NAIA Pool Play Matches
--Nov. 30 – vs. Hastings, 1 p.m. (Court 2)
--Dec. 2 – vs. Park (Mo.), 1 p.m. (Court 2)
SEWARD, Neb. – One of 24 teams remaining in the 2022 NAIA national championship field, the Concordia University Volleyball team learned of its NAIA pool play assignment on Sunday (Nov. 20). The fourth-ranked Bulldogs are the top seed in Pool D and have been grouped with second-seeded Park University (Mo.) and third-seeded Hastings. Pool play is set to begin on Wednesday, Nov. 30 from the Tyson Events Center in Sioux City, Iowa. This will mark the fourth year in a row that Head Coach Ben Boldt has led Concordia to the final site of the national tournament.
The number of teams at the final site shrunk from 32 teams as recently as 2019 to 24 teams beginning in 2020. Those 24 squads have been separated into eight groupings for pool play that will take place Nov. 30-Dec. 1 at the Tyson Events Center in Sioux City. The Tyson has served as the host for the NAIA Volleyball National Championship since 2008.
Concordia (24-5) earned an automatic berth to the national tournament via its runner up finish in the GPAC tournament. While hosting an opening round match on Saturday, the Bulldogs defeated Florida College, 25-9, 25-10, 25-21, and finished the 2022 home slate with a record of 11-1 inside Friedrich Arena. Camryn Opfer enjoyed a big day in the victory as she totaled 14 kills and 16 digs and hit .394 from the outside. As a team, Concordia outhit the Falcons of the Tampa, Fla., area, .294 to .054. The Bulldogs will enter the final site of the national tournament ranked No. 2 in the NAIA in hitting percentage (.265). Current Concordia leaders by category are Gabi Nordaker in kills (304), hitting percentage (.356) and blocks (102), Bree Burtwistle in assists (1,119) and Rebecca Gebhardt in digs (459) and aces (27). Four Bulldogs have notched at least 250 kills: Nordaker, Opfer (293), Ashley Keck (256) and Carly Rodaway (250).
Concordia will go up against a Hastings squad it saw twice during the regular season. The Bulldogs won both of those matchups in straight sets. Head Coach Alex Allard’s Broncos will take an overall record of 20-13 to the final site. In the opening round, Hastings narrowly got past Texas Wesleyan University, 16-25, 26-24, 25-23, 10-25, 17-15. Meanwhile, Park sports an overall record of 27-5 and was ranked 13th in the most recent NAIA coaches’ poll. The Pirates defeated Cumberland University (Tenn.), 25-16, 25-16, 25-18, in the opening round. Park won the NAIA national title as recently as 2018.
One team will emerge from each of the eight pools. The pool winners will be placed in an eight-team, single-elimination bracket. National championship bracket play will take place Dec. 3-6.
Advance tickets for NAIA National Championship matches can be purchased online through the Tyson Events Center at: https://www.tysoncenter.com/events/detail/naia-womens-volleyball-national-championship-2.