Golden Eagles Earn First NCAA Championship Invitation In Program History

Marquette earned an at-large selection for the BIG EAST Conference.

Nov. 27, 2011

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MILWAUKEE - The Marquette University women's volleyball team has earned an at-large bid to the 2011 NCAA Women's Volleyball Championship for the first time in program history and will face Sun Belt Conference Champion Western Kentucky in the first round on Friday, Dec. 2 at 4:30 p.m. in Champaign, Ill.

The Golden Eagles will make their first appearance in the 64-team field as an at-large selection out of the BIG EAST Conference, which also placed Cincinnati and Louisville in the tournament.

Marquette (23-10) is led by 2011 BIG EAST Coach of the Year Bond Shymansky, who has led MU to 23 victories each of the last two seasons and a spot in the semifinals of the conference tournament each year. The tournament appearance is the fourth for Shymansky as a head coach.

BIG EAST Freshman of the Year Chelsea Heier leads the Marquette offense with 11.90 assists per set, while senior outside hitters Ciara Jones and Ashley Beyer lead the squad with 3.57 and 3.36 kills per set, respectively.

The Lady Toppers posted a 31-3 record in 2011 while claiming the Sun Belt regular season and tournament titles. WKU is led by junior outside hitter Jordyn Skinner, who averages 3.83 kills and 3.45 digs per set. Senior middle hitters Lindsay Williams and Tiffany Elmore lead an attack that ranks 10th in NCAA Division I with a hitting percentage of .274. Elmore leads the squad with a mark of .337 and also averages a team-best 0.96 blocks per set.

The winner of Friday's contest will face the winner of the 7 p.m. match between No. 3 Illinois and Central Michigan on Saturday.

It is the sixth NCAA appearance for WKU, which was swept in the first round last year by Cincinnati.

WKU holds the lone victory in the series, a 3-0 sweep in the Marquette Challenge on Sept. 4, 2004 at the Al McGuire Center.

The Lady Toppers and Golden Eagles shared three common opponents in 2011 (Cincinnati, Middle Tennessee and Villanova). WKU went 3-2 against common foes, while MU was 2-3 in those contests.

Ten of Marquette's 2011 opponents made the field and the Golden Eagles hold a 4-9 record against those opponents.

Ticket Information

All-session tickets will be on sale starting at 9 a.m. Monday morning at the University of Illinois Athletic Ticket Office or by calling 866-Illini-1. Ticket prices are $16 for reserved seats, $12 for general admission or $8 for student/youth general admission. Single-session tickets will only be available at the door and are $8 for the general public and $6 for students/youth.




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