PROVIDENCE, R.I – The Louisville Cardinals and the Cincinnati Bearcats are set to represent the BIG EAST Conference in the 2010 NCAA Volleyball Championship. Louisville, the recipient of the conference’s automatic bid after winning the BIG EAST Championship crown, will take on Middle Tennessee today at 5 p.m. in West Lafayette, Ind. Cincinnati received an at-large bid and will face Western Kentucky today at 5:30 p.m. in Champaign, Ill. Both teams will participate in the Austin Region.
Louisville (22-7, 12-2 BIG EAST) captured its fourth BIG EAST Championship title on Nov. 21 with a 3-0 win over Cincinnati to earn the league’s automatic berth. The Cardinals will travel to West Lafayette, Ind., where they will face Middle Tennessee (29-5) from the Sun Belt Conference at Purdue University. Purdue will act as the host for the first and second round matches. If the Cardinals advance, they will take on the winner of Kentucky and host Purdue on Dec. 4. Louisville has qualified for the NCAA Championship in each of the last 13 seasons. The Cardinals were receiving votes in the latest AVCA poll and have an RPI of 25.
Cincinnati(29-5, 13-1 BIG EAST) won its second BIG EAST regular-season title with a 13-1 conference record and earned an at-large bid to the NCAA Championship. This is the third-straight year the Bearcats have qualified for the championship, advancing as far as the second round in 2008. Cincinnati also faces a team from the Sun Belt Conference, as the Bearcats take on Western Kentucky (27-8) in Champaign, Ill., on the campus of the University of Illinois. Cincinnati beat Western Kentucky 3-1 in a regular-season meeting on Oct. 19. If the Bearcats advance, they will face the winner of host Illinois and Austin Peay on Dec. 4. Cincinnati has made 11-straight appearances in the AVCA Coaches’ Poll, coming in at No. 21 in the latest release. The Bearcats boast an RPI of 17, the highest for any BIG EAST squad.
First-and second-round matchups will be played between Dec. 2-4. Teams winning both matches will move on to regional play December 10 and 11. The pre-determined regional sites are Austin, Texas; University Park, Pennsylvania; Dayton, Ohio; and Seattle, Washington. The regional winners will advance to the semifinals and final hosted by the University of Missouri, Kansas City, and Kansas City Sports Commission at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Missouri, on December 16 and 18.