While it’s still a bit early to nail down who lands where in the NCAA postseason volleyball conversation, the NIVC is keeping close watch on teams as the fight for conference titles and strong league tournament finishes begins to get serious. Here’s a look at some of the programs who are popping in 2023:
University of Illinois-Chicago (18-10 overall) is in an interesting place, having eased into the top 100 in the NCAA RPI index and facing a chance to elevate its profile ahead of the Missouri Valley Conference tournament. UIC has three regular season matches left, all versus teams ahead of it in the standings in Northern Iowa, Drake and Valparaiso. Four players have registered more than 200 kills, and a fifth is just five away from joining that group.
Indiana (17-10) is making progress through the daunting Big Ten schedule and now enjoys a solid RPI number at 72. Next up are three home matches with Rutgers, Minnesota and Maryland coming to Bloomington, where Hoosiers have only lost once this season. It’s a chance to get to double figures in conference victories. Camryn Hamworth has 982 assists, tied for No. 26 in NCAA D-I.
The Patriot League has been a real scuffle all season; with the conference tournament champion likely the only team to go to the NCAA tourney, expect some serious competitive vibes as Bucknell (15-9), Army (14-10) and Colgate (19-7) look to extend their seasons into December.
Thursday, Grand Canyon (19-6) gets to host WAC leaders Stephen F. Austin with the door closing on catching SFA for first place. However, the Lopes are still in good position regardless with an RPI of 100 and a chance to move it up a few clicks in the WAC tournament. Fifth-year setter Klaire Mitchell has 933 assists and sophomore Tatum Parrott has 389 kills (tied for No. 20 in NCAA D-I).
In the West Coast Conference, the top of the charts this year have always included Pepperdine, Loyola Marymount and San Diego (all 65 or better in RPI). So is there room for Pacific (15-9) and/or St. Mary’s (13-11) to shake things up here at the finish to raise their profiles? Pacific can certainly flex two big and experienced hitters in senior Alexa Edwards (309 kills) and grad student Biamba Kabengele (294 kills).
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