Mesa, Arizona ~ The Benedictine University at Mesa Redhawks women’s volleyball team will make history Friday when it competes in its first two matches as a member of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) during the Arizona Christian University tournament in Phoenix.
“I am a sentimental person,” said head coach Sonia Jones. “I remember things like the first match, the first roster, the first lineup. Our team has been putting in a lot of work in the preseason and we are proud to represent Benedictine University at Mesa in our first match ever.”
The Redhawks will face Valley City State University (Valley City, N.D.) in their tournament opener at 2:00 p.m. They will take on Faulkner University (Montgomery, Ala.) immediately following their first match at 4:00 p.m.
The matches not only mark the first the women’s volleyball team will play at the NAIA level, but they will also be the first NAIA-level contests in any sport for Benedictine University at Mesa.
“Today marks a very special day for Benedictine University at Mesa and our athletics department as we begin play in the NAIA,” said Director of Athletics Steve Schafer. “I cannot begin to tell you how excited I am for our coaching staff and players. This day has been long anticipated and I’m just very happy that it’s finally here.”
Benedictine University at Mesa was accepted into the NAIA this past spring and will boast 10 athletic programs that will compete at the NAIA level during the 2015-16 season. Benedictine University at Mesa is a member of the California Pacific Conference (CAL PAC).
Benedictine University at Mesa is a branch campus of Benedictine University, an independent Roman Catholic institution located in Lisle, Illinois, just 25 miles west of Chicago. Founded in 1887, Benedictine is ranked No. 1 among the country’s fastest-growing campuses between 2002-2012 in The Chronicle of Higher Education’s list of private nonprofit doctoral institutions, and Forbes magazine named Benedictine among “America’s Top Colleges” for the fifth consecutive year in 2015.