Ohio's season is still alive.
Not only did the Bobcats (19-11, 13-5 Mid-American Conference) accept a bid to play in the National Invitational Volleyball Championship, they will also host the first two rounds of the tournament, including their first match against Valparaiso (22-10, 9-9 Missouri Valley Conference).
The NIVC tournament wasn't Ohio's ultimate goal, that was the NCAA Tournament. But after Ohio lost to Buffalo in the first round of the MAC Tournament, it seemed that both its NCAA tournament chances and season was over. Selection Sunday confirmed that Ohio didn't qualify as one of the 64 teams to make the NCAA Tournament, but due to it's strong standing within the MAC, it automatically qualified for the NIVC.
The NIVC puts the next 32 best teams that didn't qualify in the NCAA tournament into a tournament of their own. Automatic qualifiers are given to the best team from every conference that didn't make the NCAA tournament. Because both Ball State and Bowling Green made their way into the NCAA tournament, Ohio was the best team remaining in the MAC and received an automatic qualifier into the NIVC.
The first and second rounds of the Tournament are hosted by eight different schools. Each of the eight sites are host to four different teams, and two matches in the first round. Ohio will host, Valparaiso, Xavier and fellow MAC school Central Michigan. Ohio will square off against Valparaiso, while Central Michigan will take on Xavier. The winners of those two matches will face each other, with a spot in the NIVC quarterfinals on the line.
Opponent: Valparaiso (22-10, 9-9 MVC)
Location: The Convo (Athens, OH)
Date and time: Dec. 1, 7:30 p.m.
How to watch: ESPN+
The Beacons couldn't have started their season much better. In nonconference play they went 12-0, including two wins over MAC schools, Akron and Northern Illinois. After a 5-2 start in the MVC, the Beacons' season started to fall apart, and they went 4-7 in their last 11 regular season matches. The Beacons' NCAA tournament hopes were finished when they swept out of the second round of the MVC Tournament.
Player to watch
Ravotto is a key piece of the balanced Beacons offensive attack. Ravotto is one of three Beacons with more than 200 kills, and her 239 kills are the second most on the team. What separates Ravotto from other hitters on the team is her defensive abilities. Ravotto has 347 digs, which is also the second most on the team.