Marquette to Face Illinois State in NCAA First Round
Nov. 30, 2014
MILWAUKEE -Marquette University will make its fourth-straight appearance in the NCAA Division I Women's Volleyball Championship and will face Illinois State (26-5) in Madison, Wisconsin at 5 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 4 at the Wisconsin Field House.
The Golden Eagles (24-8) are led into tournament play by BIG EAST Conference Player of the Year Autumn Bailey, who ranks in the top seven nationally in both kills (4.73) and points (5.48) per set. Marquette also boasts another pair of all-league players in middle hitter Meghan Niemann and right-side hitter Lindsey Gosh.
MU is 1-1 all-time against Illinois State and defeated the Redbirds in five sets last season on Sept. 25 at the Al McGuire Center. Gosh led MU in that contest with 16 kills on .324 hitting, while Niemann hit .355 and added 14 kills.
The Missouri Valley Conference champion Redbirds enter this year's tournament riding a 22-match winning streak and haven't lost since a Sept. 12 defeat at the hands of Baylor, 3-2, in Washington, D.C.
Marquette is 2-3 all-time in the NCAA tournament and advanced to the second round in 2011 and 2013 by defeating Western Kentucky and Louisville, respectively, in Champaign, Illinois.
First-year Marquette head coach Ryan Theis, a Madison native, will make his fifth appearance in NCAA play as a head coach. Theis' squads at Ohio made four appearances during his tenure in Athens and advanced to the second round on three occasions.
No. 4-seed Wisconsin will face Western Michigan following MU's match on Thursday evening with the winners advancing to Friday's second round contest at 7 p.m.
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