Cougar Volleyball Qualifies for their 18th Straight National Championship Appearance
Columbia, Mo. - The NAIA released the final Top 25 Poll today as well as the National Championships qualifiers for 2011. The Columbia College Cougars will make their 18th consecutive appearance as they received an at-large bid in the national playoff.
The Cougars, ranked No. 3 last week, fell to No. 5 in the final poll after finishing last week with a 2-1 record. Columbia comes into the tournament with a 35-3 record.
The 32nd annual event will feature 36 teams with 12 Opening Round matches played at on-campus sites that will take place on Nov. 19. The winners of the National Championship Opening Round matches, along with host school Morningside (Iowa) and the 11 additional schools that garnered byes, will advance to the Tyson Events Center/Gateway Arena in Sioux City, Iowa, location of the NAIA National Championship final site presented by CNOS Foundation Nov. 29 - Dec. 3. With a No. 5 ranking the Cougars automatically advance to the final site.
This year's 36 teams include 25 automatic qualifiers and 11 at-large selections. Twenty-two teams punched their tickets to the event by winning their respective conference/independent tournaments.
The 25 automatic qualifiers include: Bellevue (Neb.), Cal State San Marcos, Concordia, Embry-Riddle (Fla.), Freed-Hardeman (Tenn.), Grand View (Iowa), Indiana East, Indiana Tech, Indiana Wesleyan, Kansas Wesleyan, La Sierra (Calif.), Lee (Tenn.), Lindsey Wilson (Ky.), MidAmerica Nazarene (Kan.), Missouri Baptist, Montreat (N.C.), Morningside (Iowa), Oklahoma Baptist, Olivet Nazarene (Ill.), Point Park (Pa.), Robert Morris (Ill.), Rocky Mountain (Mont.), Southern Oregon, Texas at Brownsville and Xavier (La.).
Azusa Pacific (Calif.), Biola (Calif.), Carroll (Mont.), College of Idaho, Columbia (Mo.), Fresno Pacific (Calif.), Lewis-Clark State (Idaho), Point Loma Nazarene (Calif.), Spring Hill (Ala.), Taylor (Ind.) and Vanguard (Calif.), received at-large berths into the championship.
Eleven teams will be making their first trips to the National Championship including: Cal State San Marcos, Grand View, Kansas Wesleyan, La Sierra, Lindsey Wilson, MidAmerica Nazarene, Montreat, Oklahoma Baptist, Point Park, Robert Morris and Xavier.
On Sunday, Nov. 20th the Cougars will find out their pool placement and games times when it is released by the National office.