Bluefield College to participate in 2019 Grow the Game Challenge

[Editor’s note: Off the Block each day from Aug. 6-15 will unveil one team participating in the 2019 Grow the Game Challenge. The entire tournament field and match schedule will be unveiled Thursday, Aug. 16.]

A NAIA team that set a program record for wins last season will compete in the 2019 Off the Block Grow the Game Challenge.

Off the Block announced Sunday that Bluefield College will make its debut next season at the nation’s largest college men’s volleyball non-conference tournament.

The Grow the Game Challenge is an annual event that brings regular season matches to an area of the nation that does not have a NCAA Division I-II men’s volleyball team. The 2019 tournament will take place on Jan. 18-20 at Cumberland University in Lebanon, Tennessee.

The Rams opened last season ending their 23-match losing streak and finished at 7-18 — the most wins in the program’s four-year history. In addition, Bluefield upset Belmont Abbey in March for the school’s first win all-time against a NCAA Division I-II men’s volleyball team.

Among the starters returning for the Rams includes all-conference outside attacker Alberto Chiaparini, who was in the NAIA nation’s top 20 with a 3.38 kills per game average last season.

Bluefield, which is located in West Virginia, is one of three non-NCAA Division I-II men’s volleyball teams that will compete in the 10-team tournament field at the Grow the Game Challenge.

This is the second year of the Grow the Game Challenge. The inaugural event in 2018 featured 10 NCAA Division I-II men’s volleyball teams and took place in Nashville.

The Grow the Game Challenge operates as a non-profit organization that is based in Nashville. In addition, the organization is committed to help promoting the growth of college men’s volleyball throughout the United States.