AUSTIN, Texas -- The Texas Volleyball team, coming off a 24-5 campaign in 2005 and returning all six starters and the teams libero, has accepted an invitation to participate in college volleyballs premiere preseason event, the AVCA Showcase. UT is one of four teams selected to the event, joining reining national champion Washington, host Wisconsin and Mid-American Conference champion Ohio.
The Badgers will host the event Friday-Saturday, August 25-26, at the UW Field House in Madison, Wis. The annual AVCA Showcase is the first event of the college volleyball season, held one week before the rest of the country begins play.
Texas will face Wisconsin on Friday, Aug. 25, at 7 p.m. Central, after Washington takes on Ohio at 5 p.m. Central in the first match. Winners of those matches will face off in the championship match on Saturday, Aug. 26, preceded by the consolation match. (Times are tentative and are subject to change for television.)
The tournament features the defending NCAA Division I national champion Washington Huskies, which finished the 2005 season with a 32-1 record. Wisconsin, ranked 10th in the final 2005 CSTV/AVCA Division I Coaches Top 25 Poll, reached the NCAA Division I Tournament regional finals before losing to Washington.
Meanwhile, Ohio advanced to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Division I Tournament for the first time in school history en route to being ranked 14th in the final poll while Texas advanced to the second round of the NCAA Division I Tournament and finished the year ranked 16th.
The four teams combined for a 115-16 record in 2005.
Each year, the defending national champion is invited to the tournament, as well as three other teams who are expected to be key players in the upcoming season. Teams cannot be invited in consecutive years unless they are the national champions, and conferences are only allowed to send one team per year to the event.
Every year, the AVCA Showcase is a strong barometer for the best teams in the nation. In the previous 11 years of the event, all but one champion has reached the NCAA Final Four.
The 2005 AVCA Showcase was an especially strong early-season indicator. National runner-up Nebraska hosted the event in Omaha and captured the championship, defeating Stanford in the title match, while Penn State defeated Hawaii in the consolation match. All four teams were stalwarts in the AVCA Top 10 all season, with Nebraska, Stanford and Penn State occupying three of the top four spots for much of the year.
Wisconsin, which is hosting the event for the first time, finished third in its two other appearances in the AVCA College Volleyball Showcase in 1998 and 2001. Washington, Texas and Ohio are all making their first appearances in the event.
The AVCA College Volleyball Showcase continues to be the premier preseason tournament highlighting the sport on a national scope, AVCA Executive Director Kathy DeBoer said. The University of Wisconsin is an ideal host, and with four strong teams, I am positive the tradition will continue.
About Ohio (33-3 in 2005, 16-0 in MAC, NCAA Regional Semifinalist, ranked 14th in final poll)
Ohio finished 2005 with its best NCAA Division I Womens Volleyball Championship Tournament finish and overall record
The Bobcats used a 25-match win streak to reach the NCAA Regional Semifinals before bowing to fourth-seed Arizona in a five-game match
Ohio completed the season with a 33-3 overall record and a third consecutive Mid-American Conference title
The Bobcats return four starters plus their libero for the 2006 season, including AVCA All-Mideast Region honorable mention selections Savanah Parra and Stephanie Blackburn
Parra, a senior-to-be in 2006, set the Bobcats to a .289 team attack percentage while averaging 14.69 assists, 2.79 digs and 0.57 kills per game
Blackburn, an outside hitter who will be a junior in 2006, averaged 3.56 kills and 3.71 digs per game last year
Ohio will have two middle blockers with starting experience returning next year, including junior Melissa Griffin and sophomore Amanda Andersen
Both players averaged 0.98 blocks per game. Griffin added 3.58 kills per game, while Anderson averaged 2.38 kills per game
Michaele Blackburn, who will be a senior libero in 2006, averaged 5.10 digs per game for the Bobcats
Ohio will need to replace MAC Player of the Year Julia Winkfield at middle blocker, in addition to outside hitter Holly Schetzsle
The Bobcats have averaged 30 wins (90-11 record) a season during Geoff Carlstons three-year reign as head coach at Ohio.
About Texas (24-5 in 2005, 17-3 in Big 12, NCAA Tournament Second Round, ranked 16th in final poll)
Texas ended the 2005 season ranked 16th in the CSTV/AVCA Division I Coaches Top 25 Poll with a 24-5 overall record
The Longhorns advanced to the NCAA Division I Tournament Second Round before losing to seventh-seed Hawaii
Texas finished second in the Big 12 standings with a 17-3 record, including a victory over national runner-up Nebraska in the regular season finale
The Longhorns return all six starters and their libero for 2006, including AVCA All-America Second-Team selection Leticia Armstrong
The junior-to-be middle blocker hit .356 for the season with averages of 3.19 kills and 1.36 blocks per game
Brandy Magee, a senior-to-be middle blocker who earned AVCA All-America Third Team honors, hit .377 with averages of 3.24 kills and 1.10 blocks per game
Texas also returns junior-to-be setter Michelle Moriarty, who was selected AVCA All-America honorable mention
She averaged 13.38 assists, 1.87 digs and 0.63 blocks per game as Texas hit .272 as a team
Dariam Acevedo, a senior-to-be outside hitter, led the Longhorns in kills per game at 3.77. Jen Christian, who will be a junior outside hitter next year, averaged 2.41 kills, 2.02 digs and 0.75 blocks per game
Lauren Paolini, a sophomore-to-be outside hitter, contributed 2.43 kills and 0.78 blocks for the Longhorns
Texas libero Alyson Jennings charted a team-high 3.60 digs per game and 97.3 percent service reception efficiency as a sophomore.
About Washington (32-1 in 2005, 17-1 in Pac 10, NCAA Division I Champion, ranked 1st in final poll)
Washington won its first-ever NCAA Division I Womens Volleyball Championship in 2005 after defeating Nebraska in the title match
The Huskies lost just 10 games all season and advanced through the tournament field without having lost a single game
Washington finished the season 32-1 overall and 17-1 in the Pac-10
The Huskies started 2005 with a school-record 23-match win streak, then concluded the year with a nine-match win streak after a five-game loss to UCLA
Although the Huskies lose two AVCA All-America selections as part of six seniors off their 2005 roster, Washington will still be a team to be reckoned with
Courtney Thompson, a senior-to-be AVCA All-America First-Team setter, led the Huskies to a .338 team attack percentage with averages of 14.89 assists, 2.46 digs and 0.59 blocks per game
Christal Morrison, a two-time AVCA All-America pick, averaged 4.36 kills, 2.30 digs, 0.51 aces and 0.77 blocks per game while hitting .337 as a sophomore in 2005. Alesha Deesing, an All-Pac-10 selection as a sophomore in 2005, averaged 1.29 blocks and 2.54 kills per game while hitting .402
The Husky defense held opponents to a .138 team attack percentage
Washington loses AVCA All-America First-Team selection Sanja Tomasevic at outside hitter, AVCA All-America Second-Team pick Candace Lee at libero, All-Pac-10 selection Brie Hagerty at outside hitter and starting middle blocker Darla Myhre.
About Wisconsin (26-7 in 2005, 15-5 in Big Ten, NCAA Regional Finalist, ranked 10th in final poll)
Wisconsin advanced to the NCAA Division I Womens Volleyball Championship Regional Finals for the second consecutive season before losing to eventual national champion Washington
The Badgers concluded the 2005 season ranked 10th in the CSTV/AVCA Division I Coaches Top 25 Poll with a 26-7 overall record and 15-5 mark in the Big Ten for a second-place finish
Wisconsin returns four starters and its libero from the 2005 team
Taylor Reineke, a junior-to-be middle blocker, earned All-Big Ten honors last season by averaging 2.36 kills and 1.72 blocks per game while hitting .312
Audra Jeffers led the Badgers in kills per game as a freshman with 3.38 per game to go with a 0.81 block average as a outside hitter/middle blocker
Maria Carlini, who will be a senior outside hitter in 2006, averaged 3.13 kills, 2.92 digs and 0.61 digs per game last year
Jackie Simpson averaged 11.90 assists, 1.92 digs, 1.00 blocks and 0.90 kills per game while leading the Badgers to a .258 attack percentage
Jocelyn Wack contributed 5.17 digs per game as a sophomore last year
She currently holds the national record for consecutive double-digit dig matches at 64 and counting
The Badgers lose two senior starters to graduation. Wisconsin must replace 2005 AVCA All-America Third-Team middle blocker Sheila Shaw and starting outside hitter Aubrey Meierotto.
AVCA College Volleyball Showcase History
Year Champion, Site (NCAA Division I National Tournament Finish)
2005 Nebraska, Omaha, Neb. (NCAA Runner-up)
2004 USC, Fort Collins, Colo. (NCAA Semifinals)
2003 USC, Honolulu, Hawaii (NCAA Champion)
2002 Stanford, Minneapolis, Minn., (NCAA Runner-up)
2001 Nebraska, Stockton, Calif. (NCAA Semifinals)
2000 Colorado State, Gainesville, Fla. (NCAA Regional Semifinals)
1999 Pacific, Lincoln, Neb. (NCAA Semifinals)
1998 Long Beach State, Albuquerque, N.M. (NCAA Champion)
1997 Penn State, Palo Alto, Calif. (NCAA Runner-up)
1996 Hawaii, Normal, Ill. (NCAA Runner-up)
1995 Stanford, Lincoln, Neb. (NCAA Semifinals)
AVCA College Volleyball Showcase Team Selection History
BYU: 1997 (3rd)
Cal State Northridge: 1995 (4th)
Colorado State: 2000 (1st); 2004 (3rd)
Florida: 1996 (3rd); 1999 (2nd); 2000 (4th); 2003 (3rd)
Georgia Tech: 2004 (4th)
Hawaii: 1996 (1st); 2001 (4th); 2003 (2nd), 2005 (4th)
Illinois State: 1996 (4th)
Kansas State: 2003 (4th)
Long Beach State: 1998 (1st)
Minnesota: 2002 (2nd); 2004 (2nd)
Nebraska: 1995 (2nd); 1996 (2nd); 1999 (4th); 2001 (1st), 2005 (1st)
New Mexico: 1998 (4th)
Northern Iowa: 2002 (3rd)
Pacific: 1999 (1st); 2001 (2nd)
Penn State: 1995 (3rd); 1997 (1st); 1999 (3rd); 2000 (3rd), 2005 (3rd)
Pepperdine: 2002 (4th)
Stanford: 1995 (1st); 1997 (2nd); 2002 (1st), 2005 (2nd)
Texas A&M: 1997 (4th)
UCLA: 2000 (2nd)
USC: 1998 (2nd); 2003 (1st); 2004 (1st)
Wisconsin: 1998 (3rd); 2001 (3rd)