The fifth-seeded University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) volleyball team is heading to its first-ever NCAA Tournament after winning its first Western Athletic Conference Tournament Championship by beating second-seeded Utah Valley University (UVU) 3-0 (25-23, 25-21, 25-23) on Saturday at the Pan American Center.
UTRGV (21-13) will learn the identity of its first round opponent, as well as the time, date and location of the first game, during the NCAA Tournament Selection Show on Sunday, Nov. 27 at 8 p.m. on ESPNU. Fans are invited to join the team at University Drafthouse at 2405 W. University Dr. in Edinburg to watch the selection show and celebrate this achievement.
The first round match will occur on either Dec. 1 or 2 at the home of one of the top 16 seeds.
Remaining NCAA Tournament tickets will become available to the general public on Wednesday at 8 a.m. All NCAA Tournament ticket reservations will be taken either over the phone or in person at the UTRGV Athletics Ticket Office. Fans can reserve tickets by contacting UTRGV Assistant Athletic Director for Ticket Operations & Sales David Riggs at (956) 665-3747 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Senior Alisha Watson earned the Tournament Most Valuable Player award and is joined on the All-Tournament team by junior Bojana Mitrovic. During the tournament, Watson averaged 3.42 kills on .348 hitting. Mitrovic averaged 3.58 kills on .272 hitting.
In this match, sophomore Ragni Steen Knudsen led UTRGV with 15 kills on .387 hitting with seven digs. Watson recorded 12 kills on .360 hitting. Mitrovic finished with 11 kills on .273 hitting and three blocks.
Sierra Starley led UVU (16-14) with five kills, 33 assists, seven digs and three blocks. Lexi Thompson recorded a team-high 11 kills.
Knudsen started the first set with a kill and an ace as UTRGV jumped out to a 10-5 lead. After a timeout, UVU went on a 7-2 run to tie the set at 12. Then, with the set tied at 13, Mitrovic, Knudsen and freshman Barbara Silva used kills to power a 6-2 run and give UTRGV a 19-15 lead. UVU came back to tie the set at 21 on back-to-back Madison Dennison kills and 22 on an error, but two kills by Mitrovic allowed UTRGV to score three of the set’s final four points.
UVU led 10-7 early in the second set, but Knudsen came up with three-straight kills to tie the set. After an Izzie Hinton kill put UVU back on top, another Knudsen kill tied it at 11. It was all part of a 16-6 run that included five Watson kills to put UTRGV up 23-16. UVU scored the next four to pull within three, but a Knudsen kill gave UTRGV set point, and one set later, an attack error put UTRGV up 2-0.
UVU jumped out to a 4-1 lead in the third set, but a pair of Mitrovic kills helped UTRGV go on a 5-1 run to take a 6-5 lead. Then, with the set tied at 11, a Silva kill sparked a 7-2 run to put UTRGV up 18-13. UTRGV still led by five at 21-16 on a Knudsen kill before back-to-back Dennison kills and a pair of errors made it a one-point set. Mitrovic kills extended UTRGV’s lead to 22-20 and 23-21 before an ace by sophomore Dubravka Vukoja brought UTRGV to match point. Then, after a pair of UVU points, a Watson kill ended the match.