On Friday morning, Marquette volleyball announced that they will be taking an 11 day trip to Europe in the first half of June.
I saw this press release on Friday and said “okay, lemme get through this weekend of lacrosse tournament action and Selection Sunday, and we’ll write something up about it later.” Lo and behold, when I actually sat down and read the press release, I found this as the sixth paragraph:
The extra training time will assist the Golden Eagles as they incorporate a pair of newcomers to the roster for a challenging fall schedule, which features six non-conference matches against top-30 RPI teams from a season ago, including three teams that competed in NCAA regional finals.
Guys, Marquette and head coach Ryan Theis haven’t announced the 2023 schedule yet. That’s not a summary of a schedule we already know about, it’s a tease of a schedule that should, in theory, be announced any day now. After all, last year’s schedule was released on May 24th and Noted Big East Rival Creighton released their 2023 slate three days before Marquette announced this European trip. (Aside: Mark Friday, October 6th on your schedule right now, as that’s the day the Bluejays come to Milwaukee for the yearly showdown between the two top teams in the Big East.)
Back to the schedule tease!
We already know one of the three Regional Finals teams, as it’s already been announced that Marquette will host Wisconsin at Fiserv Forum on September 13th. That game will not have a chance to break the NCAA’s all-time attendance record as previously expected, as Nebraska has — this is not a joke — sold out nearly 83,000 tickets for an outdoor game at Memorial Stadium against Nebraska-Omaha, which is scheduled for August 30th. I can’t be the only one hoping for rain, yes?
As for the other two regional finals teams, this is the list of seven non-Wisconsin teams that made it to the Elite Eight of the NCAA tournament in 2022: Louisville, Ohio State, Oregon, Pittsburgh, San Diego, Stanford, and eventual national champion Texas. I don’t have anything to base this on other than gut instinct, but I strongly suspect that one of the other two is Texas, as Marquette played in Austin for the NCAA tournament last fall and were eliminated by the ‘Horns in the Sweet 16. Just feels like it’s right, y’know? Six of those teams combine with Wisconsin to make up the top seven of the RPI at the end of the 2022 regular season, and Oregon came in at #13, one place in front of Marquette.
I’m not going to type out the other 20 teams — Creighton was #12 — in the top 30 that could possibly fit in as a non-conference opponent for Marquette here because that’s silly to try to narrow it down to try to guess. I will note that Marquette played at #10 Kentucky last season, and sometimes these things tend to run in series..... but also MU hosted the Wildcats in 2021. MU also faced and defeated #20 Georgia Tech in the second round of the NCAA tournament, and so there’s a certain amount of relationship between the two teams as a result.
As for the trip to Europe, the volleyball team will be gone from June 5th through June 16th, and the travel opportunity will include stops in at least Poland, Germany, and the Czech Republic. MU will play European clubs along the way in Warsaw, Wroclaw, Berlin and Prague, including a two-fer in the capital of the Czech Republic.
Marquette is granted 10 days of in-season practice scheduling to prepare for the trip by NCAA rule. There’s the obvious need to practice before going on the trip, but this helps Marquette out a little bit for the 2023 season as they will get Illinois State grad transfer Sarah Kushner in to practice before leaving on the trip. Incoming freshman Molly Berezowitz will also join the team for the trip, but it’s unclear as to how much of the practice schedule she’ll actually get to participate in what with that annoying “senior year of high school” thing she’s got going on. Berezowitz hails from Burlington, Wisconsin, so it’s not unreasonable that she could make the trip up to Milwaukee at least once or twice before MU leaves on the trip.
In addition to the bonus training time for a team that has to be considered the favorite in the Big East in the fall, there’s also a benefit to you, the fan, as Marquette will host three open practices at the McGuire Center as part of their training schedule for the European trip. Here’s the dates and times:
Friday, May 26: 3:30pm - 6pm
Saturday, May 27: 9am - 11:30am
Friday, June 2: 9am - 11:30am