UNLV volleyball finished strong to end its 2021 fall season winning the National Invitational Volleyball Championship (NIVC) for the first time in the postseason tournament.
The Rebels finished the season with a 28-9 overall record, entering the final match of the Mountain West (MW) Volleyball Championships off a seven-match win streak where they fell 3-1 to Boise State.
UNLV’s 28 victories in 2021 mark the best single-season record in program history.
“I thought you know we started the season pretty strong,” head coach Dawn Sullivan said. “Then we hit conference and I think we got shaken a little bit- meaning we lost our first conference game.”
“Those last few weeks are where I really saw so much growth within this team and the group that we have and the willingness to step up and like we’re gonna keep learning everyday.”
The Rebels came off a record-breaking season during the spring that saw the Rebels go undefeated in regular-season play (12-0) and advance to the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
The Rebels ended the season with a 13-1 overall record, falling to eventual national champion Kentucky.
UNLV looks forward to continuing its strong momentum as preparations for next season take place. Sullivan looks to add on to the culture within the team with the team chemistry and valuing hard work on and off the court.
“I want to stay on top of this conference, obviously one or two always- I would love to continue to make it into the post season and into the NIVC tournament,” Sullivan said. “I would love to be a top 25 program. That would be the next step of where I would want to go and I think we are taking those steps to get there but we gotta keep climbing, gotta keep working.”
The next step in building a great program is recruiting great athletes to continue the momentum.
UNLV volleyball looks for athletes who have great character and are willing to put in the extra work for the team.
“In order to reach the top level you have to sacrifice some things,” Sullivan said. “You have to be willing to put in the work and I think every player that we have right now in our roster absolutely does that. You have to be very intentional and very focused. Do they have the ability to do that? Do they have the mindset to be great and then positive?”
The Rebels anticipate more great seasons to come, looking to do better each year.