Lady Toppers to face Marquette in first round of NCAA Volleyball tournament

WKU volleyball players react to their placement in the NCAA Tournament during a party Sunday at Buffalo Wild Wings. The Lady Toppers will play Marquette on Friday in the tournament’s first round.

Lucas Aulbach

The WKU volleyball team will take on Marquette on Friday in the first round of the NCAA Tournament in its next crack at postseason advancement.

The Lady Toppers learned of their fate as they watched the tournament selection show on Sunday at Buffalo Wild Wings in Bowling Green.

WKU (31-3) comes into the match with momentum.

The Lady Toppers have won 10 straight matches, including winning the Sun Belt Conference Tournament, and are ranked No. 24 in the country in the American Volleyball Coaches Poll — the highest the team has ever been ranked.

The first round of competition for the Lady Toppers will be held in Champaign, Ill., the site of the team’s first round loss to Cincinnati in last year’s NCAA Tournament. The time of the match will be announced later this week.

Head Coach Travis Hudson said it was a favorable draw for WKU in the first round.

“It’s a winnable first-round matchup and I’ll take that,” he said. “If we go and play well, I think we’ll have a chance to win the match.”

Marquette (23-10) comes from the Big East, a conference in which the Lady Toppers have an 0-1 record against this season. WKU dropped a match to Cincinnati in October, the last match the team lost.

Hudson said it should be an entertaining match between the two teams in Champaign.

“They’re athletic, they play extremely hard, and I think it’s going to be a really fun match to watch because both teams play really really hard and compete,” he said.

If the Lady Toppers win on Friday against Marquette they will take on either Central Michigan or host Illinois, who was ranked No. 1 in the AVCA poll for much of the season.