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Courtesy SAGU Athletics

2 Ovilla Christian grads help SAGU volleyball to first-ever NAIA National Championship Tourney appearance

KBEC Sports report

Kansas City, MO – The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics recently announced the teams and opening-round pairings for the 2021 NAIA Volleyball National Championship Tournament. And, for the first time in program history, the 48-team field will include the Lady Lions of Southwestern Assemblies of God University. 

SAGU received an automatic bid into the NAIA National Championship Opening Round after a three-set sweep of Wayland Baptist in the Sooner Athletic Conference Tournament championship match. 

The Lady Lions, which include two Ovilla Christian graduates and Waxahachie natives, enter the tournament with a 26-8 record on the season. 

Taylor Sauceda (defensive specialist, No. 2) and Molly Echard (setter, No. 8) have both seen time on the court as freshmen this season for SAGU. The two helped Ovilla Christian to multiple TAPPS state championships before joining the SAGU program.

The Lady Lions will travel to Fayette, Missouri to face Central Methodist University on Saturday, Nov. 20, in the 2021 NAIA Volleyball National Championship Opening Round.

The 48-team event will get underway with 24 National Championship Opening Round Matches at campus locations on Nov. 20. 

Central Methodist finished the regular season ranked No. 14 in the final 2021 NAIA Women’s Volleyball Coaches Top 25 Poll. The Eagles currently sit at 28-7 on the year and earned an automatic qualifier into the NAIA National Championship Opening Round after placing second in the Heart of America Conference.

The 24 opening-round winners on Nov. 20 will advance to the final site in Sioux City, Iowa for the 2021 NAIA Volleyball National Championship tournament. Those matches will be held Nov. 30-Dec. 4. 

This year’s tournament field includes 36 automatic qualifiers and 12 at-large selections. The automatic berths are determined by regular-season champions or runner-ups, conference tournament title winners or runner-ups, or by conference selection. At-large bids were determined by the final regular-season Women’s Volleyball Coaches’ Top 25 Poll. 

Final site pools will be determined on Sunday, Nov. 21, and released by 5 p.m.

The NAIA Network — the association’s official video-streaming home — will broadcast all matches, excluding the semifinals and championship matches, live at the 2021 NAIA Volleyball National Championship final site in Sioux City. The video platform, powered by Stretch Internet, allows users access to live video, statistics, and social interaction on a number of devices, including mobile. 

Single-day passes can be purchased for $9.95, while a pool play pass is $24.95 (Nov. 30-Dec. 1) and a championship package is available at $39.95.

The semifinal and championship matches will be streamed via ESPN3.

Opening Round Schedule

Saturday, Nov. 20 | Campus Sites

Opening Round Pairings

Visiting Team | Host Team

Edward Waters (Fla.) at Bellevue (Neb.)

McPherson (Kan.) at Jamestown (N.D.)

IU South Bend at Viterbo (Wis.)

Blue Mountain (Miss.) at Missouri Baptist

Midway (Ky.) at Park (Mo.)

Florida College at Providence (Mont.)

Florda National at College of St. Mary (Neb.)

Bryan (Tenn.) at Marian (Ind.)

Park Gilbert (Ariz.) at Corban (Ore.)

Cornerstone (Mich.) at Midland (Neb.)

Columbia International (S.C.) at Eastern Oregon

Life (Ga.) at Xavier (La.)

Saint Xavier (Ill.) at Dakota Wesleyan (S.D.)

SAGU (Texas) at Central Methodist (Mo.)

Texas Wesleyan at Columbia (Mo.)

Ave Maria (Fla.) at Concordia (Neb.)

Madonna (Mich.) at Indiana Wesleyan

Embry-Riddle (Ariz.) at Ottawa (Ariz.)

Bushnell (Ore.) at Montana Tech

IU Kokomo at Northwestern (Iowa)

Lindsey Wilson (Ky.) at Ottawa (Kan.)

Dakota State (S.D.) at Grand View (Iowa)

Bethel (Ind.) at Dordt (Iowa)

Westmont (Calif.) at Oregon Tech

About Travis M. Smith

Travis M. Smith serves as the digital sports director for KBEC Sports. He is the former managing editor of the Waxahachie Daily Light, Midlothian Mirror and Glen Rose Reporter.

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