PROVIDENCE, R.I - Three teams are set to represent the BIG EAST Conference in the 2011 NCAA Volleyball Championship as Cincinnati, Louisville and Marquette all take to the court Friday Dec. 2. Cincinnati, the recipient of the conference's automatic bid after winning the BIG EAST Championship crown, will take on Samford at 4:30 p.m. in Tallahassee, Fla. Louisville received an at-large bid and will face Ball State at 5 p.m. in West Lafayette, Ind. Both teams will participate in the Minneapolis Region. Marquette also received an at-large bid and will face Western Kentucky at 5:30 p.m. in Champaign, Ill. The Golden Eagles are in the Gainesville Region.
Cincinnati (26-9, 12-2 BIG EAST) captured its first BIG EAST Championship title on Nov. 20 with a 3-0 win over Notre Dame to earn the league's automatic berth. The Bearcats will travel to Tallahassee, Fla., where they will face Samford (29-4) from the Southern Conference. Florida State will act as the host for the first and second round matches. If the Bearcats advance, they will take on the winner of Albany and host Florida State on Dec. 3. This is the fourth-straight year the Bearcats have qualified for the Championship. Cincinnati was receiving votes in the most recent AVCA Division I Coaches Poll.
Louisville (23-8, 13-1 BIG EAST) has qualified for the NCAA Championship in each of the last 14 seasons. The Cardinals will travel to West Lafayette, Ind., where they will face Ball State (25-7) from the Mid-American Conference. Purdue will act as the host for the first and second round matches. The match time is 5 p.m. If the Cardinals advance, they will take on the winner of Morehead State and host Purdue on Dec. 3.
Marquette (23-10, 12-2 BIG EAST) will play in its first NCAA Championship. The Golden Eagles will face Western Kentucky (31-3) of the Sun Belt Conference on Dec. 2 in Champaign, Ill. If the Golden Eagles advance they will take on the winner of Central Michigan and host Illinois on Dec. 3.
First-and second-round matchups will be played between Dec. 1-3. Teams winning both matches will move on to regional play December 9 and 10. The pre-determined regional sites are Lexington, Ky.; Gainesville, Fla.; Minneapolis, Minn.; and Honolulu, Hawaii. The regional winners will advance to the semifinals and final hosted by the University of Texas at San Antonio, on Dec. 15 and 17.