The defending NAIA women’s volleyball national champion Park University will begin 2019 ranked No. 1 in the NAIA Preseason Coaches Top 25 poll.
The Pirates went 36-1 in 2018 and captured its second NAIA National Championship in program history on Dec. 1 in a five-set victory over rival Columbia College.
Park received all 18 first-place votes in the poll and is one of three teams from the American Midwest Conference ranked in the top four, the others include No. 2 Columbia and No. 4 Missouri Baptist.
The Pirates are led by ninth year head coach Mike Talamantes, who is the reigning AVCA/NAIA National Coach of the Year.
Park returns a strong core from its national championship squad including AVCA/NAIA National Player of the Year Nada Meawad who is a junior this season.
Celina Monteiro also returns for her senior campaign after earning the 2018 NAIA national championship tournament Defender of the Year award for her performance in Sioux City, Iowa.
Maren Roper and Paula de Oliveira also return at the middle blocker spots for the Pirates. Roper, from Platte City, was a all-tournament recipient and de Oliveira was selected to the AMC second team all-conference. Noura Meawad and Alissa Flint also return for their junior seasons. Meawad was a 2019 AMC second team all-conference performer and Flint earned a spot on the AMC honorable mention team.
The Pirates open the 2019 season on Friday, Aug. 23 as they host the 2019 Pirate Invitational inside the Breckon Sports Center.
Six Pirates Compete in 2019 Ban Johnson All-Star Game
Six Park players played under the bright lights of Kauffman Stadium on Monday, Aug. 5 in the 2019 Ban Johnson All-Star Game.
The six Pirates to showcase their talents on the field included Jackson Longhofer, Christian Suk, Sam Derks, Angel Lebron, Andy Dougan and newcomer Ryan Hagen.
Hagen joins the Pirates 2020 after transferring from Crowder College and will serve as a pitcher for Park.
Dougan and Derks each supplied the Johnson All-Star team with an RBI each and the Johnson team defeated the Ban All-Star team 5-1.
The Ban Johnson league dates back to 1927 and is named after former Major League Baseball executive Ban Johnson. The league consists of some of the finest Kansas City metro high school and collegiate baseball players.
The Royals have hosted the Ban Johnson All-Star game since the club’s inception in 1969.