The Columbia College volleyball team lost for the first time in the NAIA national tournament, defeated 22-25, 21-25, 22-25 by Azusa Pacific University (Calif.) on Thursday in Sioux City, Iowa.
The No. 5 ranked Cougars, who finished 2-1 in pool play, will still advance to the 12-team single-elimination bracket beginning Friday because they finished second in their pool. The top two teams from each pool after three matches advance to the next round. Azusa Pacific is the top team from the pool.
Flavia Lino led the Cougars with 19 kills. Luana Branco had 36 assists, and Tally Mattos added 14 digs.
Columbia College is tied among current NAIA schools with three national championships. Fresno Pacific, the reigning champion and No. 1 seed this year, also has won three titles. Each team is making its 15th consecutive appearance at the national tournament.
The Cougars play at 9 a.m. Friday against Georgetown College (Ky.). Columbia College lost to Georgetown in the first match of the season.
If they win the match, the Cougars will play in the quarterfinal round later in the day at 3:45 p.m. against Fresno Pacific. The semifinals and championship match are held Saturday.