7 Lourdes (Ohio) returns to the Top 10 after a 20-9 season a year ago. The Gray Wolves fell to Cardinal Stritch in the conference tournament championship last season, after a perfect 14-0 regular season run through the conference.
No. 8 Hope International (Calif.), No. 9 Clarke (Iowa) and No. 10 Robert Morris (Ill.) round out the final three spots in the Preseason Top 10 poll.
The first regular season Top 10 poll of 2016 will be released on Monday, Jan. 25, along with the first NAIA Player, Setter and Libero of the Week awards.
2016 NAIA Preseason Top 10 Poll | January 4, 2016
1. Missouri Baptist (St. Louis, Missouri)
2. Grand View (Des Moines, Iowa)
3. St. Ambrose (Davenport, Iowa)
4. Park University (Parkville, Missouri)
5. Warner University (Lake Wales, Florida)
6. Cardinal Stritch (Milwaukee, Wisconsin)
7. Lourdes University (Sylvania, Ohio)
8. Hope International (Fullerton, Calif.)
9. Clarke University (Dubuque, Iowa)
10. Robert Morris (Chicago, Illinois)