Sports

Northwestern Number 12 in Preseason National Volleyball Poll

naia_logoKANSAS CITY, Mo. – Defending national champion Park (Mo.) opens the 2015 season as the No. 1 team in the Tachikara-NAIA Volleyball Coaches’ Preseason Top 25 Poll, the national office announced Tuesday. The Pirates claim the top-spot for the second-straight edition after receiving all 16 first-place votes and 436 points.

Last season, Park made program history with a 3-0 sweep against then-defending champion Texas at Brownsville to win its first-ever national title. The Pirates ended the campaign with a 40-0 record – the fourth team in the last six years to conclude the season with an unblemished record – including a 17-0 record against Top 25 teams.

The Pirates return a talented squad, highlighted by Tachikara-NAIA Volleyball National Championship Most Valuable Player Wendy Romero. The senior outside hitter, who also was the American Midwest Conference Player of the Year and a NAIA First Team All-American, ended 2014 with a .352 hitting percentage, 79 service aces and a 4.5 kills per set average.

Biola (Calif.) checks in at No. 2 with 422 points. The Eagles have reached at least the quarterfinals of the national championship each of the last four seasons. With the ranking, Biola has now been listed among the top 10 nationally for 41-consecutive polls.Rounding out the top five are No. 3 Missouri Baptist (397 points), No. 4 Viterbo (Wis.) (395 points) and No. 5 Rocky Mountain (Mont.) (389 points). All three programs advanced out of pool play at last year’s championship.

Three newcomers – No. 22 Hastings (Neb.), No. 23 Lewis-Clark State (Idaho) and No. 25 Dordt (Iowa) – join the Top 25 in this edition. The two squads out of the Great Plains Athletic Conference (GPAC) were both ranked at some point in 2014, while Lewis-Clark State garners a Top 25 mention for the first time since Oct. 16, 2012.

Twelve of the 21 conferences are represented throughout the Top 25, led by four teams from the GPAC – No. 9 Midland (Neb.), No. 12 Northwestern, Hastings and Dordt.
The poll was voted upon by a panel of head coaches representing each of the conferences and the Association of Independent Institutions. The first regular-season Top 25 will be announced on Sept. 8.

2015 Tachikara-NAIA Volleyball Coaches’ Preseason Top 25 Poll (Aug. 18)
RANK LAST WEEK^ SCHOOL (1ST PLACE VOTES) 2014 Record TOTAL POINTS
1 1 Park (Mo.) (16) 40-0 436
2 3 Biola (Calif.) 32-5 422
3 6 Missouri Baptist 38-4 397
4 4 Viterbo (Wis.) 39-9 395
5 5 Rocky Mountain (Mont.) 32-3 389
6 8 Eastern Oregon 30-5 353
7 12 Lindsey Wilson (Ky.) 35-5 338
8 11 Vanguard (Calif.) 25-13 332
9 18 Midland (Neb.) 24-11 323
10 T16 Columbia (Mo.) 33-8 322
11 9 Georgetown (Ky.) 31-12 292
12 10 Northwestern (Iowa) 33-5 272
13 15 Davenport (Mich.) 36-9 259
14 14 College of Idaho 22-12 249
15 T16 Madonna (Mich.) 38-9 232
16 14 Southern Oregon 24-7 231
17 19 Indiana Wesleyan 34-9 199
18 20 Evangel (Mo.) 27-13 197
19 25 Wayland Baptist (Texas) 23-10 175
20 23 Coastal Georgia 35-4 171
21 21 Grand View (Iowa) 26-16 159
22 NR Hastings (Neb.) 19-11 114
23 NR Lewis-Clark State (Idaho) 19-9 103
24 22 Jamestown (N.D.) 25-9 92
25 RV Dordt (Iowa) 18-11 81

Others receiving votes: Kansas Wesleyan 76; St. Catharine (Ky.) 52; MidAmerica Nazarene (Kan.) 48; Point Park (Pa.) 46; Cornerstone (Mich.) 39; St. Thomas (Fla.) 34; The Master’s (Calif.) 24; Carroll (Mont.) 18; Bryan (Tenn.) 16; Ottawa (Kan.) 11; Mobile (Ala.) 8; Concordia (Neb.) 8; Taylor (Ind.) 5; Ashford (Iowa) 4; Northwest (Wash.) 4; Westmont (Calif.) 4; Cardinal Stritch (Wis.) 4; Graceland (Iowa) 4.

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