Jackie McBride

University of Wyoming junior middle blocker Jackie McBride will help the Cowgirls as they host the first two rounds of the NIVC volleyball tournament on Thursday and Friday. WyoSports/file

LARAMIE – The University of Wyoming women’s volleyball team will play in the postseason for a program-record third straight season as the Cowgirls will again host the first two rounds of the National Invitational Volleyball Championship.

Wyoming will welcome Northwestern State, Boise State and Weber State to the UniWyo Sports Complex Thursday and Friday for a four-team pod in the single-elimination 32-team tournament.

Boise State (18-11) and Weber State (24-8) will play first at 4 p.m. Thursday. The Cowgirls (21-8) will then take on Northwestern State (20-12) at 6:30 p.m. The winners will meet at 6:30 p.m. Friday.

Tickets went on sale Monday. For information about tickets, visit www.GoWyo.com/tickets or call the ticket office at 307-766-7220. Season ticket holders will have until five hours prior to the first match both days to buy their tickets.

Eight teams host the first two rounds of four-team pods before single matches begin in the third round from Dec. 9-12. The semifinals will be Dec. 13-15, and the championship match will be determined from Dec. 16-18.

The Cowgirls received an automatic berth to the NIVC by finishing in sole possession of second place in the Mountain West with a 16-2 league record.

UW had a program-record five players honored by the conference after the regular season, as voted on by the league’s head coaches.

Senior libero Madi Fields, senior outside hitter Tara Traphagan, junior middle blocker Jackie McBride and sophomore outside hitter KC McMahon were named to the All-MW team. Junior setter Mackenzie Coates was an honorable mention selection.

The four All-MW team selections for UW is the most in coach Chad Callihan’s seven seasons with the Cowgirls and the most as a member of the MW.

The five individual league honors are also the most since 1989, when UW was a member of the High Country Athletic Conference. The Cowgirls had four first team all-conference honorees and an honorable mention selection that season.

This is the third year since the NIVC, produced by Triple Crown Sports based in Fort Collins, Colorado, was reestablished. The postseason tournament ran from 1989-95 for teams that were not selected to play in the NCAA Division I Women’s Volleyball Tournament.

According to the NIVC website, “much like the WNIT and NIT events in college basketball, the NIVC taps into the impressive depth of D-1 volleyball and is designed to give more high-performing, highly skilled programs a chance to play for a postseason title. Teams with young rosters get to train and compete with an eye to the future; established rosters get one more chance to play together and memorably cap off their student-athlete experience.”

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