The field is set for the tournament to determine the best mascot among NAIA men’s volleyball teams.
Off the Block announced Saturday that the mascots from Benedictine-Mesa, Campbellsville, Cumberland, Graceland, Indiana Tech, Jamestown, Menlo, St. Louis College of Pharmacy, St. Xavier, Trinity Christian, Vanguard and Viterbo were all selected to compete in the inaugural Off the Block/Frisco Mo NAIA Men’s Volleyball Mascot Challenge.
This mascot challenge recognizes some of the best mascots in NAIA men’s volleyball and lets fans determine the champion through online voting on the Off the Block website. In addition, the winning school will receive a $50 donation from Off the Block to be used to help its mascot attend a men’s volleyball match during the 2021 season.
The tournament will begin Monday with round-robin play. The top-two teams in each division at the end of the round-robin stage will advance to the semifinals.
The Eastern Division features Champ the Cougar (St. Xavier), Claws (Campbellsville), Maximus (Indiana Tech), Phelix the Phoenix (Cumberland), Troll (Trinity Christian) and Vic the V-Hawk (Viterbo). The Western Division includes Mortarmer McPestle (STLCP), Oakie the Acorn (Menlo), Rico the Redhawk (Benedictine-Mesa), Samson the Lion (Vanguard), Sir Jimmie (Jamestown) and Sting (Graceland).
The Off the Block staff determined the tournament field for the mascot challenge. Off the Block is a national award winning website that launched in 2011 and is the nation’s leader in college men’s volleyball coverage.
Frisco Mo, the official sponsor of this mascot challenge, is an online store committed to producing volleyball apparel and decor that is unique and emphasizes the fun of volleyball.
Mascot challenge schedule
Round-robin matches Day 1 — Monday, July 20
Round-robin matches Day 2 — Tuesday, July 21
Round-robin matches Day 3 — Wednesday, July 22
Round-robin matches Day 4 — Thursday, July 23
Round-robin matches Day 5 — Friday, July 24
Semifinals — Saturday, July 25 through Sunday, July 26
Finals — Monday, July 27 through Tuesday, July 28
|Eastern Division||Western Division|
|Champ (St. Xavier)||Morty (STLCP)|
|Claws (Campbellsville)||Oakie the Acorn (Menlo)|
|Maximus (Indiana Tech)||Rico (Benedictine-Mesa)|
|Phelix (Cumberland)||Samson (Vanguard)|
|Troll (Trinity Christian)||Sir Jimmie (Jamestown)|
|Vic the V-Hawk (Viterbo)||Sting (Graceland)|
Champ the Cougar
School: St. Xavier
Mascot fun fact: Champ is a fixture throughout the university’s campus doing everything from attending men’s volleyball matches to conducting costume contests on Halloween.
Men’s volleyball note: St. Xavier coach Tom Ryan was named to the 2020 AVCA Thirty Under 30 list.
Mascot fun fact: Claws has been spotted wearing a variety of Campbellsville uniforms at sports events, including the school’s football jersey and basketball jersey.
Men’s volleyball note: The Tigers were ranked No. 1 in the national coaches poll midway through during the 2020 season and had two victories against NCAA Division I-II men’s volleyball programs.
School: Indiana Tech
Mascot fun fact: Maximus dresses as a classic Roman soldier and was redesigned in 2014 — nine years after being initially unveiled.
Men’s volleyball note: The Warriors restarted their men’s volleyball program in 2020 with Kyle Shondell, the grandson of Hall of Fame coach Don Shondell, serving as the head coach. Indiana Tech first started its program in 1962 and was a member of the MIVA until 1973.
School: St. Louis College of Pharmacy
Mascot fun fact: Known as Morty for short, this mascot is a eutectic. A eutectic is a scientific process when two solids are combined to form a liquid.
Men’s volleyball note: St. Louis College of Pharmacy in its inaugural season was limited to eight matches due the season being canceled in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic
Oakie the Acorn
Mascot fun fact: Oakie became the school’s mascot in part because of the iconic oak trees located on the Menlo campus.
Men’s volleyball note: The Oaks were 17-1 and ranked No. 3 in the national coaches poll at the time the remainder of the 2020 season was canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Phelix the Phoenix
Mascot fun fact: Phelix debuted in 2018 following the university’s decision two years earlier to change its nickname from the Bulldogs to the Phoenix.
Men’s volleyball note: Cumberland won five of its final eight matches before the 2020 season was canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Rico the Redhawk
Mascot fun fact: Rico became the school’s new mascot thanks in part to the successful fundraising campaign from the student senate that helped pay for for a new mascot suit.
Men’s volleyball note: Benedictine-Mesa in 2019 won the inaugural NAIA men’s volleyball national championship. In addition, the Redhawks ended the shortened 2020 season at No. 6 in the national rankings.
Samson the Lion
Mascot fun fact: Samson the Lion defeated Oakie of Menlo in the championship round of the inaugural Golden State Athletic Conference Mascot Challenge in 2018
Men’s volleyball note: Vanguard ended its inaugural season at No. 8 in the national coaches poll and had an upset victory against the NCAA Division III powerhouse Springfield.
Mascot fun fact: A Jimmie represents pride, tradition, acting a first-class manner, family, community, hard work and sacrifice. The mascot is based off the medieval knight Sir Jimmie who sought to help mankind and make the world better.
Men’s volleyball note: With former U.S. Olympian Riley Salmon as its head coach, Jamestown went 11-2 during its inaugural season in 2020 and had a victory against a top-10 ranked team.
Mascot fun fact: Sting not only roams around the sidelines at sporting events but the school in 2017 unveiled a 6-foot statue of the mascot that is located on the campus.
Men’s volleyball note: Graceland as a NAIA school was a member of the MIVA from 1987-90. The Yellowjackets finished the 1989 season at 34-13, despite being winless in conference play.
School: Trinity Christian
Mascot fun fact: The origin of the Troll dates back before the formation of Trinity Christian when he would guard a golf course that is now the location of the college grounds.
Men’s volleyball note: The Trolls finished the 2020 season 13-9 and had won four of their last five matches before the season was canceled.
Vic the V-Hawk
Mascot fun fact: Vic the V-Hawk won the conference mascot championship and advanced to the NAIA national mascot tournament in 2017.
Men’s volleyball note: Viterbo ended the 2020 season at 14-9 — an 11-win improvement from its inaugural season in 2019.