PROVIDENCE, R.I. - The eight-team 2010 BIG EAST Volleyball Championship field has been set with Cincinnati capturing the BIG EAST regular-season title and earning the No. 1 seed. Louisville claimed the No. 2 seed with Marquette locking in the No. 3 seed. Villanova sits in the No. 4 spot. Notre Dame comes in as the No. 5 seed, while Pittsburgh, Seton Hall and USF notched seeds six, seven and eight respectively. The championship takes place Nov. 19-21 in Pittsburgh, Pa., hosted by University of Pittsburgh.
Cincinnati (26-4, 13-1 BIG EAST) won the regular-season crown for the second time since joining the conference in 2005. The Bearcats also won the title in 2008 when the squad registered a 12-2 mark in conference play. Cincinnati notched a 3-0 win over Marquette on Sunday afternoon to clinch the No. 1 seed.
Cincinnati battles No. 8 seed USF (10-16, 6-8 BIG EAST) at 12:30 p.m. on Nov. 19. The teams met on Oct. 23 in Cincinnati with the Bearcats claiming a 3-0 win. The Bulls have qualified for the championship in each of the last five seasons, including making an appearance in the semifinals in 2009. USF fell to Cincinnati 3-0 in last year's semifinals.
Defending tournament champion Louisville (18-7, 12-2 BIG EAST) claimed the No. 2 seed after recording a 3-1 win over Syracuse on Sunday. The Cardinals have qualified for the BIG EAST Championship in all six seasons which they have been members of the conference. Louisville won the title as the No. 4 seed a year ago.
UofL takes on No. 7 seed Seton Hall (13-17, 7-7 BIG EAST) at 3:30 p.m. on Friday. The Pirates locked up a tournament berth with a 3-0 win over DePaul on Saturday. The Pirates have qualified for the championship in back-to-back seasons after not participating in the championship since 1994. Seton Hall defeated the Cardinals in five sets on Sept. 26 in Louisville.
Marquette (21-8, 11-3 BIG EAST) qualifies for the BIG EAST Championship for the first time since 2006. The Golden Eagles earned the No. 3 seed, their highest seed in program history after posting their best BIG EAST record since joining the conference in 2005 at 11-3. Marquette beat Louisville 3-2 on Friday but lost to Cincinnati 3-0 on Sunday in a match for the regular-season title.
The Golden Eagles face-off with host Pittsburgh (13-17, 7-7 BIG EAST) at 6:00 p.m. on Friday. The Panthers defeated Connecticut on Saturday and Syracuse on Sunday to qualify for their third straight BIG EAST Championship. Pitt and Marquette met on Oct. 31, with the Golden Eagles notching a 3-0 win.
Villanova qualifies for the BIG EAST Championship for the first time since 2007 when the Wildcats lost to USF 3-0 in the quarterfinals. Villanova earns the No. 4 seed in the bracket after winning 11 conference games, the most in program history. The Wildcats earn their highest seed in the championship since 2007.
Villanova matches up with No. 5 seed Notre Dame (17-11, 10-4 BIG EAST) at 10:00 a.m. 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 28-6 all-time in the championship, good for an .823 winning percentage. This marks the 16th straight season the Irish have earned a berth to the championship. Villanova and Notre Dame met on Nov. 5 at Villanova, with the Wildcats taking a 3-1 win.
This year, all matches except the title match of the league's eight-team tournament will be streamed free live online at www.bigeast.tv. The title match will be broadcast live at 3:30 p.m. ET on ESPNU. Visit the Championship Central page for more details.
Quarterfinals, Friday, Nov. 19
Match 1: No. 4 Villanova vs. No. 5 Notre Dame, 10:00 a.m.
Match 2: No. 1 Cincinnati vs. No. 8 USF, 12:30 p.m.
Match 3: No. 2 Louisville vs. No. 7 Seton Hall, 3:30 p.m.
Match 4: No. 3 Marquette vs. No. 6 Pittsburgh, 6 p.m.
Semifinals, Saturday, Nov. 20
Match 5: No. 1/No. 8 vs. No. 4/No. 5, 1 p.m.
Match 6: No. 3/No. 6 vs. No. 2/No. 7, 3:30 p.m.
Championship, Sunday, Nov. 21
Match 7: Semifinal winners, 3:30 p.m. (LIVE - ESPNU)