UC women's volleyball

The 25-7 UC volleyball team travels to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, to face Illinois State in the first round of the NCAA tournament.

After finishing 25-7, 15-3 in the American Athletic Conference (AAC), the University of Cincinnati volleyball team received an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament Sunday afternoon.

UC will clash with the Illinois State Redbirds (25-7, 16-2 Missouri Valley Conference) Nov. 30 at the Al McGuire Center in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The Bearcats are 3-12-1 all-time against the Redbirds. The two schools last met at the Redbird Classic in 2017, where Illinois State won 3-2.

The Bearcats are riding a four-game win streak, defeating the University of South Florida (3-0), Tulane University (3-2), the University of Memphis (3-0) and East Carolina University (3-0) to end the regular-season.

“It’s so exciting to see us [on the bracket],” UC head coach Molly Alvey told BearcatsTV. “Obviously as a coach more than anything — to see the players’ faces and how excited they are, and they’ve been looking forward to this moment. We never put win-loss as a goal for ourselves, but I think for [the players], it’s an expectation. Just to see them reach the expectations that they had for themselves is really gratifying as a coach.”

Illinois State senior middle blocker Ali Line leads her team in kills with 293, while senior libero Courtney Pence has racked up a team-high 683 digs.

UC redshirt junior outside hitter Jordan Thompson was named the AAC’s Player of the Year Tuesday, while senior setter Jade Tingelhoff earned Setter of the Year and freshman outside hitter Maria Mallon landed on First Team All-Conference.

The match is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. ET Friday. If UC advances, it will play the winner of the High Point University versus Marquette match (Nov. 30, 8 p.m.) Saturday, Dec. 1, in Milwaukee.

Managing Editor

Huffmon is a fourth-year communications student from Tiffin, Ohio. He often covers UC athletics. He interned at the Kentucky Speedway in the summer of 2019 and has written for the Plain Dealer and the Cincinnati Enquirer.