Bellevue hosting NAIA’s largest regular-season volleyball tournament

The beast is back. Or at least that’s what Bellevue volleyball coach Trish Siedlik calls it.

Bellevue is hosting the 26-team GoSarpy.com Labor Day Classic this weekend, including Peru State College. That makes it the largest NAIA regular-season tournament in the country.

The tournament takes place Thursday through Saturday. On Friday and Saturday at the Lied Activity Center, where multiple courts can be used at once, matches begin at 9 a.m. and final ones are slated to start at 7 p.m.

“It’s 15-hour days, but it’s an awesome environment,” Siedlik said.

She said the event started 13 years ago as a five-day tournament and gradually grew.

Now it has become a financial boon as this year’s tournament includes approximately 600 athletes. Siedlik said the tournament will bring more than $30,000 to the area.

Elsewhere in volleyball, UNK and Wayne State moved up in this week’s NCAA Division II poll.

UNK climbed three spots to No. 5 after going 4-0 at the Cougar Classic in California. UNK libero Ellie McDonnell, setter Lindsey Smith and right-side hitter Mary Katherine Wolfe were named to the all-tournament team.

Unranked in the preseason, Wayne State is at No. 20 after it went 4-0 at the Embry-Riddle tournament in Florida.

In other Midlands notes:

» Doane’s Bryce Cooney was one of 34 placekickers named to the Fred Mitchell Award watch list. The award is for the top kicker in FCS, NCAA Divisions II and III and NAIA. Cooney, a Millard South grad, is the only NAIA kicker on the list.

» Daniel Whitehall tied the Hastings men’s soccer program’s career scoring record with a hat trick in its season-opener, a 5-0 win over Bethany (Kan.) on Sunday. Whitehall tied the mark of 73 goals set by Jordan Green in 2012.

» The Bellevue men’s soccer team is off to a 3-0-1 start, which includes a 3-2 road win over No. 7 Columbia (Mo.) last Wednesday. It was Bellevue’s first win over a ranked opponent since 2015.

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