AUSTIN, Texas -- The Texas Volleyball team will play one of the nation's toughest schedules in the country in 2008, according to the team's official schedule released Thursday by UT head coach Jerritt Elliott.
Texas will face at least eight teams -- accounting for 13 of the team's 28 scheduled matches -- that participated in the 2007 NCAA Tournament. Included in that total is a pair of Big 12 Conference matches against NCAA Regional finalist Nebraska and a single non-conference match against NCAA Regional finalist BYU. Additionally, Texas will open the season at the AVCA Volleyball Showcase in Omaha, Neb., with two matches against opponents that have not been officially announced.
"We are thrilled at the opportunity to represent the Big 12 and kickoff the 2008 season at the AVCA Showcase," Elliott said. "The lineup of teams will showcase some high level volleyball and will be a great way to start the year. We are also looking forward to playing in front of a great crowd of 17,000 at the Qwest Center."
Following the showcase, the Longhorns travel to Las Cruces, N.M., on Sept. 5 where they will take on 2007 NCAA participant New Mexico State and Utah at the New Mexico State Tournament. Texas then returns home to host the four-team Time Warner Cable Texas Invitational on Sept. 11-12. The Longhorns will meet Houston, Georgia and 2007 NCAA participant Texas State at UT's home-opener tourney.
"We have put together a tough preseason and non-conference schedule this year that will help prepare our team for the tough environments and teams that we face in Big 12 Conference play," Elliott said.
In conference play, Texas takes on three league teams that finished the 2007 season ranked in the AVCA Top 25. Joining No. 5 Nebraska in the final poll, were No. 16 Kansas State and No. 17 Iowa State, which made an appearance in the NCAA Regional semifinals last season.
UT kicks off its Big 12 calendar Wednesday, Sept. 20, when it travels to Nebraska to take on the Cornhuskers at the Nebraska Coliseum. The Longhorns and Huskers tied for the Big 12 title in 2007, splitting the season series with a pair of sweeps.
For the fourth-straight year, Texas will play most of its home matches at 6:30 p.m., unless television coverage necessitates individual match time changes.
The home schedule is highlighted by Nebraska's return to Austin on Wednesday, Nov. 19, and showdowns with BYU on Friday, Oct. 24, and Oklahoma on Wednesday, Nov. 29.
UT will host Texas A&M, historically one of the teams' top matches of the season, on Saturday, Nov. 1. Texas has won the last seven meetings between the two teams and swept the 2007 season series for the third straight season.
The Horns' match with Iowa State on Wednesday, Sept. 24, marks the beginning of UT's home Big 12 calendar. Kansas State visits Gregory Gym on Saturday, Oct. 4, and Missouri returns to Austin on Friday, Oct. 17.
The Longhorns, who finished the 2007 season with a 27-4 record and who notched their second straight NCAA Regional final appearance, return 11 of 15 letterwinners and five players with considerable starting experience.