Missouri Valley Conference basketball is making some major noise this season as teams have already secured six wins over Power Five programs, collectively. With four wins from MVC teams this week, the conference has already surpassed its total Power Five victories from last season. The average margin of victory in each win is approximately 10 points.
This past week, Drake women defeated Iowa State at home, Missouri State beat Oklahoma on the road, Illinois State University defeated in-state Big 10 rival University of Illinois and Northern Iowa hosted in-state rival Iowa in their 22-point victory. The Valley is now responsible for 50% of the entire Big 12 Conference’s losses this season, and almost 38% of all Big 10 losses. The only Power Five conference the Valley has yet to face is the ACC.
MVC women’s soccer officially came to a heartbreaking close this weekend as Loyola fell to Hofstra in its first round of NCAA tournament play. Playing at the Hofstra Soccer Stadium in Hempstead, New York, one could potentially say Hofstra had the home court advantage as it defeated the Ramblers 1-0 in overtime. The Ramblers officially close the season at 14-5-1 overall (7-0-0 MVC). Congrats to the Loyola Ramblers women’s soccer team on representing the conference on the national stage.
The MVC women’s soccer scholar-athlete team was announced Nov. 19. This year’s first-team and honorable mentions list includes 19 student-athletes, with 46 total nominated for the honor. Nominees must be starters or important reserves with at least a 3.30 cumulative GPA. Student-athletes must have also participated in at least 75% of the regular-season matches or MVC tournament. They must also be at least sophomores in academic and athletic standing. Illinois State’s own Kate Del Fava picked up the top honor, being named the 2019 Scholar-Athlete of the Year. In total, Illinois State was the best represented of the eight member institutions with five athletes. The full release can be found here.
SWIMMING & DIVING
The primary event that highlighted MVC swimming and diving this weekend was held in Carbondale, Illinois. The Salukis of Southern Illinois University captured the win at their own invitational this weekend with the help of both the swimmer and diver of the week. Laura Carver, a senior hailing from Kentucky, snagged two individual victories in the 200-yard individual medley and the 400-yard individual medley. Her time of 2:02.13 in the 200-yard distance set a new SIU school record, while her 400-yard time came within a second of the current record.
Senior teammate Beibei Ji, a China native, got the job done on the boards. Ji had a landslide victory in the 3-meter dive event, scoring 26 points ahead of the runner-up. Her score of 356.55 is a new career best.
Coming up over the fall break, MVC teams will travel across the country to compete in their first major invites of the young season. Two teams, Indiana State and Illinois State, will collide at the Purdue Invitational, while other MVC foes can be found at the SMU Invitational in Texas, the Phoenix Fall Classic in Chicago and the Kansas Classic.
MVC Swimmer of the Week: Laura Carver, SIU
MVC Diver of the Week: Beibei Ji, SIU
Five Valley teams have now solidified their spots in the fast-approaching MVC Volleyball Tournament to be held next week at Northern Iowa. Northern Iowa, Loyola, Illinois State, Bradley and Valparaiso have earned their respective seeds in the tournament and will play next week, regardless of how the final week of regular season plays out. In-state Valley foes Evansville and Indiana State are both in contention for the sixth seed. If the Purple Aces hold strong at their current No. 6 seed, it will be their first tournament berth since 2008. The full tournament bracket will be announced on Nov. 23 following the conclusion of regular season play.
Northern Iowa’s near-perfect record this season has earned it at least a share of the MVC regular season title. Its record of 15-1 is nearly two games ahead of current runner-up Loyola. The Panthers’ lone loss comes from the Illinois State Redbirds this season, who are secured at the No. 3 seed in the tournament. Northern Iowa is set to win its 19th regular season title in program history if it can defeat No. 2 Loyola or No. 5 Valparaiso this weekend.
Some exciting matchups this past week helped the Redbirds improve their tournament seed from No. 4 to No. 3. With a win over Valparaiso and an impressive victory over No. 2 Loyola, the Redbirds are looking to make moves in this final week of the regular season.
MVC Player of the Week: Kaylee Martin, Illinois State
MVC Defensive Player of the Week: Melina Tedrow, Indiana State
MVC Freshman of the Week: Melanie Feliciano, Evansville