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MADISON, Wis. -- Twelve teams that competed in the 2013 NCAA Tournament highlight the 2014 schedule for the Wisconsin volleyball team, head coach Kelly Sheffield announced Monday.
Of those 12 NCAA teams, 10 were ranked or received votes in the final American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) poll released in December. UW’s schedule also features two 30-plus win teams and 12 teams that won 20-or-more matches in 2013.
“It's a challenging schedule and hopefully one that our fans will be excited about,” Sheffield said. “Our non-conference schedule has a lot of teams that won a lot of matches last year and are projected to be very good this year.”
The Badgers open the season Aug. 29-30 at the Big Ten/ACC Challenge in Minneapolis. Wisconsin begins tournament play against NCAA participant Louisville (23-8 in 2013) while also taking on Notre Dame (13-18).
Wisconsin travels to Greeley, Colo., and Fort Collins, Colo., on Sept. 5-6 to compete in the Northern Colorado/Colorado State Classic. The Badgers take on No. 21 Colorado State (28-2), Florida A&M (15-8) and Northern Colorado (14-17) in the round-robin tournament.
“Our tournament in Colorado should be very challenging and give us the opportunity to play against a really good team in one of the best home environments in the country,” said Sheffield of Colorado State. “The other two road tournaments are against top teams in the ACC and Pac-12, and kick off a four-year schedule with these tournaments rotating every year for four years. Our home tournament is against really solid teams with excellent coaching staffs.”
UW opens its home season Sept. 12-13 with the Badger Invitational, bringing in one NCAA tournament team and two 20-plus win teams. The Badgers take on NCAA tournament participant Miami (19-12) as well as Missouri State (21-11) and Ball State (24-8).
The non-conference season wraps up with Wisconsin’s toughest competition to date, traveling to Seattle for the Pac-12/Big Ten Challenge. The Badgers face No. 6 USC (29-6) and No. 4 Washington (30-3) in the city where they finished as the NCAA runners-up last December.
Wisconsin opens the Big Ten Conference season in a rematch of last year’s NCAA championship match, hosting No. 1 Penn State (34-2) in the UW Field House on Sept. 24.
A record-tying eight Big Ten teams competed in the 2013 NCAA Tournament with seven advancing to at least the Sweet 16 level of play.
No. 8 Nebraska (26-7) and No. 8 Purdue (23-12) competed in the Elite Eight last fall, while No. 10 Minnesota (29-7), No. 14 Michigan State (23-12) and No. 16 Illinois (18-15) were among the nation’s top 16 teams. Michigan (23-12) lost in the first round of NCAA play.
“As for the Big Ten, we are looking forward to welcoming Maryland and Rutgers into the league,” Sheffield said. “Both teams are led by very good and energetic head coaches. There's a lot of talent returning and coming into the league and it should be a fun and competitive year throughout.”
Badgers fans will also get their first look at Big Ten newcomers Maryland (13-19) and Rutgers (5-27) as both make appearances in the Field House. Wisconsin also plays two matches against Ohio State (18-14) and Iowa (11-21) while playing at Northwestern (16-16) and at Indiana (9-22).
Season tickets for the 2014 season go on sale on May 29 at 8:30 a.m. Season ticket holders receive tickets to all regular season home games, access to exclusive team events and NCAA seating priority, should Wisconsin be selected to host. To request more information on 2014 Wisconsin Volleyball season tickets, please visit http://go.wisc.edu/2014vbtix.