In 2018, Marquette volleyball reached new heights. They ascended to a new record high in the AVCA coaches poll and advanced to the Sweet 16 for the first time in program history.
It can safely be said that head coach Ryan Theis is not letting his team rest on their laurels.
The 2019 schedule is officially out, and it features nine matches against 2018 NCAA tournament teams amongst MU’s 12 non-conference opponents. Yes, that’s right, three-quarters of the non-conference slate will be against teams good enough for last year’s field of 64, not to mention teams that will be aiming to return again in 2019. Four of those matches, all away from the McGuire Center, will be against teams that earned a top 16 national seed in the 2018 national championship tournament.
This is a schedule that is clearly aiming at playing NCAA tournament games in the McGuire Center for the second straight season. And why not? It was a terrific advantage for the Golden Eagles to play two matches in front of rowdy home crowds last December, and it’s safe to say that it helped push MU into the Sweet 16. with two straight set victories. May as well do it again and go back-to-back, right?
In fact, Marquette kicks off the schedule with one of those seeded teams, as they’ll spend the opening weekend of the year in Utah for an event hosted by BYU. The Cougars are the first opponent of the year after earning the #4 seed last year and advancing to the Final Four.
From there, MU comes back to Wisconsin, but stops by to visit the Wisconsin for a Thursday evening game before the home opener. Wisconsin was the #6 seed in last year’s NCAA tourney, and they advanced to the Elite Eight. Syracuse and Baylor are MU’s first two home opponents of the season, with both teams getting to the round of 32 last year.
Three more 2018 tournament teams are waiting for Marquette on the next weekend. UCF (#13 seed, lost in the first round), Illinois (#3 seed, reached the Final Four) and Illinois State (lost in the first round) are the three foes in an event hosted by Illinois State. The match against the Illini will be fascinating, as it will be a rematch of MU’s Sweet 16 contest a year ago.
The streak of NCAA tournament teams on the calendar continues for one more match, as Marquette returns home to face Green Bay. The Phoenix were knocked out in the first round last year by Wisconsin, and they’ll be MU’s first opponent in an event hosted at the McGuire Center. Saint Louis snaps the postseason squad streak, but Northern Iowa turns up to close out the non-conference schedule after an NCAA tourney appearance a year ago.
From there, it’s Big East matches all the way down. Marquette opens with a mid-week game against Butler, and the first match against Creighton comes on October 12th. That one will be in Milwaukee, and is likely to have conference title implications. The Bluejays were the #9 national seed in last year’s NCAA tournament, and you’d have to imagine getting dumped out in the round of 32 by Washington still stings a little bit.
The return bout with the Jays in Omaha is on November 22nd, which will be the second to last match of the regular season. Marquette actually has a bye week built into their schedule this year, going without a Big East match between Xavier on October 2nd and Providence on October 11th. That’s likely because they’ll play home-and-home against DePaul on consecutive days on November 8th and 9th.
Finally, any schedule discussion would be silly and shortsighted if we didn’t mention the fact that Marquette is hosting the Big East tournament this year. It will be played, as is tradition, on the Friday and Saturday of Thanksgiving weekend, so go ahead and block out your calendars for November 29th and 30th right now. Only the top four teams in the Big East qualify for the tournament, but if Theis is going heavy on the non-conference slate like this, there’s no reason to think that MU won’t be one of the four in the league tourney.
Here’s the full 2019 Marquette volleyball schedule, with the home matches in bold and italics. They’re important and also fancy.
2019 Marquette Volleyball Schedule
|Friday, Aug. 30||at BYU||11:00 AM|
|Saturday, Aug. 31||vs Boise State (in Provo, UT)||6:30 PM|
|Saturday, Aug. 31||vs Utah Valley State (in Provo, UT)||8:00 PM|
|Thursday, Sept. 5||at Wisconsin||6:30 PM|
|Saturday, Sept. 7||Syracuse||1:00 PM|
|Sunday, Sept. 8||Baylor||1:00 PM|
|Friday, Sept. 13||vs UCF (in Normal, IL)||4:30 PM|
|Saturday, Sept. 14||vs Illinois (in Normal, IL)||7:00 PM|
|Sunday, Sept. 15||at Illinois State||3:00 PM|
|Friday, Sept. 20||Green Bay||7:00 PM|
|Saturday, Sept. 21||Saint Louis||10:00 AM|
|Saturday, Sept. 21||Northern Iowa||7:00 PM|
|Wednesday, Sept. 25||Butler||11:30 AM|
|Friday, Sept. 27||Seton Hall||7:00 PM|
|Saturday, Sept. 28||St. John's||6:00 PM|
|Wednesday, Oct. 2||at Xavier||11:00 AM|
|Friday, Oct. 11||Providence||7:00 PM|
|Saturday, Oct. 12||Creighton||6:00 PM|
|Friday, Oct. 18||at Villanova||6:00 PM|
|Saturday, Oct. 19||at Georgetown||4:00 PM|
|Friday, Oct. 25||at St. John's||6:00 PM|
|Saturday, Oct. 26||at Seton Hall||4:00 PM|
|Friday, Nov. 1||Xavier||7:00 PM|
|Sunday, Nov. 3||at Butler||12:00 PM|
|Friday, Nov. 8||DePaul||7:00 PM|
|Saturday, Nov. 9||at DePaul||6:00 PM|
|Friday, Nov. 15||Georgetown||7:00 PM|
|Saturday, Nov. 16||Villanova||6:00 PM|
|Friday, Nov. 22||at Creighton||TBA|
|Sunday, Nov. 24||at Providence||12:00 PM|