AZUSA, Calif. -- Azusa Pacific was rated sixth in today's final NAIA Coaches Top 25 poll, wrapping up an Opening Round bye and securing its place atop one of the six four-team pools at the final site of the 2011 NAIA Volleyball National Championship in Sioux City, Iowa.
Out of the 36-team field, the top 11 teams in the final rating plus a host bid earned automatic qualification to the final site, which hosts three days of pool play before moving into a single-elimination bracket format during the Nov. 29-Dec. 3 event at the Tyson Events Center/Gateway Arena in Sioux City. The remaining 24 teams not ranked in the top 11 will play Opening Round contests at campus sites throughout the nation on Saturday, Nov. 19. The 12 Opening Round winners will advance to the final site, and pool assignments for final-site play will be announced by 5 p.m. (Pacific) on Sunday, Nov. 20.
The Cougars, who opened the year at No. 6 in the preseason coaches poll, were ranked as high as third and moved up from No. 8 over the final six weeks of the regular season while winning 13 of its past 15 matches. With a 27-6 overall record, Azusa Pacific has a chance to set the program's regular-season wins record in Tuesday night's 7 p.m. regular-season finale, a non-conference clash with California Baptist, a former Golden State Athletic Conference member who will be one of the Cougars' future Pacific West Conference rivals beginning next year.