The Milwaukee Women’s Volleyball team is in first place (16-10, 12-2 in Horizon play) which earns them the privilege to host the tournament this weekend at the Klotsche Center. Milwaukee has hosted this tournament three times in the past four years.
In the last eleven years the Lady Panthers have came out on top with the regular season crown nine times. The 2011 season went smoothly with Milwaukee standing on top without a single conference loss, sailing through the tournament and earning them a spot in the NCAA tournament (losing to number four seed Iowa State).
The 2012 season was a little rocky, because of a large amount of injuries the Panthers did not make it to the conference tournament due to their 7th place ranking.
A mere eight months of work-outs and dedication got the team back to where they left off. The panthers were preseason picks to finish third in the Horizon League conference this year and are currently standing tall at number one.
Because of their top seed standing, not only do the Lady Panthers get to play on their home court, but they also receive a first round bye into the semifinals. Valparaiso also gets awarded a first round bye because they are the second seed in the conference. They are scheduled to play after the Milwaukee game Saturday. The semifinals kick off on Saturday at 4:30 with Milwaukee playing against the team with the lowest seed coming out of game play Friday night.
Sundays match will be at 1 p.m on Sunday against the two remaining teams and the winner of the tournament gets an automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament. Students get in free all weekend so make sure you come out and cheer on your lady panthers!
Some players to keep an eye on include Rachel Neuberger. The senior was just named the Horizon League Volleyball Player of the Year and she is ready to lead this team to the finish line. In addition to the lone senior, junior outside hitter Julie Kolinske and sophomore setter Kayla Price joined Neuberger on the all-league team. Lastly freshman standout Myanna Ruiz got a well earned position on the all-freshman team. Needless to say Milwaukee is ready to battle their way to victory!
Coach Susie Johnson also deserves credit, she recently was named Coach of the Year for the fifth time in just seven years.
“I am very proud of this team and the staff for committing to the goal 12 months ago to win a conference title. It happened. Because of that we are able to host the tournament,” Johnson said about this weekend’s tournament. “Now all six teams have new life and we must play well and settle in to win this two day championship. Just play volleyball.”