(Thursday, August 9; Sioux Center, Iowa) Dordt College, back-to-back runner-up finishers in the 2016 and 2017 NAIA Volleyball National Championships, is pegged as the pre-season GPAC Volleyball favorite in the recently released GPAC Pre-Season Poll.
The Defenders tallied 120 points the voting done by 12 conference coaches and took ten first place votes.
“We are honored to be recognized at the top of our conference in this preseason poll and we believe other GPAC teams are also worthy of this honor. To have this be the start and first impression on our 2018 season is a confidence builder. We also recognize the work still to be accomplished on our practice court as we begin our season. Our message to our athletes is purely about growth each day. By the grace of God, we want to grow in our relationship with Him while deepening our court relationships with one another. These two focal points will help us strive for excellence in each skill area and team system that we implement. From those focal points, we anticipate an exciting start to our season of competition,” said Dordt College volleyball coach Chad Hanson.
The Defenders posted a 34-8 overall record in 2017 and finished the GPAC season with a 14-2 mark and the Defenders were tri-champions in the regular season race.
The Defenders open the 2018 season on August 24 at the Red Raider Classic in Orange City, Iowa and will play MidAmerica Nazarene and Corban before facing Baker and Waldorf the following week.
Dordt’s first GPAC match is September 4 against Mount Marty and the Defenders open the home schedule on September 11 against Northwestern.
Dordt returns seven players who played in at least 41 matches in 2017.
The 39th Annual NAIA National Volleyball Championship is set for November 27-December 1, 2018, at the Tyson Events Center in Sioux City, Iowa. The GPAC regular and postseason champions will earn the automatic berth to the NAIA Volleyball Championship.
The NAIA Volleyball Championship will consist of 44 teams in 2018, with 32 advancing to the final site in Sioux City, Iowa. There will be 20 automatic qualifiers for the final site from the final ranking (top 19 plus local host). The other 12 teams will come from Opening Round winners played on November 17, 2018, at on-campus sites.
The 2018 GPAC volleyball season will consist of 16 conference matches with 12 teams competing for the conference crown. Coaches were not allowed to vote for their own team in the preseason poll.
2018 GPAC Preseason Volleyball Coaches’ Poll:
Place – Team – Pts (1st Place Votes)
1. Dordt - 120 (10)
2. Northwestern - 110 (2)
3. Hastings - 98
4. Midland - 96
5. Doane - 70
6. Jamestown - 67
7. Morningside - 64
8. Concordia - 50
9. Briar Cliff - 42
10. College of Saint Mary - 31
11. Dakota Wesleyan – 26
12. Mount Marty - 18