NAIA Volleyball championship activities kicked off with the traditional banquet of champions at the Sioux City Convention Center. Despite the heavy snow, 24 teams and around 200 players gathered to celebrate the high point of the season. Among those teams were three that don't know snow, at least not at the capacity of a winter storm like the one that buried Sioux City under a white cover.
Biola University and Vanguard University, both in California as well as Coastal Georgia got a taste for the winter weather and turns out, its got the players excited.
"They didn't even want to go to breakfast," Vanguard Head Coach Eryn Leja said." They opened their doors and ran outside and then realized how cold it was. Ran back in to get their jackets on but then snowball fights burst out.
Both University are at close proximity to the beach. Biola with about 40 minutes and Vanguard with only 10. Needless to say temperatures rarely drop below 70. They admit, it's sometimes hard to get into the holiday spirit and that's why playing in Sioux City is so great.
"Every year when we come out we are in the Christmas spirit when we come home because we don't see the changing season." Leja said.
Jeff Huebner was wearing a heavy black coat. The Coastal Georgia volleyball head coach seemed prepared He grew up in the Chicago area and knows how cold and nasty the weather in the Midwest can get. And so do his players. Because he heavily recruits in the Midwest, for many the snow was a welcomed surprise.
"They are very excited. They feel like home and they feel like it's bringing a little bit of home to their Georgia life style," Huebner said,"It was the first time in five or six years that it actually felt like Christmas time."
From an official standpoint, the snow has not gotten into the tournament's way. While there were some initial concerns about getting people in and out of the Tyson Events Center on game day, Corey Westra is confident that everything will be in place.
"Our initial thoughts were, Oh Boy we didn't have to deal with snow at the beginning of a tournament," Westra said. "With 24 teams here, it creates a lot more questions.We have contingency plans in our back pocket but I think we don't need to use them."
The only activity that fell victim to the weather was a special Olympics volleyball clinic originally planned for Monday morning, officials are hopeful that it will be rescheduled and held on Wednesday. And with the snow becoming less and less over night, the NAIA Volleyball Tournament looks to be another great event in Sioux City.
"This is amazing," Jessica Chase, a Junior at Vanguard said."And the fact that we get to play volleyball and play in the snow, it's so much fun."
Copyright 2015 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.