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MBU men’s volleyball team heads to nationals 

The Missouri Baptist University men’s volleyball team will face off with the Saint Xavier University Cougars in the inaugural 2019 NAIA Men’s Volleyball National Championship at Grand View University in Des Moines, Iowa on April 16 at 4 p.m. The Cougars are making their first appearance at the National Tournament and are entering the competition with an overall record of 20-7.

The Spartans are the only team to enter Nationals with an undefeated record of 28-0 and were ranked No. 1 in the final coaches’ poll.

The MBU Spartans won an automatic bid to the National tournament when they claimed the conference title at the American Midwest/Great Plains/Kansas Collegiate Unaffiliated Conference Championship by defeating the No. 2-ranked Park University Pirates in three sets on April 6.

Three Spartans (Luka Cajic, Miljan Kastratovic and Steven Rodriguez) were named to the 12-member 2019 NAIA All-American Team on April 15 by the American Volleyball Coaches Association, with senior Cameron Hibbler receiving an Honorable Mention. In addition, Head Men’s Volleyball Coach Tom Young was named the National Coach of the Year and freshman Miljan Kastratovic was named Newcomer of the Year.

On April 17 at 4 p.m., the Spartans will face the Park University Pirates for the fourth time this season in a highly-anticipated match before closing-out pool play against Grand View University, the tournament host, on April 18 at 7 p.m. The Spartans last played against the Grand View Vikings at the 2018 National Invitational Semifinals, where the Spartans were defeated in four sets.

The top two teams from each pool will advance to the Semifinals on April 19, with the National Championship match to take place on April 20 at 6 p.m. All matches will be streamed on the NAIA Network and the semifinal matches and championship matches will be broadcast on ESPN3.