The Wisconsin volleyball team’s road to a repeat trip to the Final Four became a little clearer as the 2014 regular season schedule was released Monday.
Matches with 12 teams that earned a berth in the NCAA Tournament last season highlight the Badgers’ schedule. Ten of those teams were ranked or received votes in the final American Volleyball Coaches Association poll last year.
“It’s a challenging schedule and hopefully one that our fans will be excited about,” Sheffield told uwbadgers.com Monday. “Our nonconference schedule has a lot of teams that won a lot of matches last year and are projected to be very good this year.”
The Badgers will open their season with a match against Louisville Aug. 29 in one of two games they will play in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge. The Cardinals posted a record of 23-8 in 2013.
In its first matches of September, Wisconsin will travel to Colorado for the Northern Colorado/Colorado State Classic. The Badgers will open the round robin tournament with a match against a 21st-ranked Colorado State team that went 28-2 a season ago. UW will round out the tournament with matches against Florida A&M and Northern Colorado.
“Our tournament in Colorado should be very challenging and give us the opportunity to play against a really good team in one of the best home environments in the country,” Sheffield said. “The other two road tournaments are against top teams in the ACC and Pac-12, and kick off a four-year schedule with these tournaments rotating every year for four years.”
Wisconsin will host the Badger Invitational tournament Sept. 12-13. Ball State, Missouri State and Miami will travel to Madison for the tournament. All three teams picked up at least 19 wins last season.
In its final nonconference matches of the season, Wisconsin will travel to Seattle where it will take on No. 6 USC and No. 4 Washington in the Pac 12/ Big Ten Challenge.
Wisconsin’s conference schedule will include matches with the Big Ten’s two newest schools, Maryland and Rutgers. The Badgers will play two matches with the Scarlet Knights and one with the Terrapins.