Jeff Malby, Office of Sports Information, 406.238.7376,

Rocky enters NAIA national volleyball tournament as No. 1 seed

BILLINGS, November 25, 2014 – The top-ranked Rocky Mountain College Battlin’ Bears will open the NAIA national volleyball tournament on Dec. 2 against Briar Cliff, Iowa (19-12), at 7:30 p.m. MDT.

The 24-team tournament is scheduled for Dec. 2-6 at the Tyson Events Center in Sioux City, Iowa.

The 29-2 Battlin’ Bears, winners of 28-straight matches, were among the 12 teams that received first-round byes. Rocky earned their bye by capturing the Frontier Conference tournament title, Nov. 15. Rocky is the only team from the Frontier at the national tournament.

The other 12 teams were determined by on-site campus playoffs that took place this past Saturday.

The 24 teams are divided into six, four-team pools. Pool play will take place Dec. 2-4. The top two teams from each pool advance to the single-elimination championship bracket, which begins Dec. 5. The championship match is Saturday, Dec. 6 at 6 p.m. and will be televised on ESPN3.

Beside Briar Cliff, the 12th seed, other teams in Rocky’s pool are 13th seed Lindsey Wilson, Ky., (33-3) and 24th seed Davenport, Mich., (35-7). The Bears will play Davenport Dec. 3 followed by Lindsey Wilson on Dec. 4.

This year’s Rocky team is the fourth Battlin’ Bears’ team to advance to the national tournament under the tutelage of eighth-year head coach Laurie Kelly. The other appearances for the Bears were 2010, 2011, and 2013.

According to Kelly, the team’s mindset is where it needs to be in order for the Bears to capture the program’s first national championship.

“They are positive, healthy, aggressive and we have had some amazing practices leading up to getting on the bus Friday for the trip to Sioux City,” Kelly said. “These girls are mentally tough, play their roles really well, but, most important, they are having fun.”

Kelly hopes that her girls come to compete and play like they have all season.

“Our non-conference and Frontier competition has prepared us,” Kelly said. “If we play like we have all season long, we will have a good chance to win it.

“We just want to just continue having fun,” Kelly added.