Lourdes University’s athletic department may be young, but it’s already proving itself mighty in the world of collegiate sports. In its brief four-year history, competitive cheer, men’s and women’s volleyball, and men’s basketball have all qualified for national tournament competitions.
In their inaugural year, Lourdes’ competitive cheer team demonstrated just how agile Gray Wolves can be as the team earned an at-large bid for the 2014 NAIA Competitive Cheer and Dance National Invitational at the Abe Lemons Arena in Oklahoma City, OK. Though the team finished 12th overall, they left with their heads held high, being the only inaugural team to qualify for the national competition.
Of the achievement, head coach Ori Rife said that "it was a great experience to appear at the NAIA Cheer and Dance National Invitational. Competing next to the best teams in the nation was a real learning experience. The support we received from our community this season has helped our journey and we were able to improve our score from day one, which was our ultimate team goal."
Men’s volleyball also made an appearance at the NAIA Men's Volleyball National Invitational in Denver, CO. The #5 seeded Gray Wolves were eliminated from the tournament after losses to the #2 seeded Grand View University and #4 seeded Clarke University.
Head coach Greg Reitz reflected on the competition, stating "It's really tough to win at this level, but we showed we had the talent to perform with the best in the nation. It was a good accomplishment for Lourdes.”
The women’s volleyball team also earned a bid in the NAIA National Championship Opening round after finishing runner-up in the Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference Tournament. The Gray Wolves traveled to 12th-ranked Georgetown (KY) College before falling in a tight four-set match.
The men’s basketball team also made previous bids to nationals during the 2011-2012 and 2012-2013 academic years.