AZUSA, Calif. -- The NAIA's No. 11-ranked Azusa Pacific earned its first-ever back-to-back invitations to the NAIA Volleyball National Championship tournament, the sixth national tournament appearance in program history for the Cougars, who claimed fourth place at the NAIA Region II Playoffs in Fresno. Pool assignments and schedules for the 27th annual NAIA Volleyball National Championship held on the campus of Columbia College (Mo.) Nov. 29 through Dec. 2, will be released Mon., Nov. 20 on the NAIA website at www.naia.org.
Azusa Pacific finished in a 3-way tie with Biola and Point Loma Nazarene for fourth place in the GSAC standings, and the Cougars defeated Biola in the first round of the NAIA Region II Playoffs before suffering back-to-back sweeps to eventual Region II champion, No. 2-ranked Fresno Pacific, and the 2-time defending NAIA champion, No. 4-ranked California Baptist.
The GSAC was the NAIA’s only conference to send 4 representatives, and only 1 other region sent 4 representatives, as Region III sent 2 conference champions, an independent and an at-large team to the national tournament.
Outside of conference play, the Cougars have head-to-head experience with a pair of tournament teams, dropping a narrow 5-game battle at No. 12-ranked Hastings (Neb.) Sept. 15 before coming back from 2 games down to post a 5-game win over No. 10-ranked Missouri Baptist Sept. 28 in Fullerton.
Azusa Pacific advances to the NAIA Tournament with a 21-11 overall record after posting a 12-8 mark in GSAC play.