FORT COLLINS, Colo. – Officials for the National Invitational Volleyball Championship (NIVC) have announced the 32 teams and eight hosts for the first round of the 2017 postseason tournament, which has been revived after its six-year run from 1989-1995.
Last Thursday the NIVC officials announced Pacific as one of 15 programs that have earned an automatic berth into the post-season event. A team is offered an automatic berth by the NIVC when it's the highest-finishing team in its conference regular-season standings, and is not selected for the NCAA Tournament. Should a conference's automatic qualifier team decline the NIVC invitation, then the conference forfeits its AQ spot and that berth goes into the at-large pool. Other teams to earn and accept its AQ were Albany, SMU, Sacramento State, College of Charleston, North Texas, Bowling Green, Maryland Eastern Shore, Wyoming, Bryant, SIUE, Stephen F. Austin, Oral Roberts, Texas State, and Alabama A&M.
The 32-team tournament field features 17 programs with 18 or more wins and five schools that finished first in regular-season conference play. Additionally, six schools in the field are ranked or receiving votes in the latest Volleyball Magazine Mid-Major poll with No. 12 North Texas, No. 16 UC Irvine, No. 20 SMU, No. 23 Sacramento State, No. 24 Rice, and Texas State (RV).
The format of the NIVC is a single elimination tournament played at campus sites all the way through to the championship match. The first two rounds will be played at eight locations with four-team brackets, the winners advancing to the quarterfinals. The first two rounds will be played Tuesday-Thursday, Nov. 28-30. The last three rounds will feature two teams at one site with the quarterfinals being played Dec. 1-3, the semifinals Dec. 4-9 and the championship on Dec. 12.
Joining Pacific in serving as a host for this year's event will be Georgia, West Virginia, Ole Miss, Colgate, North Texas, Green Bay, and Texas State.
The Tigers will welcome Sacramento State, UC Irvine, and Boise State to campus Tuesday for the First-Round semifinals. Sacramento State and UC Irvine will open tournament play at 4:30 pm. Pacific and Boise State will face off in the nightcap at 7:00 pm.
Pacific won nine matches on the back half of their season to snag the program's best finish since 2014. Leading the way was sophomore outside hitter Emily Baptista, who averages 4.3 points, 3.83 kills, and 1.95 digs per set. Ashlyn Fleming finished regular-season play ranked third in hitting percentage (.351) and sixth in blocks with 1.11 per set. Freshman Hanne De Schrijver and junior Andie Shelton share time at setter with De Schrijver dishing out 7.30 assists/set and Shelton with 4.34 assists/set. Katrin Gotterba leads the Tigers and is third in the WCC with 4.15 digs per set and has a team-best 33 service aces.
Boise State (17-13, 10-8 Moutain West) rode a four-match win streak, all by sweeps, to end the regular season in a tie for third place in the Mountain West Conference.
Tickets for the First Round matches are available:
Section I Reserved Seating: $10
|Senior (Ages 62+)||$6|
|Child (Ages 5-12)||$4|
|Facult/Staff (limit 4)||$4|
NIVC Tournament – Stockton, Calif.
Tuesday, November 28
Game 1: Sacramento State vs. UC Irvine; 4:30 pm
Game 2: Boise State at Pacific; 7:00 pm
Wednesday, November 29
7:00 PM – Winner of Game 1 vs. Winner of Game 2