St. Ambrose men’s volleybal national runners-up

In the first match of the 2011 NAIA Men’s National Invitational Volleyball Tournament, the Saint Ambrose Men’s Volleyball team started pool play by facing the defending national champions, in California Baptist. An NAIA pool play record of 1,218 fans jammed into Lee Lohman Arena to see the two teams play. In the first set the Lancers took control of the match early and often. As the Bees would only hit .174 compared to .464 for the Lancers, and they would win set number one 25-18. In the second set, the Lancers would start the set on a 7-2 run as the Bees tried to make a comeback. The Lancers would respond and take set two, 25-20.  In the third set, the Bees would start on fire and had an 8-3 run. They wouldn’t look back as they would win 25-23. In the fourth set, it was a back and forth contest, but the Lancers were too much as they would win 29-27. With the win, the Lancers won the pool and would go to the semi-finals.

The Bees still had a chance to get into the semi-finals with a win over the Wildcats of Johnson and Wales.  In the match, the Wildcats held close to the Bees, but the Bees proved to be too much for the Wildcats. The Bees would move on to the semi-finals for a second straight year by sweeping the Wildcats in straight sets, 25-23, 25-18, 25-13. Dan Dowjotas paced the Bees with 14 kills and Kyle Schwetz chipped in with 10. Michael Neuner led the team with 32 assists.

Next for the Bees would face the Lindenwood Lions in the national semi-final. The first set would go back and forth until the Bees would use a late 4-0 run to take the first set 25-22. The second set would be like the first but the Lions this time would use their own 4-0 run late to win 25-23. In set number three the Bees would use a 6-0 run to win the set by a score of 25-19. In the fourth set the Lions would use a 6-0 run of their own to win 25-19. In the fifth and deciding set, the Bees would jump out to an early 5-2 lead and never looked back, as they would win 15-13.  Hayden Grove led everyone with 23 kills in the match.

With the win, the Bees would look for redemption against the Lancers of California Baptist for the national championship.  From the first set on the Lancers controlled the match, quieting the NAIA record crowd of 2,317 in attendance. The Lancers would win their second straight national championship, sweeping the Bees in straight sets 25-14, 25-22, and 25-18.  The Bees had two players named to the all-tournament team in juniors Dowjotas and Grove.  Dowjotas had a total of 51 kills in the four games, and Grove had 45.  The Bees end their national-runner up season with a record of 30-6.

The St. Ambrose men’s volleyball team ended their season as national runners up with a record of 30-6. Over 1,200 fans showed up to cheer on the Fighting Bees, setting an NAIA pool play attendance record.
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