Kansas City, Mo. - Earning the program's third NAIA Volleyball National Championship appearance and second bid in the last three seasons, the Saint Xavier University women's volleyball team will take on No. 15 Madonna University (Mich.) in the 2012 NAIA Volleyball National Championship Opening Round on Saturday, November 17, in Livonia, Mich. The Cougars are one of 24 squads that will face off in opening round play, while the top 11 ranked qualifying teams, plus host school Morningside University (Iowa), will automatically receive a bye for the remainder of the National Championship, which takes place in Sioux City, Iowa, starting on Tuesday, November 27. The opening round match is tentatively scheduled for a 12 p.m. (eastern) start Saturday at the Madonna Activities Center in Livonia, Mich.
"We are excited about this opening round match-up, because it won't be a lengthy bus trip and we have seen Madonna already this year so we have some familiarity with them," said SXU women's volleyball coach Robert Heersema. "They are a very talented team and their head coach, Jerry Abraham, just earned his 1,000th career victory, so it is going to be a tough match. I know that our players are up to the challenge."
Madonna comes into the Opening Round match with a 33-7 overall record and swept the Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference (WHAC) regular season and tournament titles this year. The Crusaders are led by junior setter Evia Prieditis, who recently claimed both the WHAC's Volleyball Player and Setter of the Year awards. She has a team-leading 1,528 assists to go along with 108 kills, 34 service aces and 361 digs. Madonna is currently riding a five-match winning streak.
Saint Xavier (31-12 overall/18-1 CCAC) took the No. 2 seed into last week's Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference (CCAC) Volleyball Tournament and defeated No. 7 seed Roosevelt University in the first round and No. 3 seed Trinity Christian College in the semifinals. SXU fell in the CCAC Tournament championship Saturday to No. 1 seed University of St. Francis (Ill.), but by finishing in second place in both the regular season standings and the tournament the Cougars received one of the conference's automatic bids to the NAIA Volleyball National Championships.