LCSC volleyball team to open at Southern Oregon
It was a tough day of waiting for the Lewis-Clark State College volleyball family, but at least the Warriors now know where they'll play in the first round of the NAIA National Tournament.
The Warriors, ranked No. 21 in the poll, will head to Ashland, Ore., to face No. 13 Southern Oregon in one of the top first-round pairings of the tournament, the NAIA announced late Sunday afternoon.
The NAIA tournament involves 36 teams - 27 that won automatic berths, eight at-large teams, and one host school. Of the 36, the top 11 teams and the host received first-round byes and advance to the national tournament in Sioux City, Iowa on Dec. 1-5. The remaining 24 teams have to play their way into national pool play with 12 first-round matches on Saturday.
The Warriors won the Frontier Conference's automatic berth into the national tournament by claiming the conference tournament title with a five-set win over Great Falls on Saturday night at the LCSC Activity Center. It marked the third straight year LCSC has won the tournament and qualified for nationals.
However, unlike a year ago, when the Warriors received a first-round home match to start the national tournament, LCSC will have to go on the road. LCSC had strong home support during last year's opening-round win and also at the conference tournament, especially on Saturday when LCSC won two five-set matches to claim the title.
Last year, the NAIA didn't consider travel distance when making the first-round pairings. That apparently isn't the case this season because all 12 matchups are regional contests. Because of regional matchups, two high-ranked teams, like Southern Oregon and LCSC are paired, while another regional matchup has two teams that combined for only five points in the NAIA Top 25 poll. LCSC was ranked No. 21 in the final NAIA poll with 244 points.
Southern Oregon enters the match at 24-3 and received one of the eight at-large berths after falling to College of Idaho in the Cascade Conference Tournament championship match. Southern Oregon and College of Idaho tied for the regular season title with 17-1 records after splitting during the regular season. Southern Oregon's other loss was to Fresno Pacific, which is ranked No. 1 in the NAIA, while College of Idaho is eighth.
Southern Oregon also is 11-1 at home this season.
"They are traditionally a well respected program in the Northwest," LCSC assistant coach Burdette Greeny said of SOU. "They are a very good club this year, evident that they beat Biola and then College of Idaho at home this year. We know they are a tough team at home."
LCSC also lost to Fresno Pacific in straight sets this season and fell in five sets to College of Idaho in a season-opening tournament. The Warriors are 23-7 overall.
Starting time for the match will be announced on Monday, but it will likely be played on Saturday evening.
There also was no news as of early Sunday evening on the growing Greeny family. Warrior head coach Jennifer Greeny is pregnant and because her due date is Saturday's opening round, she made plans a while ago to be induced on Sunday. The Greenys second child is expected to be born later Sunday night or Monday morning.
The following teams have received an opening round bye and will advance to the final site: Azusa Pacific University (Calif.), Biola University (Calif.), California Baptist University, College of Idaho, Columbia College (Mo.), Concordia University (Calif.), Fresno Pacific University (Calif.), Georgetown College (Ky.), Northwestern College (Iowa), Olivet Nazarene University (Ill.), University of Texas at Brownsville and Vanguard University (Calif.).
2009 NAIA Volleyball National Championship Opening Round - Nov. 21 - On-Campus Sites
Match 1 Evangel (Mo.) at Olivet Nazarene (Ill.)
Match 2 Lewis-Clark State (Idaho) at Southern Oregon
Match 3 Menlo (Calif.) at Point Loma Nazarene (Calif.)
Match 4 Indiana East at Taylor (Ind.)
Match 5 Walsh (Ohio) at Indiana Tech
Match 6 Friends (Kan.) at Bellevue (Neb.)
Match 7 Black Hills State (S.D.) at Doane (Neb.)
Match 8 Freed-Hardeman (Tenn.) at Lee (Tenn.)
Match 9 St. Thomas Houston (Texas) at Lubbock Christian (Texas)
Match 10 Union (Ky.) at Shawnee State (Ohio)
Match 11 Savannah College of Art & Design (Ga.) at Mobile (Ala.)
Match 12 College of the Ozarks (Mo.) at St. Ambrose (Iowa)