2010 NAIA Volleyball National Championship Opening Round Preview


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KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Twenty-four teams will take to the court at 12 on-campus locations across the country in NAIA Volleyball National Championship Opening Round action Saturday. The winners will advance to the final site at the Tyson Events Center/Gateway Arena in Sioux City, Iowa, presented by Siouxland Sports Medicine Foundation Nov. 30 - Dec. 4.

Host school Briar Cliff (Iowa) and the top-11 teams received a bye to the National Championship final site. The following teams punched their ticket with an opening round bye: Azusa Pacific (Calif.), Biola (Calif.), California Baptist, Columbia (Mo.), Concordia (Calif.), Lewis-Clark State (Idaho), Lee (Tenn.), Northwestern (Iowa), Taylor (Ind.), Texas at Brownsville and three-time defending champion Fresno Pacific (Calif.).

Embry-Riddle (Fla.) is one of eight teams that will be making its first appearance in an opening round match. The contest between the Eagles and Union (Ky.) will be the second meeting for the two squads this season. In the first meeting, the Embry-Riddle defeated the Bulldogs in straight sets 25-8, 25-10, 26-24 at the Rumpke Invitational on Sept. 11.

Malone (Ohio), another team that will experience National Championship play for the first time, is slated to take on Indiana Tech. The Warriors won the Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference Tournament and are riding an 11-match winning streak. They have lost just once at home in 2010.

California Pacific Conference champion Holy Names (Calif.) will travel to Southern Oregon for a chance at redemption. The Hawks and Raiders opened their respective seasons against each other on Aug. 16. Southern Oregon took the match 25-20, 25-17, 25-19.

Doane (Neb.) is making its third-straight appearance and ninth overall. The Tigers will square off against first-time qualifier and Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference runner-up Trinity Christian (Ill.).

Association of Independent Institutions champion St. Thomas-Houston (Texas) will visit at-large qualifier College of Idaho.

In a match-up of two Iowa schools, Dordt and St. Ambrose will meet for the fourth time overall since 1997. Dordt recorded the victory in all three previous matches, with the last win coming in 2003.

After winning the Gulf Coast Athletic Conference Tournament and its first league championship in the program's 12-year history, Dillard (La.) earned its first-ever National Championship berth. The Lady Bleu Devils will make their way to San Diego, Calif., to face Point Loma Nazarene (Calif.).

Jamestown (N.D.) and Rocky Mountain (Mont.) will meet as the only match-up between two first-time qualifiers. The Jimmies won the Dakota Athletic Conference, while Rocky Mountain secured an at-large berth after finishing at No. 19 in the final Tachikara-NAIA Volleyball Coaches' Top 25 Poll announced on Nov. 14.

Winning 16 of its last 17 matches, Lindenwood (Mo.) will host TranSouth Conference Tournament champion Freed-Hardeman (Tenn.). The two teams met at the Olivet Nazarene (Ill.) tournament with Lindenwood sweeping the Lions 25-17, 25-19, 25-17.

St. Xavier (Ill.) returns to the National Championship after a nine-year hiatus. The Cougars beat Trinity Christian to win the CCAC tournament and will travel to Nebraska to square off against Midlands Collegiate Athletic Conference champion Bellevue.

Oklahoma City, who entered the Sooner Athletic Conference tournament as the No. 4-seed, upset No. 1-seed Oklahoma Baptist in the semifinals and No. 3-seed Wayland Baptist (Texas) in the championship match to earn its first-ever berth to the National Championship. The Stars will hit the road to play Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference champion Friends (Kan.).

Shawnee State (Ohio) won the Mid-South Conference Tournament and Indiana East coasted through the Kentucky Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Tournament to qualify for the National Championship. The two teams will face off for the second time this season on Saturday. The Red Wolves defeated Shawnee State in four sets at the Saint Francis/Asics Munciana Invitational on Oct. 15.

Final site pool assignments and schedule will be announced Sunday by 6 p.m. CST.

The final 24 teams will be placed into six pools for three days of round-robin play. The top two teams from each pool will advance to the single-elimination bracket starting Dec. 3. The championship match will take place on Dec. 4 at 8 p.m. CST.

NeuLion is the NAIA's Digital Media Partner and official video-streaming company of nine select NAIA National Championship events. Select matches from the NAIA Volleyball National Championship final site will be streamed: single-elimination play, quarterfinals, semifinals and the championship final. Refer to the Championship schedule, which can be found by clicking here.

For more information on the National Championship Opening Round, click here.
For more information on the National Championship, click here.
For complete conference tournament breakdown, click here.


*Article courtesy NAIA

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