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8.24 Weekend Preview: Early Start Edition

We got the Weekend Preview started a little early yesterday. Men's soccer pointed out this morning that the last time UWM came to Valley Fields, there were 2,089 fans in attendance. If you're heading down to the Valley for tonight's doubleheader against UWM, get there early. Gates open at 5:30, the men's match starts at 6:30, and the women's match will follow afterwards!

We've got a few more events this weekend to talk about, including the first match of the volleyball team's season. Hit the jump and we'll get started!

Volleyball starts their season tonight at 7pm with the opening match of the 2012 Marquette Challenge. The Bowling Green Falcons provide the opposition, which is nice, because it allows me the chance to link to this music video about their home arena. It's also the first match of the season for the Falcons, who were picked to finished third in the MAC's East Division. Junior outside hitter Danielle Tonyan was named to the MAC's preseason all-conference team after finishing third in the conference in kills as a sophomore. Danijela Tomic takes the reigns for the Falcons, as they have a new head coach for the first time in 30 years following the retirement of Denise Van De Walle. Tomic was Sun Belt Coach Of The Year three times in her seven season at FIU. As part of the Marquette Challenge, Bowling Green will be playing Northwestern on Saturday at the Al McGuire Center.

As you've probably guessed, the Marquette Challenge will wrap up on Sunday as the Golden Eagles take on Northwestern at 2pm. I have it on good authority that the first 200 students at the Al McGuire Center will get FREE PIZZA from Pizza Hut. Getting back to volleyball, junior outside hitter Stephanie Holthus is the standout for the Wildcats and was named to the Big Ten's preseason all-conference team. Holthus finished fourth in the Big Ten and 31st in the country in kills last season with 475. Sophomore middle blocker Katie Dutchman is coming off a rookie campaign that earned her Big Ten All-Freshman team honors. If you're attending the Bowling Green match, make sure you hang on to your ticket, as it will get you into the Northwestern match as well! If you can't make it down to the McGuire Center, all of the home matches will be streamed live on!

Men's and women's soccer will head out onto the road following Friday's matches against UWM. Women's soccer heads south to face Saint Louis at 5:30pm on Sunday. The Billikens were picked to finish ninth in the 16 team Atlantic 10 (don't ask questions) and are 0-1-1 on the still young season following a 3-1 loss at Mississippi and a scoreless draw at Southeast Missouri State. They'll travel to Evanston for a match tonight before heading back to Saint Louis to start the home portion of their schedule. Junior forward Maddie Gebauer has the lone goal so far this season for SLU and senior keeper Katie Walsh has played all 200 minutes between the posts.

The men's soccer team will head in the opposite direction and take the short drive north to Green Bay for a match against the UWGB Phoenix at 3pm. It will be the second match of the season for first year head coach Daniel Popik's squad after opening with Western Kentucky tonight. This is the first time that UW-Green Bay and Marquette have faced off since 2007 and the Phoenix hold a 21-13-4 advantage in the all time series. UW-Green Bay was picked to finish sixth in the eight team Horizon League. Junior forward Sam Krenzien was second on the team in goals and points a year ago and sophomore forward Kirby Allen was right behind him in third place. Allen also earned Horizon League All-Newcomer team honors for his efforts in 2011.