MORGANTOWN, W.VA (WDTV) - (WVU release):
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The West Virginia University volleyball team will make its first appearance in the postseason since 1991 after earning an automatic bid to the National Invitational Volleyball Championship (NIVC) Sunday evening.
The Mountaineers (18-12, 6-10) play host to Maryland Eastern Shore (27-8, 11-0 MEAC) in the second of two matches on Tuesday, Nov. 28, with first serve set for 7 p.m. ET inside the WVU Coliseum in Morgantown. Campbell (20-11, 10-6 Big South) and Temple (19-9, 15-5 (AAC) will meet at 4:30 p.m. in the first contest.
The winners of Tuesday's matches will meet on Wednesday, Nov. 29, in the tournament's second round at 6 p.m. at the WVU Coliseum.
Single-match tickets are available at a cost of $6 for general admission, $5 for students and $4 for youth and seniors. Groups of 10 or more can purchase tickets for $3 each. Tickets are available by visiting WVUGAME.com, calling 1-800-WVU-GAME or at the Mountaineer Ticket Office, located at the Gold Gate of the WVU Coliseum.
"I'm excited to play in the postseason," said third-year coach Reed Sunahara. "It's a great way for the seniors to finish their careers, and it gives us another opportunity to play more volleyball."
The 2017 NIVC Tournament returns from a hiatus in place since 1995 and will consist of 32 teams with participating schools hosting all matches. Teams are offered automatic berths by the NIVC when they are the highest-finishing team in its conference regular season standings and are not selected for the NCAA Tournament. Originally known as the Women's Invitational Volleyball Championship, the NIVC made its first run from 1989-1995, with Wisconsin winning the inaugural title.
Rounds one and two are held back-to-back on Nov. 28-29. Round three will take place from Dec. 1-3, followed by the semifinals from Dec. 4-9. The Championship match is slated for Dec. 12, hosted at one of the two remaining schools, with a live broadcast available through WatchESPN and the ESPN app.
West Virginia finished fifth in the Big 12 Conference and had an 18-win season for the first time since 2013. The Mountaineers closed their 2017 regular season slate with two Big 12 road wins, defeating Kansas State, 3-0, on Wednesday and topping No. 14 Kansas, 3-2, on Saturday. With Wednesday's win, WVU earned a season sweep over the Wildcats for the first time in program history. The Mountaineers also captured their first-ever win over a top-25 opponent, defeating the Jayhawks for the first time in program history on Saturday.
Maryland Eastern Shore finished the season at 27-8 before being ousted by Florida A&M in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) semifinals. The Hawks garnered an automatic bid to the NIVC Tournament, earning their third trip to the postseason as a program and the first since 2012.