The six teams competing this year are No. 1 Saint Ambrose University (Davenport, Iowa), No. 2 Hope International University (Fullerton, Calif.), No. 3 Graceland University (Lamoni, Iowa), No. 4 Park University (Parkville, Mo.), No. 5 Missouri Baptist University (St. Louis, Mo.) and No. 6 Warner University (Lake Wales, Fla.).
Live video will be provided of each match this week by the SAU athletic department along with stats that will be posted on the official tournament website.
Host school St. Ambrose has qualified for three-straight national tournaments and spent all but two weeks as the No. 1 team in the country this season. The Fighting Bees will look to capture its first NAIA Championship in school history and brings with them a 30-2 record while the Jackets will be competing in its first-ever National Invitational Tournament and boast a 14-11 record as the third seed.
Graceland will take on SAU in the prime time match on Thursday (April 12) at 7 p.m.
Under head coach Chad McDole, the Jackets won the MAMVIC West conference tournament in five sets over Missouri Baptist and finished in a tie for second-place in the regular season standings.
| Click here for the championship game postgame recap |
Graceland has a win over No. 4 Park University on its resume this season and will look to advance in pool play as they face Warner (14-9) on Friday (April 13) at 12:30 p.m.
GU enters the tournament with mixed results against pool play opponents, falling twice to SAU in five sets and splitting a pair of games with the Lake Wales, Fla. based institution, besting the Royals , 3-0 (25-17, 25-21, 25-21), on Feb. 4 before Warner exacted revenge a month later on March 2 in Davenport by a score of 3-2 (25-18, 18-25, 26-24, 19-25, 12-15).
Saint Ambrose walked easily through the MAMVIC East, finishing 30-2 and a perfect 12-0 in conference play.
The Fighting Bees are led by Kyle Schwetz, who finished second in the MAMVIC East, hitting at a .425 percent pace, while Dan Dowjotas paced the entire conference with 393 total kills. SAU boasts a formidable serving squad as Kyle Schwetz posted 42 service aces over the course of the 2012 campaign.
No. 6 Warner is making its second-straight appearance at the National Invitational Tournament. The Royals, while the tournament's lowest seed, will look to make some noise as it has already handed the Fighting Bees one of its two losses on the season. Advancing to the conference tournament championship match against host school Hope International, Warner lost to Hope in three sets.
The Royals are led by Andre Calar who finished second in the MAMVIC National division with 229 kills. Warner also boasts a two-pronged attack headed by Robert Schramm and Skylar Lopas who have hit an impressive .363 and .322 percent, respectively, this season.
Graceland will have to finish first or second in Pool A in order to advance to the national semifinals. First place in Pool A will play the second place squad in Pool B and vice versa. The winners of the semifinal matches will then faceoff in the title game on Saturday (April 14) night.
Full Tournament Schedule
Thursday, April 12 (Pool Play)
Match 1 - Hope International vs. Missouri Baptist | 10 a.m.
Match 2 - St. Ambrose vs. Warner | 12:30 p.m.
Match 3 - Hope International vs. Park | 4 p.m.
Match 4 - St. Ambrose vs. Graceland | 7 p.m.
Friday, April 13 (Pool Play)
Match 5 - Park vs. Missouri Baptist | 10 a.m.
Match 6 - Graceland vs. Warner | 12:30 p.m.
Friday, April 13 (Semifinals)
Semi 1 - Winner Pool A vs. Second Pool B | 4 p.m.
Semi 2 - Winner Pool B vs. Second Pool A | 7 p.m.
Saturday, April 14 (Championship)
Championship - Winner Match 7 vs. Winner Match 8 | 7 p.m.
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