NewsLady Cougars Ready for Another Shot at NCCAA Title
written by Dave Parsons, Sports Information Director
MARION, Ind. - After finishing as the national runner-up for the first time in program history last year, the Mount Vernon Nazarene University women's volleyball team is ready for another run at the National Christian College Athletic Association National Tournament that the Lady Cougars hope culminates with the program's first national title this time.
The 10-team event gets under way on Thursday at Indiana Wesleyan University with each team slated for two pool play matches. Two more pool play matches will follow on Friday, and then the top two teams from each pool will advance to the single elimination portion of the tournament on Saturday.
MVNU (28-6), which is making its thirteenth straight trip to the national tournament after winning the East Region title for the twelfth time in the past 13 years, is seeded fifth in the competitive field. The Lady Cougars are led by junior setter Katey Percival, the East Region Player of the Year and an All-American candidate who is averaging 12.09 assists per game. Senior right side hitter Carrie Mason (3.16 kills per game), senior outside hitter Jessica Harding (3.11 kills per game), and sophomore outside hitter Amanda Stevens (3.55 kills per game) lead a potent attacking front line, while senior middle hitter Chelsea Knight (1.26 blocks per game) and sophomore middle hitter Jenny Weaver (1.24 blocks per game) have both been strong at the net. Senior libero Jeni Vanderhoof leads the MVNU defense with 367 digs and has recorded 619 serve reception attempts with only 37 errors (94.0 percent).
"We are excited to have the opportunity to represent our institution and the East Region in this national championship," said MVNU head coach Paul Swanson. "This is our thirteenth straight appearance in the NCCAA National Tournament and it never gets old. We are very appreciative of the NCCAA for conducting this great national championship for volleyball."
The Lady Cougars will open pool play against host Indiana Wesleyan at 4:00 p.m. on Thursday. The Lady Wildcats, who are seeded fourth in the tournament, are currently 20-9.
MVNU will then take on top-seeded and defending champion Olivet Nazarene (Ill.) University at 8:00 p.m. on Thursday in a rematch of last year's championship match. The Lady Tigers are currently 27-7 and ranked 20th in the latest NAIA national poll.
On Friday, the Lady Cougars will face eighth-seeded Hope International (Calif.) University at 2:00 p.m. The Royals are making their first appearance in the tournament in 10 years and enter play with a 16-11 record.
MVNU will close out pool play with a 7:00 p.m. match against ninth-seeded Oklahoma Wesleyan University. The Lady Eagles enter play with a 15-16 overall record.
The other pool consists of second-seeded Palm Beach Atlantic (Fla.) University, third-seeded Union (Tenn.) University, sixth-seeded Christian Heritage (Calif.) College, seventh-seeded Trinity International (Ill.) University, and tenth-seeded Cedarville University.