No. 2 Park University women’s volleyball set for NAIA Tournament

Sports

PARKVILLE, Mo. — After what feels like an eternity, the NAIA Women’s Volleyball Championship begins this weekend.

The second ranked Park University women are set to host Indiana University East to open tournament play on Saturday.

“Oh my gosh, we’ve been ready for quite a while now. We’re really excited,” senior outside hitter, Alissa Flint said.

Women’s volleyball is normally played in the fall. But with the pandemic, this season was unlike any other.

The Pirates played their first regular season match in September 2020, with the final one being played in March.

“This year was kind of like we’re playing all year. So it was kind of different. But it’s actually as Alissa said, I think it’s fun to play all year,” senior opposite hitter Noura Meawad said.

But what isn’t fun — all the COVID protocols, especially wearing a mask on the court.

“It’s so hard to play with masks. Even though it’s safe and everything. But we move all the time. We run, we jump up. We do everything that needs fresh air,” Meawad said.

At 19-3 Park has rolled through the season, thanks to heavy hitter Nada and Noura Meawad, and also the team’s defense. The Pirates are hoping those things, mixed with their experience will take them deep in the tournament.

“This year coming back, this team really wanted to stay the course as a group. So, that’s why I’m not really worried about how we’re going to handle the matches now,” Park women’s volleyball coach Michael Talamantes said.

For the first time during this chaotic 2020 season, Park feels like it truly has home-court advantage this weekend.

“This will be our first home game where we’re allowed to have visitors because we have been closed all season…We’re just glad to at least have one game where friends and family can come watch us,” Flint said.

Park’s opening round match against Indiana University East is April 17 at Park University’s Breckon Sports Center. First serve is at 1 p.m.

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