KOKOMO, Ind. — The Indiana University Kokomo volleyball team continues to make history, hosting its first-ever national tournament game Saturday (November 17).
The Cougars face St. Xavier University at 1 p.m.in a first-round matchup in the NAIA tournament, competing for a trip to Sioux City, Iowa, for the pool play tournament that will determine the national champions.
River States Conference (RSC) Coach of the Year Heather Hayes said the team is thrilled to achieve another historic milestone, after going undefeated in conference play, and earning its fourth-straight invitation to the national tournament.
We are beyond surprised and excited to have this opportunity,” she said. “Our program continues to grow each year and achieve new firsts.”
The game will take place this Saturday at Cougar Gym, 507 E. Superior Street. Tickets are $8 for general admission. IU Kokomo faculty, staff, and students may enter free with a Crimson Card, and children 12 and younger also are admitted free.
Hayes encouraged all fans to support the team by attending the game — adding that the Cougars are undefeated at home this season and want to maximize the home court advantage.
We are grateful to play in front of our home crowd on such a big stage,” she said. “Our match will be a tough challenge, and we would greatly appreciate the support of as many fans as possible.”
Like the IU Kokomo Cougars, the St. Xavier Cougars (27-9 overall, 17-1 conference) won their conference (Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference) regular season and tournament championships.
The IU Kokomo Cougars (34-4 overall, 16-0 conference) include RSC Player of the Year Nyssa Baker (Fort Wayne/Snider HS), a sophomore middle hitter who earned the honor for the second year in a row. She leads the RSC and NAIA with a hitting percentage of .442, and lead the conference with 108 total blocks. She ranks sixth nationally and first in the conference with 1.21 blocks per set.
Joining Baker on the first team all-conference are junior outside hitter McKenna Lundy (Indianapolis/Roncalli HS), and sophomore libero Macee Rudy (Middletown/Shenandoah HS). Freshman setter Kendal Williams (Edinburgh/Columbus East HS) was selected second team all-conference.
The team went undefeated in regular season conference play to earn the regular season championship, then swept Brescia University for the tournament title. This is the fourth straight year the Cougars have qualified for the NAIA tournament.
The NAIA volleyball national championship includes a field of 44 teams. Twenty-four, including IU Kokomo, will compete in 12 national championship opening round matches played on campus sites nationwide, while the top 20 seeds receive an opening round bye. The 12 opening round winners join the top 20 at the final site for a 32-team pool play tournament starting Tuesday, November 27, at the Tyson Events Center in Sioux City, Iowa. The top two teams from each pool advance to single elimination championship play.
The national championship game will be played at 7 p.m. Saturday, December 1.
Indiana University Kokomo serves north central Indiana.