2011 BIG EAST Volleyball Championship Highlights Fall Slate at the Al McGuire Center

Ciara Jones (pictured) and Danielle Carlson are team captains for 2011

May 3, 2011

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MILWAUKEE - Marquette University will serve as host of the 2011 BIG EAST Conference Women's Volleyball Championship, highlighting the 2011 fall schedule as released Tuesday afternoon by head coach Bond Shymansky

“Once again we have stacked our schedule with marquee home matches and really tough road trips as the whole season will build to an exciting finish right here at the Al McGuire Center when we host the Big East tournament," Shymansky said. "We are always interested in playing top-caliber teams anytime, anywhere, and this schedule shows that commitment."

The Golden Eagles will host the BIG EAST volleyball tournament on Nov. 18-20 for the second time in program history after having previously hosted the event in 2007. The championship features the top eight regular season finishers from the 15-team conference and will be held at the Al McGuire Center Friday-Sunday.

Seven of the 28 teams on this year's schedule made appearances in the 2010 NCAA tournament and six won regular season and/or conference tournament titles. 

Marquette compiled a record of 15-6 in 2010 against opponents it will see again this season.

"We want to play high level volleyball in the pre-conference segment to make sure that we are prepared for the rigors of the BIG EAST," Shymansky said. "The regular season title was decided at our last home match this past year, so it seems like a natural progression to have the tournament title decided on our home court this season. We have every intention of winning the Big East title this year.”

MU opens its season with six road matches, including tournaments at Iowa and Creighton. The Golden Eagles play their first matches of the year at Shymansky's alma mater, Iowa, against Saint Louis and the Hawkeyes on Friday and Saturday, Aug. 26-27. The squad then travels to Northern Iowa on Monday, Aug. 29 to face a Panthers squad that finished 2010 ranked No. 14 nationally by the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) and advanced to the NCAA tournament. 

The Golden Eagles continue their Midwest road swing in Omaha, Neb., on Sept. 2-3. MU will take on South Dakota Friday afternoon before matches against Northern Illinois and tournament-host Creighton. Like Marquette, Creighton is coming off its best season in school history. The Jays recorded 21 wins in 2010, including a 3-0 sweep of the Golden Eagles in Milwaukee, and advanced to the second round of the NCAA tournament.

A week later, Marquette returns home for eight consecutive matches, opening with the Marquette/Milwaukee Invitational. Marquette will face Akron and Southern Mississippi at the Al McGuire Center on Friday, Sept. 9 before taking on Milwaukee at the Klotsche Center on Sept. 10. 

Green Bay travels to the Al McGuire Center for MU's first non-tournament home match of the season on Tuesday, Sept. 13 at 7 p.m. Marquette defeated the Phoenix, 3-1, last season in Green Bay.

In the Marquette Challenge, scheduled for Sept. 16-18 at the Al McGuire Center, MU takes on two NCAA tournament teams from 2010 in Middle Tennessee State and Minnesota. Action against the Blue Raiders begins at 7 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 16 and will continue against Minnesota on Sunday, Sept. 18 at 2 p.m.  

The 2010 Sun Belt Champion Blue Raiders fell in the first round of the NCAA tournament and Minnesota advanced to the Sweet 16 - the farthest of any team on MU's schedule this season. 

For the first time in four years, Marquette opens BIG EAST play at home, taking on USF Sunday, Sept. 25 at 2 p.m.

The Golden Eagles will play seven of eleven contests on the road during the month of October, including five conference matches. 

Marquette begins the month on a four-day East Coast road swing (Sept. 29-Oct. 2) where it will take on Sacred Heart, Connecticut and St. John's. In Fairfield, Conn., MU will compete against a Sacred Heart squad that won the Northeast Conference title and advanced to the NCAA tournament last fall. 

BIG EAST Conference play returns to the Al McGuire Center for a two-game homestand on Friday, Oct. 7 against Georgetown and Sunday, Oct. 9 against Villanova.

After a brief weekend in Milwaukee, the team hits the road again, traveling to Middle Tennessee State, Syracuse and Western Michigan.

Conference action rounds out the remainder of October with Seton Hall and Rutgers at the Al McGuire Center on Oct. 21 and Oct. 23, respectively, before traveling to Pittsburgh and West Virginia, Oct. 29-30. 

The road portion of Marquette's BIG EAST schedule ends on Nov. 5-6 with matches at Cincinnati and Louisville. The Bearcats won the 2010 BIG EAST Conference regular season title while the Cardinals claimed the BIG EAST tournament championship. Both teams advanced to the second round of the NCAA tournament. 

Notre Dame and DePaul travel to the Al McGuire Center, Friday, Nov. 11 and Sunday, Nov. 13, respectively, to close out the regular season. 

Marquette will finish the regular season against Northern Illinois in DeKalb, Ill., on Nov. 26.




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