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The Week Ahead....NIVC Bound

• Despite not getting an invite to the NCAA Tournament, Sacramento State (26-9) has qualified for the postseason as the team will play in the return of the National Invitational Volleyball Championship (NIVC) this Tuesday in Stockton.
• The Hornets will play UC Irvine (22-7) in the first round of the 32-team tournament. One of the four-team regionals, which will be played at the Spanos Center in Stockton, features Sacramento State, host Pacific, UC Irvine and Boise State. Pacific will take on Boise State on Tuesday at 7 p.m.
• The winners of Sacramento State/UC Irvine and Pacific/Boise State will play Wednesday at 7 p.m.
• This marks Sacramento State's first national postseason appearance since qualifying for the NCAA Tournament in 2007.
• The NIVC, which is the equivalent to the basketball NIT, offers bids to teams that do not qualify for the NCAA Tournament. The NIVC was played from 1989-95, and is making its return this season.
• Sacramento State received an automatic berth into the tournament after winning the Big Sky Conference regular season championship. The Hornets' bid to qualify for the NCAA Tournament ended with a 3-2 loss to North Dakota in the Big Sky Tournament championship match Nov. 18 at the Nest.
• The NIVC will be an annual tournament with all games, including the semifinals and championship, being hosted by participating schools. Every round is single elimination.
• Sacramento State will enter the tournament with a 26-9 overall record, and the Hornets had their seven-game winning streak snapped in the Big Sky Tournament championship loss to North Dakota.
• The Hornets went 15-1 in league to win the Big Sky's regular season title and host the conference's postseason event. The Hornets also won the Big Sky South Division title for the second straight year.
• Pacific has won four straight and currently owns a 16-13 overall record and 11-7 mark in the West Coast Conference. Boise State has also won its last four and is currently 17-13 overall and 10-8 in the Mountain West Conference, and UC Irvine is 22-7 overall and 10-6 in the Big West Conference.
• The Hornets will enter the tournament as winners of 17 of their last 19 matches. The team is 15-7 away from home this year, including a 5-4 mark on neutral floors.
• Most recently, Sacramento State hosted the Big Sky Tournament (Nov. 16-18), beating Northern Colorado and Portland State in the quarters and semis, respectively, before falling in the final.

Multimedia Options For The Tournament

• Pacific will be providing video streams of all the matches on both Tuesday and Wednesday. Tuesday's match vs. UC Irvine can be viewed by clicking here.
• Live stats for the Hornets' matches will be available via pacifictigers.com.
• All multimedia links for every game this year can be found via the volleyball schedule at hornetsports.com.

Hornets Making Fourth Appearance In The NIVC

• Sacramento State will be making its fourth appearance at the NIVC, previously playing in the tournament in 1992, 1993 and 1995. The tournament was played from 1989-95, and will be making its return this season for the first time in 17 years.
• The Hornets are 9-5 all-time at the tournament, which includes a 5-1 record in 1995, 3-1 in 1993, and 1-3 in 1992. The tournament did not become a single elimination event until 1993.
• In 1995, which was also the last year of the NIVC until this season, Sacramento State defeated North Carolina, Oklahoma, Villanova, Akron and Rhode Island before losing to eventual NIVC champion Wisconsin in five sets (15-5, 17-15, 10-15, 12-15, 15-13).
• In 1993, the Hornets beat Wright State, Arkansas State and Lehigh before falling to Northern Iowa in five sets (15-5, 6-15, 10-15, 15-7, 15-6).
• In 1992, which was the Hornets' second year at the Div. I level, Sacramento State beat Loyola, but lost to Minnesota, Maryland and Texas A&M.

vs. Tournament Field

• Sacramento State and UC Irvine have played each other just three times with the Hornets winning each of those outcomes. All of those three wins have come on neutral floors.
• That includes a 3-2 win in 1992 in Flagstaff, Ariz., a 3-1 victory in 1995 in Portland, Ore., and a 3-0 win in 1996 in Fresno, Calif. That three-set sweep in Fresno on Sept. 14, 1996, also marks the last time the Hornets and Anteaters have faced each other.
• Should the Hornets beat UC Irvine, they would play either Pacific or Boise State on Wednesday.
• Sacramento State suffered one of just two losses inside the Nest back on Aug. 30 in the home opener. The Tigers won that match, 3-1 (25-14, 23-25, 25-18, 25-15).
• The Hornets are 6-28 all-time against Pacific, including a 1-15 mark when playing in Stockton.
• Sacramento State also played Boise State earlier this year in Boise, and the Broncos pulled off a 3-2 victory (17-25, 25-20, 26-24, 23-25, 18-16) in a match that could have gone either way.
• The Hornets own a 4-3 record in the all-time series against Boise State, but the Broncos have won the last two matchups. Sacramento State is 1-1 when playing Boise State on a neutral floor (3-2 loss in 1986, 3-0 win in 1994).

Riding A Historic Season

• The Hornets have three winning streaks of at least six games this year, including a 10-gamer from Sept. 21-Oct. 21, a seven-gamer from Oct. 28-Nov. 17, and a six-gamer from Sept. 5-14.
• The Hornets had a run of 18 straight Big Sky regular season victories which dated back to last season until that streak was snapped in the team's lone league loss at Northern Arizona on Oct. 26.
• The 18 straight regular season conference wins was the second longest streak in school history, trailing the 20 straight put up during parts of 2005 and 2006.
• Sacramento State's 15-1 conference record tied for the program's best mark since joining the league in 1996. The 1998 and 2006 squads also accomplished the feat.
• The Hornets had won 26 consecutive home matches against Big Sky opposition (dating back to 2015) until the 3-2 loss to North Dakota in the Big Sky Tournament championship match.
• Sacramento State has won at least 20 overall matches three straight seasons, and over that span, has combined for a 72-28 overall record and a 40-8 mark in Big Sky play.
• With this year's Big Sky regular season championship, Sacramento State has won the conference's regular season and/or tournament titles in 12 different seasons (1997-07, 2017).

Hornet Notables

• Setter Kennedy Kurtz was named the Big Sky MVP, the first Hornet to win MVP honors since Lindsay Haupt in 2017. Joining Kurtz as first team all-league selections were outside hitters Shannon Boyle and Mikaela Nocetti. Middle blocker Lana Brown was named to the second team.
• Head coach Ruben Volta was named Big Sky Coach of the Year for the 2nd time in three seasons.
• One of the most prolific setters in school history, Kurtz is currently second all-time in Big Sky Conference history with 5,479 assists. Currently, her 1,593 assists this season are 104 more than any other player in the nation.