April 25, 2012
• 2012 Printable Schedule
MADISON, Wis. – The 2012 schedule for the University of Wisconsin volleyball team is full of tough teams. The Badgers face 13 teams that won 20-or-more matches in 2011, including 11 teams that participated in the 2011 NCAA Tournament.
“There’s no doubt that we have a lot of strong teams on our schedule for 2012,” says head coach Pete Waite, who begins his 14th season at UW this fall. “A big portion of that is in Big Ten play but there are also good tournament teams on our non-conference schedule.”
Wisconsin opens play on Aug. 24-25 at the USF Invitational in Tampa, Fla. The Badgers face host South Florida as well as Central Florida and Creighton in the tournament. UCF won 20 matches last season while Creighton won 17 matches.
The season-opening road swing continues on Aug. 31-Sept. 1 when UW travels to Long Beach, Calif., for the LBSU Invitational. Wisconsin faces James Madison (20-11 in 2011), Cal State Northridge (16-13) and its first NCAA tournament team in the host 49ers. Long Beach State was 23-7 last season, losing in the first round of post-season play.
“In our pre-conference play, we have a good mix of strong teams from a variety of conferences,” says Waite. “We’ll be traveling coast to coast going up against some good programs. We’ll be on the road for three of four weekends so that’ll be a real test for us.”
The Badgers open their home season on Sept. 7-8, hosting the 21st-annual InnTowner Invitational in the UW Field House. Wisconsin brings in two NCAA teams in Milwaukee (25-5) and North Dakota State (26-9). Both teams lost in the first round of tournament play in 2011.
“When people ask what home matches will be the ones to watch, I tell them all of them,” says Waite. “There are no bad teams on our home schedule so I expect they’ll all be exciting.”
Wisconsin wraps up the non-conference season on Sept. 14-15 at the Georgia Southern Tournament in Statesboro, Ga. The Badgers face Savannah State, Jacksonville and South Alabama in the invitational.
UW opens Big Ten Conference play on the road, traveling to Northwestern (16-15) and Illinois (32-5) on Sept. 21 and Sept. 22, respectively. The Big Ten sent eight teams to the NCAA tournament in 2011, led by the Illini. Illinois advanced to the national championship match, losing to UCLA in four sets.
The Badgers open their home conference season on Sept. 28, hosting Penn State (25-8), a perennial national power.
“Big Ten play will be strong as usual,” says Waite. “It’s proven to be the strongest and deepest conference in the country with the best and largest fan base.”
Eight conference teams were ranked or received votes in the final American Volleyball Coaches Association poll for 2011 – No. 2 Illinois; No. 9 Penn State; No. 10 Purdue (29-5); No. 12 Nebraska (25-5); No. 15 Minnesota (20-12); No. 20 (tie) Michigan (22-13); No. 23 Ohio State (21-15); and receiving votes Michigan State (22-12).
After a four-year absence from the NCAA tournament, the Badgers are looking to get back into the post-season classic.
“Our main goal is to be playing in the NCAA tournament at the end of the season so we’ll really need to mature as a team and play good volleyball from the first weekend to the last,” says Waite. “We showed some great progress last year and I think we have the tools to play at a high level.”