Fresno Pacific (Calif.) Repeats as NAIA Volleyball National Champions


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SIOUX CITY, Iowa - No. 1 Fresno Pacific (Calif.) rallied from a two-game deficit to defeat No. 3 Concordia (Calif.), 3-2 (24-26, 27-29, 25-21, 25-15 and 15-11) to capture its second straight and fourth overall NAIA Volleyball Championship.  The Sunbirds have now won most volleyball titles (4) among the current NAIA member.

For the first time in NAIA history a volleyball national championship match has gone into the fifth and deciding game.  From 1986-89 the matches were best of three and only one match went into the deciding third game.

After 12 ties and four lead changes in game-one Concordia took a 1-0 lead in the match with a 26-24 win.  The Eagles carried the momentum into the second game and took an early 10-6 lead.  Concordia extended its lead to seven points (15-8) before Fresno Pacific rallied to tie the score at 22-22 and take a 24-23 lead.  The Eagles erased two FPU game points and scored three straight points to win game-two, 29-27.  The Sunbirds bounced back and took an early 9-3 lead in game-three and captured a 25-21 win.  Fresno Pacific again came out strong in game-four and cruised to a 25-15 win to tie the match at 2-2.  The Sunbirds were in control from start to finish in game-five and won 15-11.

Fresno Pacific was led by Thais Julio, who was named the tournament's Most Valuable Player, with a match-high 29 kills.  Keke Wang added 16 while Fabiana Leomil and Lisa Shilling each had 12 kills.  Tiffany Marinos posted a match-high 29 digs while Shu Liu had 69 assists.

Four players reached double digits in kills for Concordia led by Traci Weamer and Amber Ridens with 18 each.  Stephanie Scheele added 15 while Serrina Russo had 10.  Chelsea Scott led the Eagles with 27 digs while Russo posted 23 digs.  Concordia will end its season with a 31-6 overall record.

2008 Tachikara All-Tournament Team
Jill Baker, Azusa Pacific (Calif.)
Jessica Buffum, Biola (Calif.)
Meghan Warkentin, Biola (Calif.)
Noelle Dyk, California Baptist
She Fei, California Baptist
Flavia Lino, Columbia (Mo.)
Stephanie Sheele, Concordia (Calif.)
Traci Weamer, Concordia (Claif.)
Fabiana Leomil, Fresno Pacific (Calif.)
Shi Liu, Fresno Pacific (Calif.)
Erica Jenszen, Georgetown (Ky.)
Elissa Loynes, Lubbock Christian (Texas)
Hillary Hanno, Northwestern (Iowa)
Kylie Morel, Point Loma Nazarene (Claif.)


Tachikara National Tournament Most Valuable Player
Thais Julio, Fresno Pacific (Calif.)

National Tournament Coach of the Year
Dan Janzen, Fresno Pacific (Calif.)

National Tournament Champions of Character Award
Azusa Pacific (Calif.)

Article courtesy of NAIA media relations.

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