Park Upsets Defending National Champions to Advance to Championship

  0 Nathan Davis | April 22nd, 2017 | College - Men's Indoor, NAIA


  • Park 3, Missouri Baptist 1 (21-25, 28-26, 25-19, 25-23)
  • Park improves to 25-5; Missouri Baptist finishes at 27-3
  • Park advances to play Grand View in NAIA national championship
  • St. Louis, Missouri
  • Box Score

The Park University Pirates upset the Missouri Baptist Spartans 3-1 to advance to the NAIA national championship game where they will face the Vikings of Grand View University. Park halted Missouri Baptist’s hopes of winning the national championship four times in a row. Park dropped the first set 21-25 before winning the next three 28-26, 25-19, 25-23.

Both teams blocked well as Park finished with 13 and Missouri Baptist had 12. Park, as a team, hit .333% compared to Missouri Baptist’s .278%.

Sophomore opposite Oscar Tuero led the Pirates with 18 kills, followed by senior outside hitter Daniel Arteaga with 17 kills and eight digs. Senior middle blocker Murilo Pereira contributed seven kills on a .636 hitting percentage while freshman middle blocker Leandro Sodre had six kills on a .667 hitting percentage. Junior setter Milos Trivunic dished out 48 assists and senior libero Billy Crow picked up 11 digs.

For the Spartans, senior outside hitter Mico Janicijevic had 21 kills on a .314 hitting percentage. Freshman opposite Luka Cajic and senior outside hitter Daniel Prada each had 10 kills, while Cajic also had five digs. Junior setter Kyle Foley contributed 37 assists and two service aces. Senior libero Robert Hall finished with a team high 15 digs.

MBU jumped out to an early 7-3 lead from tough serving by Foley. Park used five kills to tie the score at 10-10 before a ball handling error on Trivunic gave the Spartans an 11-10 lead. A four point service run by Dylan Riley opened up the scoring for Park to take a 16-14 lead. The Spartans blocked their way back to a 22-20 lead before Park took a timeout. Prada scored twice and another Spartans block closed out the  first set for MBU 25-21.

The second set would see the Spartans take an early lead, 10-5, again due to tough serving from Cameron Hibbler. Park fought back to close the gap at 12-11, forcing MBU to take a timeout. The Spartans led all the way to set point, 24-23, before an attacking error from Janicijevic tied it at 24-24. A kill from Cajic gave the Spartans another set point 25-24. Park used a MBU attacking error followed by a service error to tie it once again at 26-26. Two kills from Arteaga gave the Pirates the second set, 28-26.

Park led for a majority of the third set, taking advantage of Spartan errors to go up 11-7. Janicijevic provided a spark with two kills to bring the Spartans within two, 10-12, before Park took a timeout. Out of the timeout, Park pushed its lead to 15-11, but a kill by Janicijevic stopped the sporing run. MBU was able to close the gap to one point, 15-16, but Park scored five in a row to go up 20-15. Errors hurt the Spartans again as they would give the third set to Park 25-19.

In the fourth set, Missouri Baptist took a 10-6 lead from tough serving by Foley. Crow served the Pirates to a 14-10 lead before an attacking error by Tuero stopped the bleeding for the Spartans. Park would continue to push its lead, going up 19-16. Janicijevic scored three times for the Spartans to bring score to 18-19 in favor of the Pirates. Two attacking errors from the Pirates combined with a kill from Janicijevic gave the Spartans a 23-21 lead. A service error from Hibbler brought the Pirates to within one, 22-23. Arteaga and Pereira each scored to give the Pirates set and match point, 24-23. An attacking error from Janicijevic would close out the match for the Pirates, 25-23.

Park advances to the NAIA national championship match where they will face Grand View University. In pool play, Park lost to Grand View 2-3.

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About Nathan Davis

Nathan Davis

Nathan Davis has been around volleyball his whole life. His senior year of high school he coached his own girl's high school volleyball team to a 27-6-1 record and a fourth place finish at the state tournament. He then went on to compete at the collegiate level for two years …

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