PROVIDENCE, R.I. –Cincinnati, Louisville and Marquette all won their first round matches of Friday to advance to the second round of the 2011 NCAA Volleyball Championship. It is the first time in league history that three BIG EAST teams advance to the NCAA second round. All three teams will play their second round matches on Saturday.
Cincinnati (27-9) defeated Samford 3-2 (25-17, 22-25, 25-16, 23-25, 15-9) as the Bearcats were led on the evening by four double-digit kill performances and 77 total digs. Jordanne Scott recorded 19 kills, Emily Hayden put down 15, Missy Harpenau recorded 13 while Becca Refenes rounded out the offensive efforts with 11 kills and only one error. The team will face the winner of Albany and No. 21 Florida State, which takes place tonight. The first serve tomorrow is set for 6 p.m.
BIG EAST Player of the Year Lola Arlsanbekova had a match-high 19 kills and eight digs to lead the Louisville (24-8) to a 3-0 (25-22, 25-15, 25-20 win) over Ball State in Holloway Gymnasium on the campus of Purdue University. The Cardinals advance to play the winner of No. 8 Purdue and Morehead State on Saturday at 7:30 p.m.
Playing in the program’s first NCAA Championship match, Marquette (24-10) picked up its first tournament victory and knocked off the first ranked opponent in program history, No. 24 Western Kentucky 3-1 (25-21, 22-25, 26-24, 25-23). Marquette was led by 17 kills from Ciara Jones, while Ashley Beyer, notched 15 to go along with eight digs. Chelsea Heier paced the MU offense with 49 assists as Julie Jeziorowski led a strong performance from the back row with 22 digs. The Golden Eagles return to action 7 p.m. Saturday against the winner of No. 7 Illinois and Central Michigan.
The teams will look to make conference history, as the BIG EAST has never had two teams advance to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Championship. The last BIG EAST team to qualify for the third round was St. John’s in 2007.