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Postseason Bound: Volleyball to Visit Arizona in First Round of NIVC – UTRGV Athletics

RIO GRANDE VALLEY – The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) volleyball team is set to compete in the postseason for the second time in NCAA Division I program history after earning a bid to the 2021 Women’s National Volleyball Invitational Championship (NIVC). The Vaqueros (17-10) open the NIVC of Friday at 7 p.m. at Arizona (16-15).


The winner of Friday’s match then faces the winner of New Mexico State (19-9) and UNLV (23-9) on Saturday at 5 p.m.


This is UTRGV’s first trip to the postseason since making the NCAA Tournament in 2016.


The 2021 NIVC features 31 teams. Round 1 and 2 action is scheduled for Dec. 2-5, with Round 3 scheduled for Dec. 6-8. The semifinals will be held Dec. 8-11, and the championship match will be played Dec. 13 or 14.

2021 NIVC Bracket


This is the fourth edition of the NIVC since its reboot through Triple Crown Sports; the event previously ran from 1989-95. Previous champions of the current NIVC are Georgia Tech (2019), Iowa State (2018) and Ole Miss (2017). 


Here is the 2021 NIVC field of teams:

Automatic Qualifiers:

Arkansas (19-10) – Southeastern Conference

Colorado State (18-10) – Mountain West Conference*

Delaware State (26-4) – Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference*

Houston Baptist (21-8) – Southland Conference

Jackson State (17-13) – Southwestern Athletic Conference*

Sam Houston (18-9) – Western Athletic Conference*

UConn (21-10) – Big East Conference

UTEP (21-7) – Conference USA

Weber State (20-9) – Big Sky Conference*


*Denotes conference regular season champion


At-Large Teams:

Arizona (16-15) – Pac-12 Conference

Bradley (16-14) – Missouri Valley Conference

Boston College (16-16) – Atlantic Coast Conference

Butler (16-15) – Big East Conference

Chicago State (17-10) – Western Athletic Conference

CSU Bakersfield (18-10) – Big West Conference

Evansville (19-11) – Missouri Valley Conference

Indiana State (18-12) – Missouri Valley Conference

Middle Tennessee (9-11) – Conference USA

New Mexico State (19-9) – Western Athletic Conference

North Carolina A&T (20-10) – Big South Conference

North Florida (24-7) – Atlantic Sun Conference

Pacific (13-16) – West Coast Conference

Portland State (19-10) – Big Sky Conference

Stephen F. Austin (18-9) – Western Athletic Conference

Troy (17-12) – Sun Belt Conference

Tulsa (14-15) – American Athletic Conference

Toledo (19-12) – Mid-American Conference

UNC Greensboro (23-7) – Southern Conference

UNLV (23-9) – Mountain West Conference

The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (17-10) – Western Athletic Conference

Valparaiso (22-9) – Missouri Valley Conference


Here are the first and second round matchups, in bracket order:


(Home team listed second)


Dec. 3 at Stephen F. Austin

Arkansas (bye)

Jackson State vs. Stephen F. Austin, 7:30 ET

Dec. 4: Arkansas vs. TBD, 7:30 p.m. ET 


Dec. 3 at Arizona

New Mexico State vs. UNLV, 5 p.m. ET

UTRGV vs. Arizona, 8 p.m. ET

Dec. 4: Winners, 6 p.m. ET


Dec. 3 at Weber State

Pacific vs. Portland State, 5 p.m. ET

CSU Bakersfield vs. Weber State, 8 p.m. ET

Dec. 4: Winners, 4 p.m. ET


Dec. 2 at Colorado State

Tulsa vs. UTEP, 7 p.m. ET

Houston Baptist vs. Colorado State, 9:30 p.m. ET

Dec. 3: Winners, 9 p.m. ET


Dec. 2 at Chicago State

Evansville vs. Sam Houston, 6 p.m. ET

Bradley vs. Chicago State, 8:30 p.m. ET

Dec. 3: Winners, 8 p.m. ET


Dec. 2 at Valparaiso

Toledo vs. Indiana State, 5 p.m. ET

Butler vs. Valparaiso, 8 p.m. ET

Dec. 3: Winners, 7 p.m. ET


Dec 3 at Troy

UNC Greensboro vs. North Florida, 5 p.m. ET

Middle Tennessee vs. Troy, 7:30 p.m. ET

Dec. 4: Winners, 2 p.m. ET


Dec. 4 at Boston College

Delaware State vs. Boston College, 4 p.m. ET

North Carolina A&T vs. UConn, 7 p.m. ET

Dec. 5: Winners, 4 p.m. ET


“With the explosive growth of volleyball, and how the maturing club scene has allowed dozens of DI programs to raise the bar of excellence in recruiting, it only makes sense to add to the postseason options in the college game,” NIVC director Jared Rudiger said. “Teams will chase an NIVC title as a reward for experienced rosters, or to provide a true learning experience for young players when it comes to the demands of the postseason.” 


About Triple Crown Sports 

Based in Fort Collins, CO., Triple Crown Sports has been producing youth, high school and college events for 40 years. TCS runs both the preseason and postseason WNIT basketball events and produces the men’s and women’s DI Cancun Challenge tournaments in November. Triple Crown is also powering “WNIT” concept events in D-I softball (NISC) and volleyball (NIVC), with those two events debuting in 2017. Triple Crown’s PV College Challenge features 8-10 of the top DI college softball teams in the country each year in Puerto Vallarta, MX.

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