Field Set for 2011 BIG EAST Volleyball Championship


The eight-team 2011 BIG EAST Volleyball Championship field has been set with Louisville capturing the BIG EAST regular-season title and earning the No. 1 seed. Cincinnati claimed the No. 2 seed with Marquette locking in the No. 3 seed. Syracuse sits in the No. 4 spot. Notre Dame comes in as the No. 5 seed, while Seton Hall, Villanova and Pittsburgh notched seeds six, seven and eight respectively. The championship takes place Nov. 18-20 at the Al McGuire Center in Milwaukee, Wis., hosted by Marquette University.
Louisville (21-7, 13-1 BIG EAST) won its first BIG EAST regular-season crown since joining the conference in 2005. The Cardinals have won four of the last five BIG EAST Championships and are the defending champions. Louisville registered a 3-0 win over Georgetown on Sunday afternoon to clinch sole possession of the regular-season title.
Louisville battles No. 8 seed Pittsburgh (18-12, 7-7 BIG EAST) at 1:30 p.m. ET on Nov. 18. The teams met on Oct. 23 in Louisville with the Panthers claiming a 3-1 win, marking the only conference loss for the Cardinals. Pittsburgh has qualified for the championship in each of the last three, losing to Marquette 3-0 in last year's quarterfinals.
Cincinnati (22-8, 12-2 BIG EAST) claimed the No. 2 seed after recording a 3-2 win over Villanova on Sunday. The Bearcats have qualified for the BIG EAST Championship in all seven seasons which they have been members of the conference. The Bearcats lost have lost in the conference finals the previous two seasons.
Cincinnati takes on No. 7 seed Villanova (17-12, 8-6 BIG EAST) at 4:30 p.m. ET on Friday. The Wildcats have qualified for the championship in back-to-back seasons after not participating in the championship in 2009.
The host Marquette (22-8, 12-2 BIG EAST) qualifies for the BIG EAST Championship for the second consecutive season. The Golden Eagles earned the No. 3 seed, after posting their best BIG EAST record since joining the conference in 2005 at 12-2. The Golden Eagles lost in the conference semifinals last year 3-1 to eventual champion Louisville.
The Golden Eagles face-off with Seton Hall (17-12, 8-6 BIG EAST) at 7:00 p.m. ET on Friday. The Pirates defeated St. John's on Saturday and Connecticut on Sunday to qualify for their third straight BIG EAST Championship. Seton Hall and Marquette met on Oct. 21, with the Golden Eagles notching a 3-2 win.
Syracuse (19-11, 8-6 BIG EAST) qualifies for the BIG EAST Championship after missing out last season. The Orange earned the No. 4 seed in the bracket after defeating DePaul and Notre Dame at home this weekend.
Syracuse matches up with No. 5 seed Notre Dame (15-11, 8-6 BIG EAST) at 11:00 a.m. ET on Friday. The Fighting Irish have won nine BIG EAST Championship titles, the second-most in the conference behind Pittsburgh's 11. Notre Dame is 29-7 all-time in the championship, good for an .806 winning percentage. This marks the 17th straight season the Irish have earned a berth to the championship. Syracuse and Notre Dame met on Sunday at Syracuse, with the Orange taking a 3-1 win.
Championship Schedule:
Quarterfinals, Friday, Nov. 18
Match 1: No. 4 Syracuse vs. No. 5 Notre Dame, 11:00 a.m. ET
Match 2: No. 1 Louisville vs. No. 8 Pittsburgh, 1:30 p.m. ET
Match 3: No. 2 Cincinnati vs. No. 7 Villanova, 4:30 p.m. ET
Match 4: No. 3 Marquette vs. No. 6 Seton Hall, 7:00 p.m. ET
Semifinals, Saturday, Nov. 19
Match 5: No. 1/No. 8 vs. No. 4/No. 5, 2:00 p.m. ET
Match 6: No. 3/No. 6 vs. No. 2/No. 7, 4:30 p.m. ET
Championship, Sunday, Nov. 20
Match 7: Semifinal winners, 4:00 p.m. ET (LIVE - ESPNU)