Tyler Price, Assistant Athletic Director of Athletics for Sports Information
SIOUX CITY, Iowa – The No. 2 nationally ranked Park University women’s volleyball team defeated American Midwest Conference rival No. 3 Columbia College in five sets (19-25, 25-15, 17-25, 25-20, 16-14) to capture the 2018 NAIA Women’s Volleyball National Championship, presented by Delta Hotels, on Saturday night in Sioux City, Iowa inside the Tyson Events Center.
Led by head coach Mike Talamantes, this marks the second NAIA Women’s Volleyball national championship for the Pirates in its program history.
The Pirates end its season with an overall record of 36-1, while the Cougars fall to 42-5 to end its year.
Park now has a total of seven NAIA Volleyball national championships in its history, as the men’s volleyball program captured titles in 2003, 2008, 2012, 2014 and 2017.
Coach Talamantes has earned five of those with women’s national titles in 2014 and 2018 and men’s championships in 2012, 2014 and 2017.
All three of Park’s matches this season against the Cougars went five sets, as Park defeated Columbia in five sets on October 15, then fell to CC on November 10 in the AMC Championship.
This will marked Columbia’s 10th appearance in the NAIA National Championship match, they are 4-6 in the event.
This is the first appearance in the national championship match since 2014, when the Pirates brought the crown to Parkville, Missouri with a three set win over the defending National Champion University of Texas at Brownsville (25-23, 25-19, 25-16).
Nada Meawad was selected as the 2018 NAIA National Championship Most Valuable Player award winner for her incredible tournament. The sophomore had 36 kills in the national championship match.
Celina Monteiro was selected the 2018 NAIA National Tournament Defender of the Year, as she had 23 digs in the victory and head coach Talamantes was selected the 2018 NAIA National Championship Tournament Coach of the Year.
In the first set, Park scored five-straight after the teams split the first eight points and Columbia led 5-4, up four points before Columbia could recover and stop the 5-0 run. In the run, the Pirates benefitted from a pair of Cougar errors and Nada Meawad’s first two kills on the match.
The Pirates stayed in the set with ties at 16- and 17-all, but the Cougars used a 5-0 run to go in front 22-17, stopped by Nada Meawad’s kill at 22-18. The Pirates were able to score once more, but the Cougars claimed the set 25-19 on Maria Sandoval’s service ace, the Cougars’ fourth of the opening frame.
In the second, two kills from Nada Meawad, another from Noura Meawad and one more from Maren Roper helped Park build a 6-1 advantage in the second, and Noura notched another kill 10 points in to the set to give Park an 8-2 lead.
The Pirates’ run continued on another Noura Meawad kill, up 11-2, and the Pirates went to Nada Meawad a play later to push the lead to double digits. Park’s lead hit 14-2 before the Cougars were able to halt the run.
Columbia didn’t get closer than eight for the rest of the set, and by the end of two, and Corina Rodriguez had an ace to establish set point, followed by Nada Meawad’s 12th kill of the match, a kill that delivered a 25-15 win for the Pirates to pull even in the match.
In the third, Columbia began to pull away from a 7-all tie midway through the fourth, as Park found itself down 12-8 when Sabino got a hand on Maren Roper’s attack, a ball that couldn’t be handled on the Pirates’ end to go down by four.
The Pirates never gave up and put together a stellar fourth set and put the set away when de Oliveira floated a tip over the top of Columbia’s blocking, completing a 25-20 win that had Park hitting .429.
Through four, the Pirates had both Roper and Nada Meawad in double figures, as Meawad had 29 kills, while Roper had 10 kills and three blocks.
Nada Meawad took her count of kills past 30 with Park’s first two points in the fifth, and her 32nd kill of the match gave the Pirates a 3-1 lead in the decider.
Columbia scored the set’s first point, but it was Park who gained early momentum, forcing a Columbia timeout up 5-1 when de Oliveira made good on a free ball, getting a set from Gomes to paint the middle of the Cougar back row.
The Cougars finally found an answer for Park’s stingy defense as Sandoval scored from the right pin to stop Park’s run, but the kill was immediately followed by an error at the same pin, putting Park in front 6-2.
Columbia did cut the lead to 7-5, but the Pirates were able to regroup, using both timeouts before the switch, which came at 8-5 on a Cougar attacking error.
The Cougars were able to tie the set, 9-9, when the Pirates couldn’t handle an attack from Andersen, but Noura Meawad responded with a kill to regain a 10-9 lead.
Park broke a back-and-forth trend with a point that saw both Gomes and Meawad spill to the floor near the left standard, going up 12-10, but the Cougars got a block to record a late 13-all tie.
That’s where Nada Meawad took over, issuing a kill to make it 14-13, and she found a perfectly slotted ball past 15 points for the national championship winner at 16-14.
2018 NAIA Women’s Volleyball All-Tournament Team
Columbia – Kiersten Anderson, Barbara Sabino and Manuela Vargas
Dordt (Iowa) – Ema Altena
Grand View – Kelsey Redmond
Lindsey Wilson (Ky.) – Sarah Cruz
Midland (Neb.) – Priscilla O’Dowd and Jessica Peters
Park – Danna Gomes and Maren Roper
Rocky Mountain (Mont.) – Hailey Copinga
Southern Oregon – Makayla Hoyt
Viterbo (Wisc.) – Katie Frohmader and Lydia Xu
National Tournament Defender of the Year – Celina Monteiro – Park
National Tournament Most Valuable Player – Nada Meawad – Park
National Tournament Coach of the Year – Mike Talamantes – Park
Champions of Character Selection: Providence (Mont.)
National Tournament Service Award: Stew McDole – Graceland