Marquette Volleyball Releases 2013 Schedule
June 7, 2013
MILWAUKEE - The Marquette University women's volleyball team has announced its regular season schedule for the upcoming 2013 fall campaign, which will include a revamped BIG EAST Conference slate and six 2012 NCAA tournament opponents during non-conference play.
"We are loading up our schedule once again," Marquette head coach Bond Shymansky said. "We are committed to excellence and championship-caliber competition everywhere and any way we can get it. Our program has taken a big step forward in the past few years, but we need to keep making strides, and the only way to do that is to play the best teams we can. Almost half of our out-of-conference slate will be against top-25 opponents, and several other conference champions. We will need to be sharp, motivated and steady to succeed in the challenge, but I am confident that is exactly what we are."
This year's schedule includes a total of eight matches against opponents who made the 2012 NCAA Women's Volleyball Championship and seven matches against teams who won at least one NCAA match. Among those are four teams who advanced to the Sweet 16, while USC made the Elite 8 and Penn State competed in its fifth Final Four in the previous six seasons.
Marquette compiled an impressive 27-7 regular season record in 2012, including a program-record 13 victories in BIG EAST Conference play, and back-to-back appearances in the NCAA Division I Women's Volleyball Championship.
The Golden Eagles begin their season on Aug. 30-31 at the Hampton Inn Invitational, hosted by 2012 Mid-American Conference Champion Bowling Green. The Falcons will host MU on Friday, Aug. 30 in the season opener for both squads, while Marquette will face BYU to conclude its first weekend of action on Saturday, Aug. 31 at 11:30 a.m. CT. The Cougars won a share of the West Coast Conference title in 2012 and advanced to the second weekend of the NCAA tournament as the national No. 12 seed.
The University of Southern California will make the trek to the Al McGuire Center as Marquette returns home to host the Marquette Challenge on Sept 6-7. The Trojans were the No. 6 seed in last year's NCAA Championship and will face the Golden Eagles for the first time in program history on Friday, Sept. 6 for MU's home opener at 7 p.m. The Marquette Challenge will also feature MU against TCU on Saturday, Sept. 7 at noon.
In another program first, Marquette will take on perennial national title contender Penn State on Friday, Sept. 13 at 1 p.m. CT in its first match of Florida Gulf Coast University's tournament in Fort Myers, Fla. The Nittany Lions were the No. 1 seed in the 2012 NCAA tournament and ended the year ranked No. 3 in both the AVCA Coaches' Poll and the NCAA RPI rankings.
Also on Sept. 13, the Golden Eagles will face tournament-host and 2012 Atlantic Sun regular season champion FGCU at 6 p.m. CT. They will conclude the tournament with an early afternoon contest on Saturday, Sept. 14 against 2012 Southland Conference title winner Central Arkansas. The Sugar Bears finished last season with an RPI of 51 and a loss to No. 13 Washington in the program's first-ever NCAA tournament appearance.
The Golden Eagles will welcome Florida along with the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee to the Al McGuire Center for the Marquette Invitational. Marquette will open the tournament with the Gators at 7 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 20 before facing long-time foe Milwaukee at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 22.
Florida is coming off a successful 2012 campaign in which it went 27-4 before bowing out in the regional semifinal of the NCAA tournament to eventual national champion, Texas. Marquette is 0-2 all-time against Florida with its last decision coming in the form of a 3-0 sweep by the seventh-ranked Gators on Nov. 24, 2006 in Gainesville, Fla.
With the newly reconfigured BIG EAST Conference, Marquette will face a true round-robin schedule with 16 regular season matches, playing each opponent twice. Providence will still remain in the America East Conference and not compete in the BIG EAST.
"It is really exciting to play a double round robin format in the BIG EAST this year," Shymansky said. "We have some great existing rivalries and some new rivalries brewing. I expect that the regular season title will come down to the wire, and we ought to be in the hunt once again. Our team understands that a BIG EAST title is a daily conquest and must be focused on by achieving success each day. We have great leadership and returning players with experience, but we also have some younger talent that will surprise people around the league. It will be another fun season for the Golden Eagles"
Marquette will open conference play at travel partner DePaul on Saturday, Sept. 28 at McGrath Arena in Chicago and won't host their first home BIG EAST match until the Blue Demons make a trip to Milwaukee on Saturday, Oct. 19.
The weekend prior to MU's home league opener, Marquette will travel to Omaha, Neb., on Sunday, Oct. 13 to face Creighton, the league's lone squad without a travel partner. The Bluejays knocked the Golden Eagles out of the NCAA tournament in the first round last season and look poised to become major rivals with MU. CU is 4-1 all-time against the Golden Eagles and ended the 2012 campaign ranked No. 24 by the AVCA.
With the way this year's league schedule is configured, MU will host three opponents on the weekend of Oct. 25-27, beginning with Creighton on Friday, Oct. 25. Following Marquette's second match against the Bluejays, MU will face Villanova and Georgetown, both for the second time on Saturday, Oct. 26 and Sunday, Oct. 27, respectively.
The Golden Eagles will conclude the season with two matches each against Butler, Xavier, Seton Hall and St. John's during the month of November, including their final regular season contest against Butler on Saturday, Nov. 23 at the Al McGuire Center.
The top four teams during the conference's regular season will head to Omaha, Neb., for the BIG EAST Conference Women's Volleyball Championship on Nov. 29-30.
Using last year's final NCAA RPI rankings, the average ranking of this year's opponents is an average of 10 spots better than that of MU's 2012 opponents. The Golden Eagles finished the 2012 campaign ranked 33rd in RPI.
A season ticket pass for 2013 women's volleyball regular-season home games is available for just $30 by calling the Marquette ticket office at (414) 288-GOMU (4668).
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