Champions! Park Slams Cal Baptist to Win NAIA Title


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Parkville, Mo. - The Park University men's volleyball team got all they asked for and more, as they were crowned the 2008 NAIA Men's National Volleyball champions in Breckon Sports Center on Saturday night.

The No. 1 Pirates only needed three games to sweep No. two California Baptist, defeating the Lancers 31-29, 30-10, and 30-17.

Head coach Corey Frederick is now 102-16 in four seasons with the Pirates.

The Pirates had outstanding performances from Henry Uribe, Erick Albuquerque, Ryan Stafford and Caio Maciel to lead them offensively. Uribe led all players with 19 kills with Albuquerque adding 14. Seniors Stafford and Maciel each contributed 11 and ten kills.

Senior setter J.P. da Silva finished his career with 27 assists and five digs. The Pirates kept the deadly Lancer duo of Donald Baliaba and Adiel Tiedjop at bay, holding them to just 20 kills collectively.

Stafford set the standards for the Pirates high intensity level of play with an opening kill to start game one of the 2008 NAIA Men's National Volleyball Tournament. The following play included a long rally with Albuquerque finally nabbing their second point of the evening with a tip to the right back for a 2-0 lead.

A double block by Uribe and Maciel would give Park a 9-4 lead, their biggest lead of the game so far. The Lancers cut the lead to three at 13-10 on an Adiel Tiedjop kill to finally put California Baptist in double-digits. California Baptist was able to capitalize on a Park attacking error and get within one, 15-14.

For the next several plays, the Lancers would stay close not allowing Park to gain the edge by more than three points. It wasn't until an Uribe kill off of a Lancer double block that the Pirates would gain a four point advantage and force California Baptist head coach Ryan McGuyre to take a timeout. His timing paid off, producing a kill from Baliaba and shifting some of the momentum back towards the Lancers.

California Baptist finally caught up with Park tying the game at 25-25 for the first time, after an Uribe hit wet flying into the antenna. A double block by Romain Vetter and Baliaba would give the Lancers a 28-27 edge and their first lead of the night.

Stafford and da Silva answered right back, with a sweet setup from the right side to tie the game at 28-28. Despite the momentum in Park's favor, California Baptist reaped the benefits and reached game point first on a Nikola Bursac service error. But a Yukai Sun hitting error would get Park to game point also and set the scene for the first team to win by two.

The Pirates reached 30 on a hitting violation from the back on California Baptist, giving them a 30-29 edge and bringing up the man who started it all, Stafford. Set to serve, Stafford headed for the edge of Breckon and tossed the ball up in the air to come up with a service ace for a 31-29 victory and put his team up 1-0 in the match.

Park University carried all the momentum in game two and played their way to a defining 30-10 victory, putting them one game away from the national championship title. Da Silva started the Pirates off on the right foot, serving for seven straight points, resulting in a big 7-0 lead.
California Baptist managed to get three points on the scoreboard following a Vetter kill, but the Pirates had a commanding 16-5 lead.

Park hit 25 thanks to a Dragomir Katanic and da Silva brick wall against Sun, giving the Pirates a 16 point lead. The Pirates secured game two of the match off of an Albuquerque service ace and pressed on to game three.

A California Baptist service error gave Park a 1-0 edge in the opening play of game three. The Pirates took a 4-0 lead following a da Silva set dump for the kill. The Lancers finally got on the scoreboard with a kill down the right sideline by Baliaba.

Park took a commanding 9-4 lead following a Stafford and Maciel block assist and the Pirates never gave the Lancers a chance to catch up.

The Pirates led 19-9 after a California Baptist attacking error and moved to 24-13 on an Uribe solo block.

Stafford got the Pirates to match point (29-16) with a cross court kill, but the Lancers were able to salvage a long rally to delay the evitable, a Park national championship. A Mike Macneil service error would send the Pirates into celebration mode as they were crowned the 2008 NAIA Men's National Volleyball Invitational Champions.

Match Notes

- With the tournament win, the Pirates have now beaten California Baptist two times in one season for the first time in school history.

- Saturday's tournament title is the first under head coach Cory Frederick, who is now 102-16 at Park University.

- Saturday's attendance figure - 1,033 - established a men's volleyball attendance record for a Park match. The total ranked second in overall attendance at Park behind a men's basketball game played in 2007 between Park and MidAmerica Nazarene, which drew 1,200 fans to Breckon Sports Center.

- Coming into the title match, California Baptist and Park had combined for seven tournament titles - six by CBU and one from Park. The Lancers also owned a four-tournament championship streak entering the event.

Game 1

- Park opened with a 9-4 lead through the first 13 serves in game one.

- Cal Baptist went on a 10-6 run to close to within one midway through, 15-14, but were answered by three-straight points to return the lead to four.

- The first time out of the match was taken with the score at 24-20 in favor of Park, called by California Baptist after an Erick Albuquerque kill on the left side.

- California Baptist again got to within one, 25-24, forcing Park's first time out of the 2008 NAIA Men's Volleyball National Invitational Tournament. After the time out, California Baptist tied the game for the first time since 0-0. The Lancers later used a 2-0 run to re-tie the match at 27-all, later turning it into a 3-0 run to force a Park time out, taking a 28-27 lead, their first of the match.

- Park later tied the game at 29-29, marking the tournament's fifth extra-point game of the tournament and the first for Park University. The Pirates won the game, 31-29, on a service ace by Ryan Stafford.

- Park out-hit CBU .318 to -.032 in game one.

Game 2

- Park opened game two with nine of the first 10 points, including a 7-0 early lead, and built an 11-2 lead on a Ryan Stafford solo block. The lead was eventually 14-2 before Cal Baptist earned its third point on a Nikola Bursac service error by the Pirates.

- The game's 20th serve, an error by Cal Baptist, resulted in a 16-4 Pirate lead.

- With its 30-10 win in game two, Park University has outscored Cal Baptist 60-25 in game two's this season. Park defeated CBU 30-15 in game two on Feb. 21. Park won the match, 3-1.

- Cal Baptist's 10 points in game two marked a season-low for the Lancers, and aside from a 10-point opponent total in game five of the season opener by St. Ambrose, it was the lowest Pirate opponent single-game total of the 2008 season.

Game 3

- Park opened the game on a 4-0 run and took a 7-3 lead after a CBU run on a yellow card given to Cal Baptist's Donald Baliaba. Henry Uribe followed the card with a service ace, marking two-straight Pirate aces as the yellow card counted as a team ace for Park.

- The Pirates took a 10-point lead in the final game with six points from a win - going up 24-14 on a Donald Baliaba attack error by Cal Baptist.

- Park earned its fourth sweep in the tournament with the win, marking the second-straight championship team to sweep all of its tournament matches, as Cal Baptist won by 3-0 counts in last season's tourney.

All-Tournament Team
Christian Mattie, Cardinal Stritch
Mike Westendorf, St. Ambrose
Daniel Baliaba, California Baptist
Adiel Tiedjop, California Baptist
Henry Uribe, Park
J.P. da Silva, Park (MVP)

Coach of the Year: Cory Frederick, Park
Tournament Sportsman: Ryan Stafford, Park

Article courtesy of Park athletics.

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