March 21, 2012
By Todd Mounce, Media Relations Graduate Assistant
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - The 2012 University of Tennessee volleyball schedule has a much difference feel to it as a result of conference expansion. The Lady Vols meet their two new league opponents early and often after the Southeastern Conference released the league portion of the schedule Wednesday.
The defending SEC champions begin league play with a pair of matches on the road, starting with a trip to Missouri on Sept. 14. The matchup is the third contest between UT and the Tigers, who split the first two meetings. Two days later the squad travels to Tuscaloosa to square off against Alabama.
The Big Orange is home for four of its next five conference matches, beginning with a weekend series against Arkansas (Sept. 21) and South Carolina (Sept. 23). The Lady Vols then travel to Kentucky on Sept. 28. UK was the only league team to beat Tennessee last season, a 3-2 nail-biter in Lexington.
Tennessee returns to Thompson-Boling Arena, where the Lady Vols were undefeated during the 2011 regular season, Oct. 5 for its second meeting with Missouri. Georgia then invades Rocky Top on Oct. 7.
The next three contests are on the road as Tennessee travels to LSU (Oct. 12), Arkansas (Oct. 14) and Texas A&M (Oct. 19). The Lady Vols and Aggies have faced one another on seven occasions, with UT leading the series 5-2. The most recent trip to College Station came in 1994, while the last matchup between the squads was in the 2004 NCAA Tournament, where UT defeated A&M in the second round.
The Lady Vols then host a pair of return matchups against Kentucky (Oct. 26) and Alabama (Oct. 28).
November's schedule is split. Tennessee goes on the road for the first two weekends, with matches at Mississippi State (Nov. 2), Florida (Nov. 4), Ole Miss (Nov. 9) and South Carolina (Nov. 11).
The last half of the month contains a season-ending, four-match homestand against Auburn (Nov. 16), LSU (Nov. 18), Texas A&M (Nov. 21) and Mississippi State (Nov. 23).
Tennessee hosts the Comcast Lady Vol Classic to begin the season. Teams competing along with UT in the tournament are Cincinnati, Florida State and Iowa State. UT also is competing in two more tournaments before conference play, traveling to Minneapolis and College Park, Md. Those dates and opponents have yet to be finalized.