KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Coming off the program’s first NAIA National Tournament quarterfinal appearance since the 2000 season, the Bellevue University volleyball team enters the 2022 season ranked No. 3 in the NAIA Women’s Volleyball Coaches’ Top 25 Poll.
Two-time defending national champion Missouri Baptist is ranked No. 1, while 2021 GPAC Champion Jamestown enters as the nation’s No. 2 team. Jamestown knocked the Bruins out of last year’s National Tournament in the quarterfinals.
Earlier this week, the Bruins were picked as the pre-season favorites to win the 2022 North Star Athletic Association title.
Bellevue returns 10 letterwinners and all six starters from last season’s squad that placed second in the NSAA regular season and post-season tournament, advancing to the NAIA National Tournament for the 14th time in school history.
Leading the way for BU will be senior first-team All-American setter Olivia Galas. She is a three-time first-team All-American and four-time NSAA Setter of the Year selection. First-team All-American outside hitter Eve Fountain returns after leading the Bruins with 438 kills and finishing second on the team with 439 digs. Other top returners include senior outside hitter Sierra Athen (all-NSAA, all-Region, 2019 second-team All-American, and 2021 third-team All-American) and sophomore middle blocker Haley Fleischman (first team all-NSAA and all-Region, NSAA and North Central Region Freshman of the Year).
Fellow conference rival Viterbo is ranked No. 9 in the preseason poll.
The Bruins’ 2022 schedule features eight matchups against teams ranked in the top 25.
BU will begin the 2022 campaign next week at the College of Idaho Tournament in Caldwell, Idaho on Aug. 19-20. The tournament will feature a battle with No. 7-ranked Corban University on Aug. 20