The Wisconsin Badgers’ Volleyball team released their fall 2017 schedule this week. Twelve of the Badgers’ opponents won at least 20 matches last season, and nine teams were ranked or received votes for the final Top-25 Coaches’ Poll.
Wisconsin will open the season with the Big Ten/ACC Challenge at the UW Field House. The No. 3 Minnesota Gophers will also compete in the challenge, along with ACC opponents North Carolina and Louisville. The Badgers will then travel to Manhattan, KS, to compete in the K-State Invitational, and then host the HotelRED Invitational with Lipscomb and Texas A&M. The Badgers will play their final non-conference weekend with the Badger Invitational in Madison, hosting Marquette and Southern Mississippi.
“I’m excited about playing six out-of-conference matches in the Field House,” says head coach Kelly Sheffield.
North Carolina (29-3), Kansas State (21-9), Lipscomb (22-7), Texas A&M (21-9) and Marquette (23-8) competed in the NCAA Tournament last December.
The Badgers finished tied for second in the Big Ten, and will host the top-seven finishers of the Big Ten (Nebraska-1, Minnesota-T-2, Penn State-4, Michigan State-5, Michigan-6, Ohio State-7). They will also travel to Nebraska, Michigan State, Minnesota, Penn State and Purdue (who made it to the second round in the NCAA Tournament).
Big Ten play will begin in late September when the Badgers host Michigan State and Michigan.
“It’s a challenging schedule that has a lot of matches against teams that were in the tournament last season, and also quite a few teams that were on the bubble of getting in,” Sheffield says.
Last season, the Badgers finished the season with an overall record of 28-5, and 17-3 in Big Ten action. They finished tied for second in the Big Ten with Minnesota, and fell to eventual National Champion Stanford in the Elite 8. Wisconsin lost four seniors to graduation; one being four-time All-American setter Lauren Carlini. However, the Badgers return many seasoned, confident and strong players.