MILWAUKEE, Wis. - No. 1 Louisville (27-3) to play No. 2 Marquette (26-5) in the BIG EAST Championship Final on Sunday at 2 p.m. ET/1 p.m. CT. The match will be broadcast live on ESPNU at the Al McGuire Center in Milwaukee, Wis.
The top-seed and No. 10 nationally ranked Cardinals return to the BIG EAST Final for the seventh time in eight years. Louisville is 4-2 in the championship match and 19-3 in the BIG EAST Championship. Marquette makes its first trip to the title game and is 5-4 in tournament play.
The two teams met twice this season as Louisville won both matches. On Oct. 21, the Cardinals hosted Marquette and won in four sets by scores of 20-25, 25-17, 25-21 and 25-19. They met again weeks later at the Al McGuire Center on Nov. 9 and Louisville swept Marquette, 25-22, 25-16 and 25-18.
The Cardinals won the regular-season title for the second consecutive season with a 14-1 league mark. Their only BIG EAST loss this season was a 2-3 decision against Notre Dame on Sept. 23. They are currently riding an 11-match winning streak and their five conference titles are third most by any BIG EAST member. They are led by the BIG EAST Player of the Year, senior Lola Arlsanbekova.
Marquette is entering its first-ever conference title match. The Golden Eagles are the No. 2 seed in the tournament after finishing the regular season with a 13-2 BIG EAST record. Their only conference losses were against Louisville.
No. 1 Louisville defeated No. 8 St. John's in the first round and No. 5 Cincinnati in the semifinals. They swept both teams by scores of 25-15, 25-23, 25-18 and 25-16, 25-16, 25-23 respectively.
No. 2 Marquette defeated No. 7 Pittsburgh in the first round, 3-1. They defeated the Panthers 25-14, 22-25, 25-23 and 25-19. On Saturday, the Golden Eagles won their first-ever BIG EAST Semifinal in four sets against No. 6 USF. They won by scores of 25-16, 25-20, 25-27 and 25-22.
The winner of the BIG EAST Championship receives the league's automatic bid to the 64-team NCAA Championship. The first-and second-round matches will be played at participating institutions on Dec. 1-2. The regionals will be played at four predetermined sites on Dec. 7-8 and the championship will be held in Louisville, Ky. at the KFC Yum! Center. Last season, the BIG EAST had three teams earn spots in the NCAA Championship; Cincinnati, Louisville and Marquette.
Quarterfinals, Friday, Nov. 16
Match 1: No. 4 Connecticut, 2 vs. No. 5 Cincinnati, 3 (25-17, 17-25, 25-20, 23-25, 15-8)
Match 2: No. 1 Louisville, 3 vs. No. 8 St. John's, 0 (25-15, 25-23, 25-18)
Match 3: No. 3 Notre Dame, 1 vs. No. 6 USF, 3 (25-17, 18-25, 25-23, 25-19)
Match 4: No. 2 Marquette, 3 vs. No. 7 Pittsburgh, 1 (25-14, 22-25, 25-23, 25-19)
Semifinals, Saturday, Nov. 17
Match 5: No. 1 Louisville, 3 vs. No. 5 Cincinnati, 0 (25-16, 25-16, 25-23)
Match 6: No. 2 Marquette, 3 vs. No. 6 USF, 1 (25-16, 25-20, 25-27, 25-22)
Championship, Sunday, Nov. 18
Match 7: No. 1 Louisville vs. No. 2 Marquette, 2 p.m. ET/1 p.m. CT (LIVE - ESPNU)