Preview: Women’s Volleyball Makes First Appearance in the NCAA Tournament

Ashley Potvin

Two weeks ago, the Quinnipiac University Bobcats women’s volleyball team traveled to Orlando, Florida for the MAAC Tournament. Despite them entering the tournament as a six seed, the outcome was one that very few people expected.

The Bobcats came out victorious and won the MAAC Championship for the first time in program history. In doing so, they also clinched a spot in the NCAA tournament for the first time in program history.

On the night of Sunday, Nov. 27, the NCAA selection show aired, which broke down the NCAA tournament bracket and who the Bobcats were going to face. Halfway through the show, it was announced that Quinnipiac would travel to Wisconsin and take on the No. one seed University of Wisconsin – Madison Badgers.

Quinnipiac traveled to Wisconsin on Thursday morning and has been preparing for their matchup against the Badgers. This matchup will take place on Friday, Dec. 2 at 8 p.m. EST. and will be shown on ESPN+.

Although the Bobcats have preserved through many tough matches, they have yet to have a matchup that is as tough as this one is. The Badgers are the reigning national champions of the NCAA tournament and will look to defend their title.

Going into the NCAA tournament, the Badgers are fourth in the country and on an 18-game winning streak. They have also only had three losses on the season.

The major difference between these two teams is their experience. While the Badgers hold a great amount of experience with only five out of the 17 players being upperclassmen, the Bobcats are mostly underclassmen, with six out of the 13 players being first-years.

However, people should not underestimate the talent of this first-year class. First-year Ginevra Giovagnoni has a strong swing and has averaged 11 kills per game, despite being out due to injury for most of the season.

Senior Aryanah Diaz is another powerhouse on the court for the Bobcats. She is a leader both on and off the court, being a role model for not only her team but for the people who watch her. Diaz leads her team in kills and averages 12 kills per game.

On the other side of the court, senior Izzy Ashburn, the Badgers’ star setter, leads the team in both assists and aces. She has 627 assists and 33 service aces this season alone.

Redshirt sophomore outside hitter Sarah Franklin is fierce at the net, leading her team in kills with 351 kills on the season. She also contributes as the fourth person on her team who leads in digs and the fifth person on her team who leads in service aces.

The winner of this match will face the winner of No. 8 Washington vs Texas Christain University in the second round on Dec. 3. at 7 p.m. EST.