Volleyball: Badgers return to Madison for home opener

Wisconsin opens home slate this weekend as part of Hotel Red Invitational

· Sep 1, 2016 Tweet

Jason Chan/The Badger Herald

The University of Wisconsin volleyball team will host its first games of the 2016-17 season this weekend as part of the Hotel Red Invitational.

Matches against No. 18 San Diego at 7 p.m. Friday and Texas A&M Corpus Christi at 1 p.m. Sunday are set to give the UW Field House its first taste of action on the season.

The Badgers (3-0-0) come into the weekend ranked No. 2, tied for the best ranking in program history, and hope to continue their dominant start against two above .500 foes.

An experienced Wisconsin squad returns to Madison after a dominant 3-0 start in the Rainbow Wahine Invitational, which included a 3-1 win over No. 6 Hawaii and two 3-0 wins over Arizona and Kansas State. Senior and preseason first team All-American setter Lauren Carlini won Big Ten Co-Setter of the Week while true freshman middle blocker Molly Haggerty won Big Ten Freshman of the Week for their efforts during the invitational.

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No. 18 San Diego (1-1-0) makes the trip to the Midwest Friday after a short two game stint in the Stanford Invitational last week. There they posted a 3-2 comeback win over host Stanford and a 3-1 loss to No. 3 Minnesota. The impressive win over Stanford was enough to push the Toreros into the rankings and marked the first time since 2008 Stanford was unable to win its home opener of the year.

Given such a formidable opponent, the Badgers will have their hands full in just the second of 20 games against currently ranked teams this season.

The Badgers then face the 2-1 Texas A&M Corpus Christi Islanders, who are fresh off the Baylor Invitational where they snatched two quick wins over Prairie View A&M and University of Texas Rio Grande Valley before falling 3-1 to Baylor. While Wisconsin head coach Kelly Sheffield has stressed the importance of each game and that the games this weekend are no different, the Badgers should have a considerable advantage over each team.

San Diego enters the weekend with a young squad that returns only one senior. Texas A&M Corpus Christi also suffers from a similar exodus of seniors after losing five to graduation this offseason. Though whether or not these obstacles can be overcome against the Badgers is still yet to be seen.

As part of hosting the early season tournament and welcoming fans back, the first 500 UW students at the Field House Friday will receive free admission, free pizza and a free team poster with a schedule magnet.

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This article was published Sep 1, 2016 at 5:02 pm and last updated Sep 1, 2016 at 5:02 pm

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