Slugs are opening their season at the Boxer Kickoff Volleyball Invitational
FOREST GROVE - It will be the best in the west against some of the best of the east in 2008 a strong field of playoff-caliber teams will square off in the fourth annual Boxer Kickoff Volleyball Invitational, to be held Aug. 30 and 31 at the Pacific Athletic Center.
The Boxers will host five teams who advanced to the NCAA Division III National Tournament in 2007. The field includes four nationally ranked teams, two conference champions and two squads with more than 25 wins last season.
Tournament action begins both days at 10:00 a.m., with a total of seven matches played each day. A complete schedule can be viewed at www.goboxers.com/vb/kickoff <http://www.goboxers.com/vb/kickoff> . Daily admission is $5 for adults, $4 for senior citizens and $3 for high school students. Pacific faculty, staff and students are admitted free of charge.
The top two teams in the Northwest Conference join Pacific in the seven-team field. Pacific Lutheran amassed a 16-0 conference record, a 23-4 overall mark, No. 16 national ranking and their second straight NWC title before losing in the semifinals of the NCAA West Region Tournament to rival Puget Sound. PLU opens the 2008 season ranked 14th in the CBS College Sports Network/AVCA Division III Preseason Top-25 Poll.
The Loggers, meanwhile, won the West Regional by scoring a 3-2 thriller over western power La Verne. That sent UPS to the Division III¹s elite eight, where they lost in the national quarterfinals to Wis.-Whitewater. UPS finished the 2007 campaign with 20-9 overall record, a 12-4 conference mark and a No. 9 national ranking. They begin the season with a No. 7 ranking, the highest in the seven-team field.
The host Boxers are coming off one of their best years in recent history, finishing 14-9 in 2007 and fourth in the Northwest Conference. Pacific won six of it's last eight matches last year and remained in contention for a NCAA playoff spot until dropping a five-game thriller at Linfield. The tournament will be the debut for new head coach Lena Chan, who took the program in May.
Cal State East Bay will appear in their fourth straight Boxer Kickoff. The Pioneers continue to be one of the region¹s top independent teams, earning as spot in the NCAA West Regional again in 2007. The Pioneers finished the season with a 29-5 record and a No. 12 national ranking before losing to SCIAC champion La Verne in the regional semifinals. The Pioneers are ranked No. 12 in the AVCA preseason poll.
Christopher Newport University of Virginia News, Va., posted one of the best years in school history in 2007, winning the USA South Conference with an 18-0 league record and a 33-7 conference mark. The Captains earned the USA South¹s automatic berth to the NCAA Tournament, losing to No. 2 Juniata in a five-game thriller, and enter the season with a No. 25 preseason ranking.
Neumann College of Aston, Pa., won the Pennsylvania Athletic Conference tournament as the No. 2 seed, advancing to the NCAA Tournament where they lost to Elizabethtown in the first round. Neumann finished 2007 with a 23-11 record, their best mark since 1999.
UC Santa Cruz rounds out the tournament field and makes their first appearance at the Boxer Kickoff. The Banana Slugs, a Division III Independent, finished 2007 with a 14-18 record.