KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) has released the 16th-ranked Spring Hill College volleyball team's opponents and game schedule for the round-robin pool play at the 2011 NAIA Volleyball National Championship presented by CNOS Foundation to be held at The Forum in Sioux City, Iowa, on November 29-December 1, 2011.
Playing in Pool D of the six possible pools, the Badgers will open play versus 9th-ranked Biola University on Tuesday, November 29, at 3:15 on Court 1, followed on Wednesday, November 30, at 1 p.m. versus 4th-ranked Embry-Riddle University (Fla.) on Court 2 and concluding with 25th-ranked Freed-Hardeman University (28-8) at 1 p.m. on Thursday, December 1, on Court 1.
As the No. 9 team in the final NAIA Poll, Biola (23-12) earned an at-large bid and first round bye to the national tournament. The Eagles are making their 11th trip the NAIA national Championships and hold a 38-20 overall record at the event, but have not been successful in capturing the National Championship.
Biola is led by 6-fot-1 junior outside hitter Christine Douglas who averages 3.5 kills per set (kps), sophomore setter Gracee Gallarda with 5.5 assists per set (aps), sophomore libero Emily Weingartner with 4.1 digs per set (dps) and 6-fot-3 freshman middle blocker Amy Weststeyn with 1.2 blocks per set (bps).
No. 4 Embry-Riddle won a spot in the tournament along with a first round bye as a result of capturing The Sun Conference Tournament Championship in a 3-0 decision over SCAD-Savannah. ERU holds a 3-2 record in one previous visit to the national tournament.
The Eagles (27-4) are paced by 6-foot senior outside hitter Abby Hall with 3.7 kps, junior setter Adrianna Vazquez with 11.3 aps, senior libero Nina Kontrec with 5.4 dps, and junior outside hitter Jordan Holcomb with 0.9 bps.
Freed-Hardeman defeated Indiana East University on Saturday in the Opening Round to secure a visit to the final site for the first time in three attempts as they had failed to advance past the first round in 2009 and 2010.
The Lady Lions (28-8) and the Badgers (39-1) met earlier this year with Spring Hill taking a 3-0 decision in Montgomery, Ala., at the Faulkner University Tournament.
FHU is led by 6-foot junior middle blocker Fernanda Ferreira with 3.2 kps, senior setter Amber Turner with 5.0 aps, junior libero Callie West with 3.9 dps, and 6-foot-1 senior middle blocker Nataly Gutierrez with 0.8 bps.
SHC is making its second trip the NAIA National Championships after recording a 0-4 outing in pool play in 2003. The Badgers defeated Xavier University (La.) 3-0 at home on Saturday in First Round action to advance to Sioux City.
The top two teams from each pool will begin play in the single elimination bracket on Friday, December 2, with the championship match to be played on Saturday, December 3, at 8 p.m.