Marquette to Face Creighton Friday in 2012 NCAA Championship
Nov. 25, 2012
MILWAUKEE - The Marquette University women's volleyball team has earned an at-large bid to the 2012 NCAA Women's Volleyball Championship for the second-straight year and will face Creighton in the first round on Friday, Nov. 30 at 4:30 p.m. in Minneapolis, Minn.
The Golden Eagles make their second appearance in the 64-team field as an at-large selection out of the BIG EAST Conference, which also placed Louisville and Notre Dame in the tournament.
Marquette (27-6) is led by Bond Shymansky, who has helped the Golden Eagles to a program-record 27 victories in 2012, including 13 in BIG EAST play. The NCAA appearance is the fifth of Shymansky's head coaching career.
The Golden Eagles are paced by three All-BIG EAST First Team selections in seniors Holly Mertens and Danielle Carlson, as well as junior setter Elizabeth Koberstein. Mertens leads MU with 3.33 kills per set, while Carlson boasts a team-high .400 hitting percentage. Koberstein paces a Marquette offense that hit a combined .278 in 2012 with 11.59 assists per set.
Creighton (28-3) enters the matchup as winners of its last 16 matches, and won the Missouri Valley Conference regular season and tournament championships for the first time in program history in 2012. The Bluejays are led by MVC Player of the Year and tournament most valuable player Megan Bober, who paces the squad at setter with 9.62 assists, 3.00 digs, 1.90 kills and 0.99 blocks per set. Bober is joined by fellow All-MVC First Team picks Kelli Browning and Melanie Jereb, the former of whom earned MVC Defensive Player of the Year honors this season.
The winner of Friday's contest will face the winner of the 6:30 p.m. match between No. 8 Minnesota (24-7) and Liberty (25-7) on Saturday at 6 p.m.
The Golden Eagles made their first NCAA appearance in 2011, defeating No. 24 Western Kentucky, 3-1, in the first round before falling to eventual national runner-up Illinois in the second.
It is only the second NCAA appearance for Creighton, which topped Iowa State in the first round in 2010 before falling to host-Minnesota in the second round.
Creighton holds a 2-1 lead in the series with the Golden Eagles. The Bluejays won the first two meetings in 2005 and 2010 before Marquette swept Creighton last year in Omaha.
The Bluejays and Golden Eagles shared three common opponents in 2012 (USF, Syracuse and Northern Iowa). Creighton went 4-0 against common foes, while MU was 2-1 in those contests with a loss to Northern Iowa on Sept. 9.
Five of Marquette's 2012 opponents made the field and the Golden Eagles hold a 4-4 record against those opponents.
Tickets for the First and Second Rounds go on sale online at 5 p.m. tonight through mygophersports.