Cal Baptist wins NAIA Championship
DAVENPORT, Iowa --- Together was the word chanted exiting every huddle, and together was how No. 1 California Baptist University won its seventh NAIA National Invitational title on Saturday.
Though they were led offensively by a monster night from tournament MVP Adiel Tiedjop, it was a complete effort in every facet of the game that allowed the Lancers to defeat Missouri Baptist in straight sets (30-15, 30-21, 30-25).
"Everything came together tonight and we had our best match of the year," said Head Coach Ryan McGuyre. "I have a great coaching staff working with me and they got the guys ready to perform. I am so proud of the way our team played out there."
The Lancers came out firing from the first serve and never took their foot off the gas, winning the title in less than 90 minutes. CBU had a .404 attacking percentage, scored on 10 aces and had 26 digs on the night, all while holding the Spartans to a .213 attacking percentage.
Tiedjop had 21 kills on his way to hitting a blistering .600 in the match. He also had three assists, three aces and five digs on his way to tournament MVP. Tiedjop, a senior, hit .500 for the tournament, ripping 57 kills at a clip of 5.17 per set.
"I was so happy to see Tiedjop go out on top," said McGuyre. "He played great for us down the stretch and really turned it on in this final match."
"This was my third championship match," said Tiedjop. "We lost the first two that I played in and I did not what to lose a third. My teammates played great and led the way for me tonight, I just wanted to win it for them."
Blair Penner was also named to the All-Tournament Team as he led the way for CBU with 169 assists.
"Blair set the tone for us tonight with his serves and just how he conducted himself as a captain," said McGuyre. "Once I saw that he was dialed in, I knew the rest of the guys would follow and that we were in good shape."
After already having defeated the Spartans in straight sets earlier in the tournament the Lancers only improved their play the second time around. MBU, who had won a five-set marathon against host St. Ambrose the night before to advance to the finals, could not match the intensity, focus, firepower or determination of the Lancers.
Every time the Spartans came up with a great dig the Lancers would come up with one of their own and for every emphatic kill MBU was able to muster, CBU had three to follow.
The third set was the only real challenge MBU could rally coming within five points of CBU. The Spartans held off championship point by blocking a kill attempt from Tiedjop, but Penner went right back to the senior on the next point, setting Tiedjop up for the final kill of the season.
"We had a total team effort not only tonight, but throughout the whole tournament," said McGuyre. "Levi Cabral can be the best player on the floor whenever he wants, but he really focused on making his teammates around him better. Bryce Easter gave us big sets the first time around against MBU and is almost like a fourth coach on our bench. Ricky Brazee gets lost in the mix as well, but I felt he should have been All-Tournament. All the guys came together and made us into a great team at just the right time."
As a team CBU hit .368 for the tournament and held opponents to a .174 attacking percentage. The Lancers had 31.5 blocks, 38 aces and 112 digs all while dropping only one set in the four matches they played. CBU closes the season with a 23-11 record and MBU finishes 26-11.
After having fallen in the last two championship matches CBU returns to the podium for its seventh title. No other team has more than two NAIA National Invitational Titles since the first tournament in 1999.
Adiel Tiedjop (California Baptist)
Vladimir Frenc (Cardinal Stritch)
Hayden Grove (St. Ambrose)
Matt Mahoney (Missouri Baptist)
Drew Piedmont (Missouri Baptist)
Blair Penner (California Baptist)
Coach of the Year
Ryan McGuyre (California Baptist)
courtesy Cal Baptist