The national championship opens May 17, with pool play running through May 19. The winners from each of the eight pools then meet in double elimination bracket play, which runs May 21-23.
Lee is a part of Pool D, joined by No. 4 Central Baptist College (Ark.), No. 22 Reinhardt University (Ga.), and Morningside College (Iowa). The Lady Flames will battle former Southern States Athletic Conference foe Reinhardt on Thursday at 11:30 a.m., Morningside on Friday at 3 p.m., and finish with Central Baptist on Saturday at 5:30 p.m.
Play should be hotly contested. The Lady Flames were involved in one-run decisions with all three squads in tournament play early in 2012. Lee dropped a 5-4 decision to Central Baptist, a 4-3 contest against Morningside and beat Reinhardt, 4-3.
The Lady Flames are making their seventh trip to nationals in program history, one of 12 teams making at least their fifth trip to the National Championship. Coach Andrea Hudson, current Lady Flames volleyball coach, took Lee squads in 1996 and ’98, with current skipper Coach Russell taking five trips, ’04, ’06, ’07, ’10 and now in 2012.
Currently ranked No. 13 in the NAIA, Lee is receiving the fifth at-large bid overall. They are one of six SSAC teams headed to the tournament after winning the East Division championship narrowly over fellow qualifiers Shorter University and Brenau University).
The event, played at the Gulf Shores Sportsplex in Gulf Shores, Ala., is being hosted by the Gulf Shores and Orange Beach Sports Commission in conjunction with the University of Mobile for the second straight year.