Feb. 28, 2007
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - The University of Tennessee volleyball team will begin the 2007 campaign at the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) College Volleyball Showcase in Omaha, Neb., the AVCA announced Tuesday afternoon. The Lady Vols will face defending national champion and host Nebraska in the opening match, while UCLA and Utah round out the tournament field.
The Showcase will be played on Aug. 24-25 at the Qwest Center Omaha, site of the recently-completed 2006 NCAA Division I Championships. Nebraska is hosting the Showcase for the fourth time, having held the event in Lincoln in 1995 and 1999, and Omaha in 2005. Qwest Center Omaha, which will also play host to the 2008 NCAA Division I Championships, set the record for volleyball attendance in December when 17,209 watched the NCAA Championship match between the Huskers and Stanford.
"'O! What a city' is the Omaha slogan, and `O! What a venue' could be the slogan for the Qwest Center during a women's volleyball match," said AVCA Executive Director Kathy DeBoer. "The unparalleled enthusiasm of the community for the sport of volleyball made our decision on a return visit a very simple one."
The last time the Showcase was in Omaha, it drew a total attendance of 20,604, including 10,576 spectators for the championship match.
"It has been very enjoyable to be involved in the excitement that has surrounded volleyball," said Roger Dixon, President/CEO of Qwest Center Omaha. "We have been proud to serve as the host venue for the AVCA as well as the NCAA these past several years in which attendance records have been broken for their events. We look forward to offering fans another opportunity to be a part of the action during the 2007 AVCA College Volleyball Showcase."
The Showcase first-round matches will be UCLA versus Utah, followed by Nebraska versus Tennessee on August 24. The consolation and championship matches will be played the following night, August 25. The times of the matches have not yet been determined.
For the eighth consecutive year, and 11 out of 13 Showcases overall, the defending NCAA National Champion will open its season with the prestigious tournament. Nebraska, which won its third volleyball National Championship in December, finished the 2006 season 33-1.
"The AVCA Showcase is the premier event in the United States for college volleyball outside of the NCAA Championships, and we have proven that there is no place like Nebraska to play major events," said Nebraska head coach John Cook. "The community embraces the sport of volleyball, and the players and fans of all four teams in the AVCA Showcase will get to experience a first-class event with huge crowds and a Final Four-type atmosphere." This will be the sixth Showcase appearance for Nebraska; it has won the tournament twice (2001, 2005).
Tennessee finished the 2006 season 19-12 and fell to Duke in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. "We are very excited about participating in the 2007 AVCA Showcase and being part of such a fantastic field of teams," Lady Vols head coach Rob Patrick said. "We are also looking forward to opening our season against the defending National Champions in Omaha where the support for volleyball is unparalleled." This will be the Lady Vols' first appearance in the AVCA College Volleyball Showcase.
UCLA, which finished the 2006 season 33-4, advanced to the NCAA national semi-finals in 2006 before falling to Nebraska in four games. "UCLA is honored to be invited to participate in the AVCA Showcase," UCLA head coach Andy Banachowski said. "The Showcase is the premier pre-season event, and we are thrilled to be a part of it, and to be able to start off the season with such high quality competition." This will be the second Showcase appearance for UCLA, who finished runners-up in the event in 2000.
Utah ended its 2006 season at 28-4, falling to UCLA in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. "Utah is appreciative of the opportunity to play in the prestigious AVCA College Showcase," Utah head coach Beth Launiere said. "We are especially excited to play UCLA and to play in front of the great volleyball fans of Omaha". Utah is also making its first appearance in the Showcase.
The University of Texas won the 2006 Showcase, held in Madison, Wis., upending Washington in five games. Host Wisconsin finished third and Ohio finished fourth.
The remainder of Tennessee's schedule will be released at a later date.
For more Showcase information, including history and records of the event, go to the AVCA Web site, www.avca.org, and click on the link "AVCA Showcase."