Marquette Heads to Madison for NCAA Championship
Dec. 2, 2014
MILWAUKEE - Marquette University will make its fourth-straight appearance in the NCAA Division I Women’s Volleyball Championship against Illinois State (26-5) in Madison, Wisconsin at 5 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 4 at the UW Field House.
The match will be streamed live on UWBadgers.com and live statistics will be provided through the NCAA. Marquette University Radio will also provide a live audio stream for free on www.marquettewire.org/listen.
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, which finished third in the BIG EAST with a record of 14-4, 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.
For additional coverage, follow Marquette volleyball on Twitter (@MarquetteVB).
SCOUTING THE COMPETITION:
ILLINOIS STATE [26-5 (18-0 Missouri Valley) | GoRedbirds.com | @ISUvb]: The Redbirds rolled through the Missouri Valley Conference a perfect 18-0 and have won their last 22 matches, including conference tournament wins over Missouri State and Northern Iowa last weekend. Junior outside hitter Ashley Rosch was named MVP at the league championship and paces ISU with 405 kills for an average of 3.49 per set. Senior setter Kaitlyn Early was named the MVC Player of the Year, while Emily Orrick earned libero of the year and head coach Melissa Myers was the coaching award recipient. The Redbirds are making their first NCAA appearance since 2007.
No. 4 WISCONSIN [28-2 (19-1 Big Ten) | UWBadgers.com | @BadgerVB]: The fourth-seeded and second-ranked Badgers have dropped just five sets since a Sept. 24 loss to then-No. 3 Penn State and have won 19-straight matches. Big Ten Coach of the Year Kelly Sheffield is in his second season in Madison after leading UW to an NCAA Runner-up finish in the 2013 tournament. The Badgers are making their 18th appearance in the NCAAs and are looking for their first national title. Big Ten Player of the Year Lauren Carlini leads Wisconsin’s offense with 11.45 assists per set and helped UW hit .287 as a team in 2014. Junior outside hitter Courtney Thomas earned All-Big Ten First Team honors this season as did the league’s defensive player of the year, Taylor Morey, a libero who started her career at Notre Dame in 2012.
WESTERN MICHIGAN [22-13 (9-7 MAC) | WMUBroncos.com | @WMUVolleyball]: Despite earning the No. 5 seed in the Mid-American Conference tournament with a 9-7 record, the Broncos rolled through four tournament matches over as many days to earn the league’s automatic bid. They knocked off top-seeded Ohio, which went a perfect 16-0 in regular season league play, in the semifinal round in five sets and beat Miami (Ohio) to claim the crown. WMU is led by head coach Colleen Munson, who has guided her squads to 20 victories in nine of her 10 years in Kalamazoo. The Broncos had a pair of all-league honorees in senior setter Lexie Pawlik and middle blocker Sydney LeMay, the MAC Freshman of the Year. MU swept the last meeting against WMU on Oct. 9, 2012 at the Al McGuire Center.
QUICK HITS/RECENT PROGRAM HISTORY:
• BIG EAST Player of the Year: Autumn Bailey
• All-BIG EAST Championship: Courtney Kintzel
• Sports Imports/AVCA Division I National Player of the Week: Autumn Bailey (Nov. 17)
• BIG EAST Player of the Week: Meghan Niemann (Sept. 22)
• BIG EAST Offensive Player of the Week: Autumn Bailey (Oct. 13, Oct. 20, Nov. 10, Nov. 17, Nov. 24)
• BIG EAST Defensive Player of the Week: Lauren Houg (Nov. 10)
• BIG EAST Freshman of the Week: Gabby Benda (Sept. 29 and Oct. 20)
• BIG EAST Honor Roll: Courtney Kintzel (9/1), Autumn Bailey (9/9, 9/29 & 11/3), Nele Barber (9/15 & 10/6), Lindsey Gosh (9/22, 9/29 & 11/3), Meghan Niemann (10/26), Lauren Houg (11/17 & 11/24), Gabby Benda (11/24)
• NCAA RPI: Oct. 6 – No. 21; Oct. 13 – No. 28; Oct. 20 – No. 24; Oct. 26 – No. 27; Nov. 3 – No. 21; Nov. 10 – No. 23; Nov. 17 – No. 26; Nov. 24 – No. 26
• The Golden Eagles compiled a 5-6 record during the 2014 campaign against eight squads that made their way into the NCAA field of 64 (Colorado State, American, Florida State, Florida, UCF, Jacksonville, Creighton and Seton Hall).
• MU is 2-3 all-time in NCAA play with first round victories in 2011 and 2013.
• Marquette is making its fourth straight appearance in the NCAA Championship in 2014.
• MU has not competed at the UW Field House since the 1999 Wisconsin Challenge.
• Marquette leads the BIG EAST in hitting percentage (.251) and opponent hitting percentage (.156) and ranks among the top four programs in every team statistical category.
• Autumn Bailey leads the league in seven statistical categories and ranks in the top-10 nationally in five of them. She is fifth in points per set (5.48), sixth in attacks per set (12.77) and seventh in kills per frame (4.73).
• Bailey is the second Marquette player in the last two seasons to claim the league's player of the year award after setter Elizabeth Koberstein also did so in 2013. The last sophomore to earn the honor was Miami's Valeria Tipiana in 2002 and the last player to take home freshman of the year and player of the year in consecutive campaigns was Pittsburgh's Ann Marie Lucanie in 1991.
• Marquette’s five-set win over then-No. 7 Florida on Sept. 19 marked the first win in program history over a top-10 opponent.
• Bailey’s 89 attacks in MU’s four-set victory over Seton Hall on Saturday, Oct. 18 are the most for a player in NCAA Division I this season and the most-ever for a Golden Eagle. Marquette set an NCAA record for a four-set match with 117 points in the win, while Bailey had 25 kills.
• Bailey became the first player in program history to earn Sports Imports/AVCA Division I National Player of the Week honors on Nov. 17 after posting 8.00 points and 7.14 kills per set, while hitting .348 in matches at Seton Hall and Villanova.
• Head coach Ryan Theis is in his first season with the Golden Eagles after six years at Ohio University. Theis entered 2014 as the 18th-winningest active head coach in NCAA Division I (.727) and was the 2009 and 2013 MAC Coach of the Year while leading the Bobcats to four NCAA tournaments. Theis is making his fifth trip to the NCAAs as a head coach.
• The Golden Eagles were picked second in the BIG EAST Preseason Coaches’ Poll with four first-place votes.
• The Golden Eagles have won 20 matches for a program-record five-straight seasons.
Single Season - Record Watch (as of Dec. 1, 2014)
• Autumn Bailey is tied for first in MU history with fellow Canadian Kim Todd (2006) with 544 kills this season.
• Bailey is also the single season leader with 1,468 total attacks and ranks 10th with 46 service aces.
• Meghan Niemann is MU’s single season block assist leader with 129 in 2014.
• Niemann is also 13th with a hitting percentage of .307 (minimum 500 attacks).
Career - Record Watch (as of Dec. 1, 2014)
• Niemann is second all time at MU with a hitting percentage of .328 (532-143-1,187).
• Lindsey Gosh is seventh with 120 service aces.
• Bailey is 13th in kills with 1,027 and became the first sophomore at MU to surpass 1,000 kills this season. She is also eighth with an attack percentage of .252 (1,027-342-2,722).
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