July 16, 2012
COLUMBIA, Mo. - The Mizzou volleyball team has unveiled its schedule for the 2012 season, marking its inaugural season as a member of the Southeastern Conference. As usual, the Tigers will host the Tiger Invitational during the opening weekend of play from Aug. 24-25 at the Hearnes Center and play in two more nonconference tournaments before opening SEC play on Sept. 14 against Tennessee, an NCAA Tournament team from a season ago.
The Tiger Invitational will play host to North Florida, Virginia Tech, Nicholls State and Michigan - an NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 team from a season ago. Both Michigan and Mizzou were bounced from the NCAA Tournament field by Florida. Following the Tiger Invitational, Mizzou will hit the road and head to Nashville, Tenn., for a date at the Lipscomb Invitational. That tournament will last from Aug. 31-Sept. 1. On hand will be host Lipscomb (NCAA Tournament team), Houston and Appalachian State. The Tigers will close nonconference play with an appearance in the Morehead State Tournament from Sept. 7-8. South Carolina State, Morehead State and Valparaiso will be on hand at that tournament.
Fans will notice a slight schedule change in conference matches this season as the SEC plays on Fridays and Sundays, contrary to the Big 12 which played Wednesdays and Saturdays. The Tigers will spend the first weekend of SEC play at the Hearnes Center as they will host Tennessee at 6:30 p.m., marking the first SEC volleyball match to be played at Mizzou. It will also pit a pair of NCAA Tournament teams from a season ago and sets up a rematch of the 2005 NCAA Tournament Regional Final when Tennessee defeated Mizzou to advance to the Final Four.
The Tigers will then play Mississippi State on Sunday, Sept. 16, before hitting the road for their first SEC road weekend, beginning with a Friday tilt at Florida, setting up a rematch of last year's NCAA Tournament first round matchup, which Florida won, 3-1. That match will be Sept. 21. The Tigers will then head to Baton Rouge, La., to play LSU, a perennial SEC power that missed the NCAA Tournament last season.
A familiar foe will then head to Columbia the next weekend as Texas A&M will play on Sept. 28 at the he Hearnes Center. Georgia visits that Sunday. The Tigers will then head to Tennessee and Alabama the weekend of Oct. 5 before returning home on Oct. 14 for a date with the Mississippi State Bulldogs. Mizzou has a by that Friday.
The Tigers will then hit the road for four straight matches on Oct. 19 at Ole Miss. The Tigers will play at Auburn, Georgia and Arkansas in that span, which ends Oct. 28 with the match at Arkansas. Following the four-match road trip, the Tigers will return home for four dates on Nov. 2, beginning with South Carolina. The Tigers will also play a non-conference match against Arkansas State before playing Florida and LSU on Nov. 9 and 11, respectively. Mizzou will be on the road to face Texas A&M (Nov. 16) and LSU (Nov. 18) before returning home for the final weekend of regular season play against Kentucky (Nov. 12), which is an NCAA Tournament team from last season, and Alabama (Nov. 23).
From there, the Tigers will have to wait and see if their overall body of work is good enough to qualify them for their 11th NCAA Tournament appearance in the last 13 seasons. For all the latest on Mizzou volleyball, stay tuned to MUTigers.com and follow the tam on twitter @MU_Volleyball.