The Valpo volleyball program returns to the postseason for the third consecutive season and the fourth time in the last six years, as the Beacons learned they had earned an at-large bid to the 2023 National Invitational Volleyball Championship on Sunday evening. Valpo will make the trip to Greeley, Colo. for the tournament’s first two rounds and will face host Northern Colorado on Thursday night at 7 p.m. CT.
Valpo earns the postseason berth — the seventh in head coach Carin Avery’s tenure at the helm of the program — on the strength of an 18-14 record this season. The Beacons finished with a 10-8 record in the always-challenging MVC slate, as they have now finished in the top half of the Valley standings in each of their seven years in the MVC — the only MVC program to accomplish that feat.
This marks Valpo’s fourth appearance in the NIVC since the tournament was revived in 2017. Valpo first earned an NIVC berth in 2018 and won each of its first two matches to advance to the tournament quarterfinals. The 2021 season brought a memorable run on the Beacons’ home court at the ARC, as Valpo won each of its first four tournament matches — all in straight sets — to advance all the way to the NIVC title match. Last season, Valpo earned an NIVC bid as well and fell in the first round at Ohio.
Northern Colorado carries a 17-11 overall record into the NIVC and went 12-4 in Big Sky regular season action before falling in the quarterfinals of the Big Sky tournament to Eastern Washington. The Bears, whose RPI as of Monday was 102, and Beacons shared just one regular season opponent — UNC beat Bradley in four sets in early-season tournament action, while Valpo took down the Braves in five sets in both matchups in MVC play.
The winner of the first-round matchup between Valpo and Northern Colorado will take on the first-round victor between Wyoming and South Dakota in Greeley on Friday evening at 7 p.m. CT.