DES MOINES, Iowa — Ottawa University will make its second NAIA Invitational Tournament appearance in two years after earning an at-large bid.
The OU men’s volleyball team fell to No. 1 Missouri Baptist University Saturday in St. Louis, Missouri, for the third time this season in the AMC/GPAC/KCAC conference championship, but that didn’t stop the third-year program from earning its second consecutive nationals bid. With a regular season record of 21-7, and a final ranking of No. 3 in the NAIA Coaches Top 10 Poll, the Braves earned an at-large bid to the eight-team tournament. They are joined by Missouri Baptist (22-1); Benedictine Mesa, Arizona (17-7); Briar Cliff, Iowa (15-4); Cardinal Stritch, Wisconsin (23-6); Grand View, Iowa (19-4); Lourdes, Ohio (21-6); and St. Andrews, North Carolina (19-6).
The tournament is set to begin with three days of pool play April 17-19 with the top two teams from pool play advancing to the semifinal bracket April 20 and the championship being played April 21. The tournament is hosted by Grand View University in Des Moines, Iowa.
Ottawa is the No. 3 seed in the tournament, and will play in Pool B. The team is scheduled to play 4 p.m. April 17 against No. 6 Benedictine-Mesa, 4 p.m. April 18 against No. 7 Cardinal Stritch and 7 p.m. Apirl 19 against No. 2 Grand View.
The Braves boast a roster that had four players earning all-conference selections Sunday. Daniel Jacobs, senior outside hitter, was named first team all-conference, and Luke Pope, senior setter, Errol Basconcillo, senior libero, and Troy Lance, sophomore middle blocker, were all named second team all-conference.
Ottawa won its first two matches of its conference tournament over the weekend, sweeping Lindenwood Unveristy-Belleville and Briar Cliff in straight sets to advance to the championship. There, Missouri Baptist handed Ottawa a 25-23, 25-22, 25-20 loss. Jacobs finished the tournament with 38 total kills. Lance had 11 total blocks, including a seven-block performance against Briar Cliff. Basconcillo had 36 total digs and Pope had 95 assists.