WEST DES MOINES – Grand View University became the first program in the history of NAIA men’s volleyball to defend its national championship.
Dalton Dencklau will forever have the statistics and stories to prove he was a part of it all.
The 2019 Southeast Valley High School graduate again saw court time as the Vikings topped Benedictine University of Mesa (Ariz.) In a four-set finals rematch from last season.
Scores were 25-23, 25-27, 25-23, 26-24 in favor of GVU at the MidAmerica RecPlex.
Dencklau, the son of the 1996 Fort Dodge Senior High Graduate Alisa (Dencklau) Schlief, has been a top reserve for the Vikings during their repeat title run. The junior, the libero, is also a major in biochemistry.
“This win means so much to everyone involved with the program,” said Dencklau, who is from Lehigh. “We had a huge target on our back the entire season but never gave up. We’ve been working so hard this season to end up where we did, and I am so thankful I got to do it with this amazing group of people. Our goals have always remained the same, regardless of who the head coach is and what players we have on the court.
“This program means so much to me, and I cherish every day I get to play next to these guys. This program has left its mark on men’s volleyball in the Midwest, and I am so honored to be a part of it. ”
The Vikings went 27-2 under first-year head coach Felipe Nogueira. The GVU was 26-0 last spring, and had also attained a No. 1 ranking nationally in 2020 before the global pandemic shut down the season.
Dencklau plans on doing graduate work in either medicinal or organic chemistry after obtaining his degree from Grand View.
Viking players Francisco Arredondo and Bayron Valdez were named to the all-tournament team, with Arredondo being named MVP.