June 18, 2014
KNOXVILLE - Six national television games and 15 matches against teams that competed in last years NCAA Championship highlight the Tennessee Lady Vol volleyball team's 2014 schedule, as announced by head coach Rob Patrick Wednesday afternoon.
"We are very excited about the schedule that we have put together for our 2014 season," said Patrick. "We will be tested in our preseason tournaments by some very well coached teams and these matches will prepare us for a very grueling SEC schedule. I am looking forward to watching the growth of our young team during the upcoming season."
The Lady Volunteers will play a total of 32 regular-season matches, including 13 at Thompson-Boling Arena where they have put together a 61-26 record over the past six seasons.
The Lady Vols will begin the year with four preseason tournaments beginning in Boone, N.C., traveling to Ames, Iowa, returning to Conway, S.C. and finishing out the non-conference schedule at home with the annual Lady Vol Classic at Thompson-Boling Arena.
The Lady Vols will kick the season off at the Appalachian State tournament where they will face off against Tennessee Tech, Cleveland State and the host team of Appalachian State on Friday, August 29 and Saturday, August 30.
"We are excited about starting off the season at the Appalachian State tournament," said Patrick, "because it will give us a good barometer of where our team stands at the beginning of the season."
Tennessee will hop on a plane to Iowa for their next stop on September 5 and 6 where they will take on a tough MAC team in Northern Illinois, a dangerous Iowa State team, and finish out against a strong Nebraska-Omaha squad in the Iowa State Challenge.
"Our next tournament really ramps up the competitiveness," continued Patrick. "We take on a perennial top-10 team in Iowa State along with Northern Illinois who comes out of a very tough MAC conference while Nebraska-Omaha will also provide some home-grown talent on their team."
Tennessee will continue with a non-conference, mid-week match at Evansville on Tuesday September 9 before heading to the Coastal Carolina Tournament which will feature matches against Kennesaw State, Loyola (Md.) and host team Coastal Carolina.
"At Coastal Carolina we will play three teams that will provide us with a diverse types of volleyball offenses and defense," said Patrick. "It should keep us on our toes in terms of making adjustments to different styles of play."
Tennessee's home schedule will begin on Thursday, September 18 with the Lady Vol Classic which will run until Saturday, September 20. The September 18 home opener marks the latest start in Knoxville for Tennessee since the 1997 season, Patrick's first on Rocky Top, when UT began its Lady Vol Classic on September 19 vs. Pittsburgh.
This season's classic will feature in state opponents in Austin Peay and Memphis along with Mercer and Montana State from Thursday, September 18 to Saturday, September 20.
Since 1973, the Lady Vols hold an all-time record of 112-21-4 against in-state opponents. Tennessee is set to face off against three in-state opponents in 2014.
After Tennessee wraps up its non-conference tournament schedule, the Lady Vols will jump right into conference action facing off against 2013 NCAA Championship teams in its first six SEC matches.
"We play a very challenging conference tournament as 14 of the 18 teams we play qualified for the NCAA Tournament last season," said Patrick. "I am excited to attack that SEC schedule with our young team."
Tennessee will begin its conference schedule on the road at Arkansas on Friday, September 26 followed by a Sunday afternoon match at Missouri, UT's first of six nationally televised matches, this one coming at Noon on the SEC Network.
"This is the first year that we will be playing with the new SEC Network," said Patrick. "We are excited about playing four games on the SEC Network and two additional matches on ESPNU. It is great that our fans from around the country will be able to support us and watch Tennessee volleyball this year."
UT will return home for four-straight matches against Texas A&M, Alabama, Kentucky and LSU before heading back out on the road for a Friday night match against Mississippi State.
On Sunday, October 19, the Lady Vols will return to the SEC Network with a Noon match at Georgia.
The Lady Vols will play one at home on Sunday, October 26 against Mississippi before its Wednesday night 8 p.m. ESPNU match at Kentucky on October 29.
November opens with a couple of tough matches beginning with a Sunday afternoon match against Florida, also featured on the SEC Network at Noon followed with a Friday night meeting with Missouri on November 7.
The Lady Vols will head out on the road for a three-game stretch at Auburn, LSU and Texas A&M. The return home features UT's final two television games and Senior Day on Rocky Top.
Tennessee will face off against South Carolina on Wednesday, November 19 at 6 p.m. on ESPNU and will conclude its home schedule vs. Arkansas the following Wednesday, Senior Night, at 7 p.m. on the SEC Network.
The regular season ends in Tuscaloosa with a Saturday afternoon matinee against the Crimson Tide at Noon.