For the seventh-straight season and for the 23rd time in program history, the Wisconsin volleyball team earned a bid to the NCAA tournament. The Badgers were selected as the No. 4-seed in the tournament and will host first and second round matches on Friday-Saturday in the UW Field House.
UCLA (18-11) takes on Notre Dame (19-9) in the opening first-round match on Friday at 4:30 p.m. before Wisconsin (22-6) faces off against Illinois State (22-11) at 7 p.m. First-round winners advance to the second round of the tournament on Saturday at 6 p.m. in the Field House.
“When you’re going into the tournament, if you’re going in hoping for things, hoping for an easy draw or an easy bracket, or hoping that you’re going to be somewhere, then I think that’s the wrong mindset,” head coach Kelly Sheffield said. “It’s going to be difficult no matter where you are in the bracket. It’s the ultimate test so we’re looking forward to that.
“The second weekend at home doesn’t mean anything right now. We get one match at home. That’s what we’ve earned – we’ve earned one match at home and we’ve gotta win that to get a second match at home. We’re excited about how we’re playing and we’re excited to start out here in the Field House with incredible fans. We’re hoping that we’re packing every single night.”
The Badgers hold a 46-22 (.676) all-time record in the program’s 22 NCAA tournament appearances. UW is 18-6 under Sheffield in six years in the championship, advancing to at least the Sweet 16 round of play each season.
Wisconsin has been a top-four seed in the tournament just two other times, including a No. 3 seed in 2016 and a No. 4 seed in 2014.
UW was seeded sixth in 2018 hosting first and second-round matches. The Badgers swept Green Bay in the first round and downed Pepperdine, 3-1, in the second round. UW advanced to NCAA Regional play in Champaign, Illinois, sweeping San Diego in the Sweet 16 before falling to Illinois, 3-1, in the Elite Eight.
Seven Big Ten Conference teams made it into the NCAA tournament with Wisconsin, the 2019 conference champions, earning the highest seed in the league.