2015 NAIA Volleyball National Championship Qualifiers & Opening Round Schedule

Lindsey Wilson (Ky.) controls the field with No. 1 seed

KANSAS CITY, Mo., Nov. 16, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- (Championship Schedule | Video Announcement) The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics has officially announced the teams and Opening Round pairings for the 2015 NAIA Volleyball National Championship. The 36-team event will get underway with 12 National Championship Opening Round matches at campus locations on Nov. 21.

The top 11 seeds and championship host Briar Cliff (Iowa) automatically advance to the national championship final site in Sioux City, Iowa. Action inside the Tyson Events Center starts with three days of pool play from Dec. 1 – 3, before jumping into the elimination bracket on Dec. 4, culminating with the crowning of a national champion on Dec. 5.

This year's field includes 27 automatic qualifiers, 8 at-large selections and one host berth (Briar Cliff). Automatic berths were given to teams that either won their respective conference tournament title, regular-season championship or finished runner-up at the conference tournament. The at-large bids were determined by the final regular season Tachikara-NAIA Volleyball Coaches' Top 25 Poll.

The NAIA Network – the association's official video streaming home – will broadcast the first 46 matches live at the 2015 NAIA Volleyball National Championship final site in Sioux City, Iowa. The video platform, powered by Stretch Internet, allows users access to live video, statistics, and social interaction on a number of devices, including mobile. Single day passes can be purchased for $9.95, while a pool play pass is $24.95 (Dec. 1 – 3) and an all-championship package is available at $34.95. For more information and the pre-register, click here.

Qualifier Highlights

  • Twenty-two teams that advanced out of pool play at last year's National Championship are returning in 2015, including defending national champion Park (Mo.).
  • Two teams entering the national championship have taken home the trophy in previous years including last year's champion Park (Mo.) and three time national champion Columbia (Mo.).
  • No.1 Lindsey Wilson comes into the tournament with a 33-3 record with losses against Doane (Neb.), Cumblerlands (Ky.) and No. 3 Missouri Baptist.  The Blue Raiders have been a part of the last four national championships.
  • College of Idaho is a dangerous team in the field with senior middle back Kylie Porter. Also, watch out for Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference champion Trinity Christian (Ill.) and Columbia (Mo.) with a lethal duo of senior Sashiko Heredia and sophomore Penny Liu.
  • Briar Cliff (Iowa) has a streak of seven-straight years of serving as host institution at the volleyball national championship in Sioux City, Iowa.
  • Columbia (Mo.) has the most all-time kills in a national tournament with 588. The Cougars also hold the record for most total attempts with 1884.
  • Lourdes (Ohio) enters the national championship as the only unbeaten team remaining.  The Grey Wolves (31-0) won both the Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference (WHAC) regular season and tournament titles en route to an automatic berth. Lourdes has only lost 13 sets the entire season. Lourdes goes into the 2015 national championship having previous experience under their belt when they played in the 2013 national championship. 
  • Perennial contender Columbia (Mo.) is the active leader in both championship appearances at 21 and playoff wins with an 81-40 record. 
  • Seven teams have appeared in the national championship 10-or-more times – Biola (Calif.) (15), College of Idaho (11), Concordia (Calif.) (10), Georgetown (Ky.) (18), Madonna (Mich.) (15), Northwestern (Iowa) (13) and Olivet Nazarene (Ill.) (11).
  • An enormous amount of newcomers made their way into the tournament including nine conference champions out of the 21 conferences.  
  • The Great Plains Athletic Conference has the most schools appearing in the opening round including: host Briar Cliff (Iowa), Concordia (Neb.), Dordt (Iowa), Hastings (Neb.) and Midland (Neb.).  Behind is the Cascade Collegiate conference with three schools representing. 
  • Mount Vernon Nazarene is snapping an eight year long drought after not qualifying for an opening round since 2007.

Opening Round Schedule 

Saturday, Nov. 21 | Campus Sites
Match 1 – Point Park (Pa.) at Georgetown (Ky.)
Match 2 – Union (Ky.) at MidAmerica Nazarene (Kan.)
Match 3 – Mount Mercy (Iowa) at Dordt (Iowa)
Match 4 – Xavier (La.) at College of Idaho
Match 5 – Olivet Nazarene (Ill.) at Concordia (Neb.)
Match 6 – Trinity Christian (Ill.) at Lourdes (Ohio)
Match 7 – Our Lady of the Lake (Texas) at Evangel (Mo.)
Match 8 – La Sierra (Calif.) at Southern Oregon 
Match 9 – Southeastern (Fla.) at Coastal Georgia
Match 10 – IU Kokomo (Ind.) at Madonna (Mich.)
Match 11 – Ashford (Iowa) at Mount Vernon Nazarene (Ohio)
Match 12 – Ottawa (Kan.) at Wayland Baptist (Texas)

Final site pools will be determined on Sunday, Nov. 22, and released by 5 p.m. CST

For more information on the 2015 NAIA Volleyball National Championship Opening Round and final site, click here.

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