KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The Providence volleyball team cracked the Top 10 nationally for the first time in program history Wednesday, coming in at No. 10 in the first NAIA Women's Volleyball Coaches' poll of the season.
"We're really excited," Argos coach Arunas Duda said. "The girls have definitely earned it. It's a spot that shows that our program is definitely heading in the right direction and getting some national respect which is awesome. It's an exciting feeling to say that we're a Top 10 program in the country. A lot of years have went into this so I'm really excited about where we are right now."
The ranking comes after the Argos (4-0), who were ranked No. 14 in the preseason poll, went undefeated at the Big Sky Challenge in Butte this past weekend. The weekend included two wins over top-10 Grandview and Eastern Oregon, both of which the Argos jumped in the poll.
"This weekend showed our girls a lot," Duda said. "Once they got on the court they realized how comfortable and familiar it was for them. We added a few extra pieces that came in and performed really well. It just shows them that the sky is the limit and they have the opportunity to do some great things this year."
The Argos will travel to Omaha, Nebraska, in two weeks for a four-game tournament, including No. 7 Concordia (Neb.). The following weekend they'll travel to a three-game tournament in Arizona, including a matchup against No. 12 Bellevue.
The Argos will then enter into Frontier Conference play. Four of the six Frontier Conference schools are represented in the poll: Montana Tech at No. 17 and Rocky Mountain College at No. 25; Carroll College received votes.
"The schedule is tough by design," Duda said. "We definitely wanted to challenge ourselves. Last year when we played Jamestown [at the NAIA National Tournament], we hadn't seen a team like that during the year. They were so big, so strong and so powerful. We wanted to make sure we could see those teams because our goal is to make it to the postseason every year, but we obviously want to be successful while we're there. Playing these teams will only help us, win or lose. If we can grow and get better every day, then it'll help us in the long run."
The Argos will take the court again Sept. 2 against Mid-America Nazarene in the opening game of the GoSarpy.com Labor Day Tournament.