KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Rocky Mountain College will begin play at the upcoming NAIA volleyball national championship tournament against the winningest team in the country.
Coach Laurie Kelly’s Battlin’ Bears, 25-6 and ranked 25th nationally, will be taking on No. 4-ranked Madonna University, 38-0, in their opening match of pool play on Tuesday, Dec. 3 at noon (MST) in the Tyson Events Center/Gateway Arena in Sioux City, Iowa.
The Crusaders, from Livonia, Mich., will be making their 13th appearance at the 34th annual national tournament. This will be Rocky’s third visit in the last four years.
The pool assignments and schedule for the 24-team national tournament, set for Dec. 3-7, were released by the NAIA on Sunday afternoon. There will be four teams in each of the six pools, with the top two teams from each pool advancing to championship bracket play.
Besides Madonna, Rocky’s pool schedule includes matches against No. 8-ranked MidAmerica Nazarene of Kansas, 26-2, at 2:15 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 4 and No. 16 The Master’s College of California, 20-8, at noon on Thursday, Dec. 5.
On its last trip to the national tournament in 2011, Rocky was one of 12 teams to make it to the championship bracket.
Top-ranked Texas-Brownsville, 31-0, is the only other undefeated team in the tournament field. No. 2 Concordia University of California, 23-2, is also back to defend its championship.
Rocky qualified for nationals by winning the Frontier Conference postseason tournament and then beating No. 21-ranked College of Idaho during a first-round play-in match on Saturday night in Caldwell, Idaho.