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Volleyball to face Washington State in NCAA Tournament

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Volleyball to face Washington State in NCAA Tournament

Marquette has lost three of its last four matches, which made selection night murky.

Marquette has lost three of its last four matches, which made selection night murky.

Photo by Austin Anderson

Marquette has lost three of its last four matches, which made selection night murky.

Photo by Austin Anderson

Photo by Austin Anderson

Marquette has lost three of its last four matches, which made selection night murky.

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Marquette volleyball learned Sunday night that they will be in the NCAA Tournament for the sixth straight season.

The Golden Eagles will face Washington State Thursday at 5 p.m. in Madison.

“It’s great to know for how hard we work we get this opportunity. I am happy for our team for that,” Marquette head coach Ryan Theis said. “I had told them that I believed that we would make it. We had our fingers crossed, but I felt our bodies’ work was in. I looked at the field and studied it very carefully. Based on previous experiences, it led me to believe that we were in. We had a confident feeling, but certainly the longer that show goes, the more nervous you get.”

Washington State finished the season ranked as the No. 25 team in the country and in fifth in the Pac-12. The Cougars went 21-11, which was the most wins the program has recorded since 2002. Both Marquette and Washington State beat Kentucky earlier in the season.

“I know they are good,” Theis said. “I didn’t see them play this year, but we played Kentucky after them and the Kentucky staff was very impressed with Washington State.”

Marquette headed into selection Sunday having lost three of their last four matches, including the semifinal in the BIG EAST Tournament against Xavier. Theis said that performance has affected their confidence to some degree.

“I think it does as a team,” Theis said. “What we have talked about as a team is understanding that. And there might be some challenges we have with that match-up. We can’t let that shake up our confidence. The RPI would say that we have had one of the best forty seasons in the country, so we can’t start second guessing everything that we do and the type of players we are. We have earned the right to be in this field, so we can’t second guess that.”

The winner of Marquette and Washington State will go on to face the winner of the No. 3 seed Wisconsin and Howard. Marquette and BIG EAST champion Creighton were the only teams in the conference to make the tournament.

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