SAN ANTONIO – (Broadcast Links – Live Stats) - Twenty-four teams will participate in the NAIA Women's Volleyball National Championship Opening Round on Saturday. Matches will occur at 12 campus locations, including at Our Lady of the Lake University (OLLU), and the winners will advance to the final site, which takes place Nov. 28 – Dec. 2, in Sioux City, Iowa, along with the 20 teams who received an opening round bye.
This year's championship field includes 33 automatic qualifiers, 10 at-large selections and one host berth. 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 Coaches' Top 25 Poll on Nov. 13.
OLLU hosts Oklahoma City on Nov. 18. This afternoon, as part of the Champions of Character inititiave, both teams spent time with the Sisters of Divine Providence, the founders of Our Lady of the Lake University. The Stars and Saints had lunch with the sisters at their convent adjacent to the main campus of OLLU. Champions of Character recipients Mariza Cardenas from OLLU and Stephani Nell from OCU talked about what it means to be a Champions of Character Female Student-Athlete on and off the field.
After the talks, both teams served the Sisters, and two members of each team sat with the Sisters to enjoy fellowship. At the conclusion of the luncheon, the Sisters offered up a blessing for both teams, coaches and staff.
The 32-team national championship final site bracket will be announced on Sunday on NAIA.org.
The NAIA Network – the association's official video streaming home – will broadcast all matches live (excluding the finals to be broadcast via ESPN3) at the 2017 NAIA Women's 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 an all-championship tournament package is available at $29.95. For more information and to pre-register, click HERE.
2017 NAIA Women's Volleyball National Championship Opening Round Notes
- This is the second consecutive year the Saints have hosted the Opening Round of Nationals. Last year, the Saints faced the College of the Ozarks and lost in five sets: 17-25, 20-25, 26-24, 25-20, 15-12.
- The 12 National Championship Opening Round hosts include: Bellevue, Embry-Riddle, Indiana Wesleyan, Lourdes, Missouri Valley, Northwest, Ottawa, Our Lady of the Lake University, Tabor, Texas Wesleyan, Union and Xavier.
- The women's volleyball national championship opening round was implemented in 2008.
- Bellevue, College of the Ozarks, Indiana Wesleyan, IU East, IU Kokomo, Lourdes, Mobile, Oklahoma City, Ottawa, Our Lady of the Lake, Saint Xavier, Tabor, Trinity Christian, Union and Xavier have all previously competed in the national championship opening round.
- Of this year's group, Bellevue holds the most wins in the national championship opening round at 4-2 followed by Indiana Wesleyan with a record of 3-1. Bellevue also holds the most wins as a host with a record of 4-2.
- Bellevue and Xavier hold the most national championship opening round appearances of the 2017 group with six appearances. Bellevue has hosted for each of those six previous appearances while Xavier has hosted once. Union and IU East follow with five appearances in the national championship opening round.
- This is the first year for Campbellsville, Texas Wesleyan, Missouri Valley, Lincoln Christian, Marian, Embry-Riddle, Reinhardt, Northwest and Webber International to play in the national championship opening round.
- Tabor, who was a visitor for their first appearance in the 2016 national championship opening round match-up, will play as a first time national championship opening round host along with Texas Wesleyan, Missouri Valley, Embry-Riddle and Northwest.
- College of the Ozarks, Oklahoma City, Saint Xavier, IU Kokomo have never hosted a national championship opening round match and have only played as visitors.
- College of the Ozarks, Xavier, Mobile, Embry Riddle, Oklahoma City, Our Lady of the Lake, Saint Xavier and Webber International are looking to defend their win streaks this weekend of six or more. Mobile holds a current season win streak of 26-consecutive games followed by Embry-Riddle and Xavier with 19 and 13 consecutive wins respectively.