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Traditional power Texas will make an appearance at the UW Field House as part of the University of Wisconsin volleyball team’s 2018 non-conference schedule, which was released Thursday.

The Longhorns (27-3 and ranked No. 5 in 2017), coming off a run to the NCAA Elite Eight that was preceded by five consecutive Final Four appearances, will take part in the HotelRED Invitational on Sept. 1-2. High Point (24-8), an NCAA first-round team, also will play in the annual event.

The Badgers, who finished 2017 with a 22-10 record and ranked No. 12 in the final AVCA poll, will face a total of five teams that participated in last year’s NCAA tournament. Two others played in the National Invitational Volleyball Championship.

UW will open the season with its fifth consecutive appearance in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge at the Target Center in Minneapolis, also site of this year’s NCAA championship. The Badgers and Minnesota will take on Florida State (18-11) and North Carolina (14-14) on Aug. 24-25. The Seminoles lost in the first round of the NCAA tournament.

The Badgers will travel to the state of Texas for two matches, facing No. 21 Baylor (24-7) on Sept. 7 at Waco and North Texas (29-4) on Sept. 9 at Denton. The Bears made it to the second round of the NCAA, while the Mean Green advanced to the second round of the NIVC.

UW will wrap up the non-conference season in the state, playing in the Marquette Invitational on Sept. 14-15. The Golden Eagles (22-10) lost to the Badgers in the NCAA first round. UW also will play Illinois State (22-13), which competed in the second round of the NIVC.

“It’s a good, challenging pre-conference schedule, something we were hoping to be able to put together when we got started,” UW coach Kelly Sheffield said. “Three of the weekends are either at home or within driving distance for our fans.

“This should be great preparation heading into the Big Ten and a schedule that will definitely challenge us.”

Season tickets for the 2018 season go on sale, Friday, June 1 at 8:30 a.m. More information on season ticket requests will be announced later.


Dennis Punzel covers Wisconsin Badgers volleyball, women's basketball for the Wisconsin State Journal.