The University of Wisconsin volleyball team earned the No. 6 seed in the NCAA tournament and will host UW-Green Bay in a first-round match Thursday at the UW Field House.
The Badgers (22-6) will be making their sixth consecutive tournament appearance and 22nd in program history.
Thursday’s match against Green Bay (20-10) will begin at 7:30 p.m., following the opening match between Northern Iowa (24-9) and Pepperdine (21-8), which begins at 5 p.m.
First-round winners will meet at 7 p.m. Friday for a spot in the regional. Illinois is the top seed in the region (No. 3) and will be host if it advances.
“You have 64 teams that are still playing and I’m sure there are 64 teams that are excited about the opportunities that are in front of them,” coach Kelly Sheffield said. “We are certainly one of them. It’s cliché but it’s true, you can’t take anything for granted at this time. You’re excited about playing but you’re locked in on the opportunities that are in front of you.”
Green Bay earned its tournament berth by winning the Horizon League title with a 13-3 record. The Phoenix are led by 6-foot-2 sophomore Taylor Wolf, who averages 4.62 kills per set to rank 13th nationally.
“We don’t know much about them,” Sheffield said. “We haven’t played them; we haven’t played anybody in their league. We’ve got a few days to start looking at them and getting prepared.
“They’ve had a great season and they’ve earned the right to get in here.”
UW is one of seven Big Ten Conference teams in the field, with five of them seeded in the top eight — Minnesota (2), Illinois (3), UW, Nebraska (7) and Penn State (8). Michigan and Purdue also earned a spot, while Maryland was one of the top four teams left out.
“I think it’s what they thought of our league,” Sheffield said. “This was a tough league.”
Stanford (28-1) earned the No. 1 seed, followed by Minnesota (25-3), Illinois (28-3) and BYU (27-1).
The Badgers enter the tournament with a six-match winning streak and are coming off one of their biggest victories of the year with a five-set win at Penn State on Saturday.
“We feel good about the progression we’ve made this season and I like the progression we’ve made heading into the tournament,” Sheffield said. “I think you want to go into the tournament being tested, which certainly we have been in this league. You want to go in (to the tournament) getting better and improving. You want to go in healthy and you want to go into the tournament confident. I think we’re that.
“We like where we’re at, but it doesn’t guarantee anything. You have to prep and be ready and perform when the lights come on.”
The Badgers have advanced to at least the Sweet 16 in each of Sheffield’s five seasons, compiling a 15-5 record. Overall, they are 43-21 in tournament play.
All-session tickets will go on sale at 8:30 a.m. today, with single-session tickets on sale beginning at 8:30 a.m. on the day of the match. Tickets can be purchased at the UW ticket office, by phone (608-262-1440, online at uwbadgers.com or at Gate C on the day of the match.
All-session tickets are priced at $18 for prime reserved, $15 for reserved, $12 for general admission adult, $8 for GA youth/senior and $3 for GA college student.
Single-session tickets are $10 for prime reserved, $9 for reserved, $7 for GA adult, $5 for GA youth/senior and $2 for GA college student.