June 19, 2012
Rice University head volleyball coach Genny Volpe has announced Tuesday afternoon the upcoming 2012 Rice Owls volleyball schedule.
Now in her ninth season, Volpe embraces the challenges that this season's slate encompasses.
"This schedule provides us with many opportunities to get significant wins for NCAA tournament consideration and to elevate our national ranking," says Volpe. "It is ideal in terms of opportunities to compete against NCAA caliber teams. Not only are we playing in a very competitive C-USA league, but in the non-conference portion of the schedule we are competing against a variety of high quality opponents that have had tremendous success on the national level - Washington, Purdue, LSU, BYU - it just doesn't get any better than that."
The Rice Invitational I on Aug 24-25 in Tudor Fieldhouse begins the 2012 campaign and features matches vs. Air Force (Aug. 24), Arkansas State (Aug. 25), and BYU (Aug. 25). After a match at future Conference USA rival UTSA (Aug. 28), the Owls head to Baton Rouge, La. to compete against Purdue, Washington, and host LSU in the Tiger Classic (Aug. 31-Sept. 1).
Rice hosts Southland foe Sam Houston State on Sept. 4 before venturing to Oxford, Miss. to compete against Ole Miss, North Dakota, and Alabama A&M in the Magnolia Invitational. The Rice Invitational II, featuring Cal State Northridge, Houston Baptist, and Texas Tech, closes out the challenging non-conference part of the schedule.
C-USA action starts on Sept. 18 with a match vs. Houston inside Tudor Fieldhouse, before hitting the road for matches at Memphis (Sept. 21) and at UAB (Sept. 23). The Owls' Dig Pink match this season occurs on Oct. 7 vs. Tulane and the Rice volleyball alumni day has been designated for Oct. 14 vs. East Carolina.
After a two-year hiatus, the Conference USA Championship makes a return appearance. Tulsa, the two-time defending regular season C-USA champions, hosts the tournament Nov. 16-18 at the Reynolds Center. Rice won the last C-USA Championship in 2009, the school's first conference volleyball title. This year's NCAA Final Four volleyball championship will be held in Louisville, Ky. (Dec. 13-15).
Last season, Rice finished 18-13 overall and second place in C-USA with a 13-7 mark. The Owls have five starters returning for 2012, including AVCA All-America Honorable Mentions, middle blocker Nancy Cole and setter Megan Murphy.