Lindenwood Captures Title Over CBU

4/18/2009

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PARKVILLE, Mo. - Something had to give for the Lindenwood University Lions' men's volleyball team.

In three previous trips to the NAIA National Invitational Tournament championship match, the Lions came away with a runner-up trophy in hand. Twice, the losses came to California Baptist. Saturday night at Park University's Breckon Sports Center, the Lions' long-awaited victory came, and LU left no doubt.

The Lions, seeded No. 2 in the tournament, improved their record to 38-3 on the season, topping No. 1 California Baptist University in straight-sets, 30-20, 30-28, 30-27. The Lancers fell to 25-8 on the year.

Lindenwood came out swinging midway through the first set, taking a 17-15 lead when Dan Laure pounced on a kill to give his Lions a 17-15 lead.

The Lions had started on a 3-0 run to begin the match, and Andrew Hock pushed the lead back to three with a service ace late, 18-15. The ace was part of a 4-0 run for Lindenwood, and after Cal Baptist's Adiel Tiedjop stopped the run with a kill to make it 20-16, the Lions went running again, scoring five of the next six points, charging in front, 25-17.

The Lancers collected points on the next two serves to cut the LU advantage to 25-19, but Lindenwood went up 1-0 in the match over the next six plays, ending the set on a 5-1 run to win 30-20.

The Lions forced a CBU time out early in the second set by taking an 11-8 lead and after the break, Mike Larson landed a service ace to make it a four-point game. The Lancers fought back to tie the set, 20-20, and the Lancers grabbed a slim lead a play later when Lindenwood went out of rotation to make it 21-20.

Lindenwood regained the lead, though, getting a pair of aces from Laure to go up 28-23, and despite being outscored 7-2 over the final nine plays, the Lions held on for a 30-28 victory to go up 2-0 in the match.

LU opened a big lead to start the third set, going up 10-3 on a kill by Mike Warren, but after Tiedjop laced a pair of kills, the Lancers cut the Lion lead to five, 14-9.

Laure and Warren combined on two-straight blocks to push Lindenwood's lead to eight, 20-12, but California Baptist made its final charge over the next two dozen serves, getting back within two on a kill by Adam Church and an error on Lindenwood.

The run came too late for the Lancers, though, who fell victim to an attacking error on the final play of the match, handing Lindenwood its first-ever NAIA tournament title, 30-27.

Tournament MVP Jared Kreienkamp led Lindenwood with 15 kills in the match while Devin Shiroma added double-figures with 10, and Warren finished the match with 32 assists from his setting position. Shiroma also added a double-double for the Lions, posting 11 digs in the match.

Tiedjop had 15 kills for CBU and was matched in the category by Levi Cabral, and Blair Penner passed out 41 assists for the Lancers, who fell 3-0 in the title match at Breckon Sports Center for the second-straight season.

Next season's tournament will take place April 15-18, 2010, at Saint Ambrose University in Davenport, Iowa.

All-Tournament Team
Jared Kreienkamp, Lindenwood (MVP)
Dan Laure, Lindenwood
Noah Casaquit, Cardinal Stritch
Adiel Tiedjop, California Baptist
Levi Cabral, California Baptist
Garrett Payne, Cardinal Stritch

Article courtesy Park athletics.

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