It’s long been a trend at the McGuire Center for Marquette volleyball head coach Ryan Theis to make sure he assembles a non-conference slate that will 1) challenge the team he thinks he has and 2) give the Golden Eagles the RPI boosters they need to earn an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament. Some years are more challenging than others, but it’s never a surprise to see at least one or two big names pop up on the slate when it’s announced, sometimes on the road, sometimes at the McGuire Center.
This year, with the 2023 schedule being officially announced on Wednesday morning.... Ryan Theis has hit what I think is a new high for him, and it makes me wonder what he thinks the ceiling is for his squad this fall.
Let me just run it past you this way. Here’s a list of nine of the 11 teams on the non-conference schedule, along with their 2022 records and where their season ended.
Pitt: 31-4, Final Four
Oregon: 26-6, Elite Eight
Wisconsin: 28-4, Elite Eight (where they lost to Pitt)
Kansas: 19-11, NCAA Second Round
Purdue: 21-11, NCAA Second Round
Western Kentucky: 29-4, NCAA Second Round
Tennessee: 17-14, NCAA First Round (where they lost to Purdue)
Drake: 30-8, NIVC Runner-up
Dayton: 20-14, Atlantic 10 Runner-up
“We are looking to building off the momentum generated last fall with a challenging schedule in 2023,” Theis said. “Marquette has continued to make a commitment to its women’s volleyball program, and we’ve been fortunate to schedule a very competitive non-conference slate.”
“Last season was a very successful one, but this team wants more,” Theis said. “For us to take that next step as a program we needed to get aggressive with our out-of-conference schedule. I believe we have a preseason schedule that stacks up against any in the country.”
Oh, and in addition to those nine contests, Marquette will also visit Milwaukee and host Air Force as part of a stretch of six matches in 10 days and four in five days. One of those matches in that stretch? Hosting Wisconsin at Fiserv Forum in downtown Milwaukee, MU’s first ever match at Fiserv and an attempt at breaking the state attendance record. That mark was set last season, when Wisconsin hosted Florida at the Kohl Center and drew 16,833 people. It would have been an attempt at setting a brand new NCAA attendance record, but Nebraska got the bright idea to play a match at their football stadium in late August, and, uh, well, they sold out Memorial Stadium. MU/UW will still be a shot at the indoor record, I guess, which is a weird thing to say about volleyball now that I think about it.
It’s going to take a minute this fall before we get to see the Golden Eagles at the McGuire Center, though. Their first five matches of the season are on the road, and that includes a back-to-back days visit to Purdue and Kansas. However, the home debut on September 8th is a big one. That’s the Pitt game, and starting there, seven of the next eight matches are home games, including the Fiserv game against Wisconsin and the first two of Big East play, and the sixth one is the visit across town to UWM.
As mentioned, Big East play gets started at home with a pair of matches, which will be on September 22nd and 23rd with Villanova and Georgetown coming to Milwaukee. Marquette’s first meeting with Creighton this season will come at home on Friday, October 6th, while the visit to Omaha will take place on Sunday, November 5th. It is an 18 game league schedule, so it is not a full round robin against the other 10 members of the Big East. If you had your heart set on seeing Butler or Xavier in Milwaukee this season, well, I’m sorry, but those are the two squads with only one match this fall and they’ll both come on the road in mid-October. The upside there is that Marquette has 10 contests in league play on the road against just eight at home, so that’s a bit of an RPI boost for the Golden Eagles.... but it also means we get shortchanged on watching our favorite volleyball team in person in Milwaukee.
We should get to make that up on the back end of the schedule though, as Marquette will be hosting the Big East tournament. Block out your Thanksgiving weekend schedule, as the six team event will take place on November 22nd, 24th, and 25th at the McGuire Center.
Here’s the full schedule with dates and times!
2023 Marquette Volleyball Schedule
|Friday, August 25||Western Kentucky (in Dayton)||10:00 AM|
|Friday, August 25||Drake (in Dayton)||4:00 PM|
|Saturday, August 26||at Dayton||6:00 PM|
|Friday, September 1||at Purdue||1:00 PM|
|Saturday, September 2||at Kansas||1:00 PM|
|Friday, September 8||Pittsburgh||7:00 PM|
|Sunday, September 10||Tennessee||1:00 PM|
|Wednesday, September 13||Wisconsin (at Fiserv Forum)||7:00 PM|
|Thursday, September 14||at Milwaukee||6:00 PM|
|Saturday, September 16||Air Force||1:00 PM|
|Sunday, September 17||Oregon||1:00 PM|
|Friday, September 22||Villanova||7:00 PM|
|Saturday, September 23||Georgetown||6:00 PM|
|Saturday, September 30||at UConn||12:00 PM|
|Sunday, October 1||at Providence||12:00 PM|
|Wednesday, October 4||DePaul||11:00 AM|
|Friday, October 6||Creighton||7:00 PM|
|Friday, October 13||at Seton Hall||5:00 PM|
|Saturday, October 14||at St. John's||4:00 PM|
|Friday, October 20||at Butler||5:00 PM|
|Saturday, October 21||at Xavier||5:00 PM|
|Friday, October 27||Providence||7:00 PM|
|Saturday, October 28||UConn||6:00 PM|
|Wednesday, November 1||at DePaul||7:00 PM|
|Sunday, November 5||at Creighton||1:00 PM|
|Friday, November 10||at Georgetown||4:00 PM|
|Saturday, November 11||at Villanova||5:00 PM|
|Friday, November 17||St. John's||7:00 PM|
|Saturday, November 18||Seton Hall||6:00 PM|