The Valpo volleyball program returns to the postseason for the second consecutive season and the third time in the last five years, as the Beacons learned they had earned an at-large bid to the 2022 National Invitational Volleyball Championship on Sunday evening. Valpo will make the trip to Athens, Ohio for the tournament’s first two rounds and will face host Ohio on Thursday night at 6:30 p.m. CT.
Valpo earns the postseason berth — the sixth in head coach Carin Avery’s tenure at the helm of the program — on the strength of a 22-10 record this season. This year’s squad earned the program’s 17th 20-win campaign in the last 21 years and finished in the top half of the Missouri Valley Conference regular season standings for the sixth time in as many seasons in the conference.
This marks Valpo’s third 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. Last season then 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.
Ohio carries a 19-11 overall record into the NIVC and went 13-5 in MAC regular season action before falling in the quarterfinals of the MAC tournament to Buffalo. The Bobcats, whose RPI entering this week is 96, and Beacons shared a pair of regular season opponents — Ohio defeated Bradley and Northern Illinois once apiece, while Valpo took down NIU to win its Popcorn Classic and beat Bradley twice in MVC regular season play.
The winner of the first-round matchup between Valpo and Ohio will take on the first-round victor between Central Michigan and Xavier in Athens on Friday evening at 5 p.m. CT.