Badger volleyball selected for NCAA tournament

MADISON, Wis. – For the first time since 2007, the Wisconsin volleyball team will compete in the NCAA tournament. The 13th-ranked Badgers (23-9) were selected as the No. 12 seed in the 2013 NCAA Championship as an at-large selection and will host first-round and second-round matches on Friday and Saturday, Dec. 6-7 in the UW Field House.

“I don’t care if you’re the No. 1 seed or the No. 64 team coming in here, going to the NCAA tournament is special,” first-year head coach Kelly Sheffield said. “Only 64 teams out of the 330 teams are still playing so we’re really excited to extend our season.

“We’re excited to play in front of our home fans at least one more time. This team has been through a lot this year and we’ve made it through the regular season. Our players are fired up.”

The Badgers will host North Carolina (27-4), California (17-12) and Milwaukee (18-10) in first and second round action. UNC and Cal will play the opening match at 5 p.m. on Friday while Wisconsin takes on UWM in the second match at 7:30 p.m. Winners will advance to the second-round match on Saturday at 6 p.m. The second-round winner will advance to the Champaign, Ill., Regional on Dec. 13-14.

“It was a really bittersweet moment, hearing all my teammates being excited for the first time being in the tournament,” said senior Annemarie Hickey on the announcement. “(I’m) really excited that we got this 12th-seed and being back home.”

“I think going into this weekend, we have a lot of momentum. I think we’re really pumped to see our next level of volleyball and where it’s going to take us.”

The Badgers are 29-16 (.644) in 16 NCAA tournament appearances. Wisconsin has hosted first and second-round matches 13 times with the most recent hosting coming in 2007. UW is 14-1 in first-round matches and has advanced to regional action 10 years.

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