Nov. 28, 2010
By Cameron Harris, Assistant Media Relations Director
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - The University of Tennessee volleyball team will enter the 2010 NCAA Tournament with the highest national seed in school history at No. 11. The Lady Volunteers will travel to Bloomington, Ind., for the first and second rounds of the tournament which will be held at University Gymnasium, Dec. 3-4.
Tennessee (24-6) will open the tournament against Alabama A&M (16-10) at 5 p.m. on Friday before Miami (Fla.) (23-8) squares off against Indiana (21-11) at 7 p.m. The winner of both contests will advance to a second-round showdown at 3 p.m. on Saturday for the right to move on to the NCAA Regional in Dayton, Ohio, Dec. 10-11.
"The first thing that I like about our draw is that we stay in our time zone," UT Head Coach Rob Patrick said. "For me, that was really important. I don't know very much about Alabama A&M, but every team that makes it to the NCAA Tournament deserves being there, so we'll take it one match at a time, just like we have done all year.
"Miami is coming out of the ACC which got five teams in so that tells you a little bit about the strength of their conference and Indiana is in the Big Ten which is always one of the top two conferences in the country. We know that both of teams will be battle-tested and ready to play at a high level.
"We need to get in and watch some film on Alabama A&M to get ready for that match, but our main focus is making sure that we take care of business on our side of the net. Our players have done a fantastic job of that all year and that has played a big role in our success, so we will just keep working on those things as we get ready for next week's matches."
The No. 11 national seed is the highest in school history, topping the only two previous seeds of No. 12 in 2004 and No. 15 in 2005. The NCAA Tournament bid, meanwhile, marks UT's 12th all-time, third straight and sixth in the last seven years. The Lady Vols are 11-11 in their 12 NCAA Tournament appearances.
The Big Orange is one of six Southeastern Conference teams selected to participate in the tournament and one of three seeded squads from the league, joining No. 1 Florida and No. 13 LSU. The Gators will open at home in Gainesville as part of the Austin, Texas, regional, while the Tigers will head to Norman, Okla., to start the tournament in the University Park, Pa., regional.
The SEC's six teams rank second behind only the Big Ten which had eight squads make the tournament. The Pac-10 also had six, followed by five each from the Big 12 and the Atlantic Coast Conference and four from the Missouri Valley.
"I am so excited for our team," Patrick said. "They have put in a lot of hard work since last summer and have been really coachable and focused on what they wanted to accomplish, so it is neat to see them get the respect they deserve following a terrific regular season.
"Not only were we successful against a very tough non-conference schedule, but also making a great run through the SEC which just continues to establish itself as one of the top volleyball conferences in the country."
Tennessee's seed is no doubt the result of its success against a very difficult schedule as it enters the postseason competition with an 11-5 record over fellow tournament teams. In addition to sweeping the season series' against fellow SEC squads Auburn, Ole Miss and Kentucky, the Lady Vols also picked up triumphs over Florida State, Louisville, Ohio, Oklahoma and Virginia Tech during the non-conference portion of their schedule.
TICKET INFORMATION (866-487-7678)
A package including admission to both sessions (all three matches) can be purchased at a discounted price if pre-ordered: $10 General Admission for adults; $6 for students/seniors/youth.
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For more information, contact the IU Ticket Office at 866-487-7678.