Beth Launiere and her Utah volleyball program will begin the 2007 season at the AVCA Showcase in August.
Feb. 28, 2007
SALT LAKE CITY - The University of Utah volleyball team will begin the 2007 regular season at one of the premiere college tournaments, joining perennial powers Nebraska, Tennessee and UCLA in the AVCA College Volleyball Showcase in Omaha, Neb.
The Showcase will be played Aug. 24-25 at the Qwest Center Omaha, site of the recently-completed 2006 NCAA Division I Championships. Nebraska is hosting the Showcase for the fourth time, having held the event in Lincoln in 1995 and 1999, and in Omaha in 2005. Qwest Center Omaha, which will also play host to the 2008 NCAA Division I Championships, set the record for collegiate volleyball attendance in December when 17,209 watched the NCAA Championship match.
"Utah is appreciative of the opportunity to play in the prestigious AVCA College Showcase," said head coach Beth Launiere. "We are especially excited to play UCLA and to play in front of the great volleyball fans of Omaha.
"This is a reflection of the level of our program and we believe that our team belongs in a field that's going to be this competitive. We are excited to match up against some of the other top volleyball programs in the nation."
Launiere continues, "Playing in this type of environment is an experience that will only pay off later in the season."
The last time the Showcase was in Omaha, it drew a total attendance of 20,604, including 10,576 spectators for the championship match.
The Showcase first-round matches will be UCLA versus Utah, followed by Nebraska versus Tennessee on August 24. The consolation and championship matches will be played the following night, August 25. Times of the matches are TBA.
With the pairings, Utah has the rare opportunity to open the 2007 season against the last team it played in 2006. The Utes will battle the same UCLA squad that topped them in the NCAA Tournament second-round match, 3-1.
Utah will return all 14 players from last season's team that went 28-4, 16-0 in the Mountain West Conference. Among the returners are All-Americans Airial Salvo (second team) and Whitney Webb (third team).
For the eighth consecutive year, and 11th time in 13 Showcases overall, the defending NCAA National Champion will open its season at the prestigious tournament. Nebraska, which won its third volleyball National Championship in December, finished the 2006 season 33-1. UCLA, which finished the 2006 season 33-4, advanced to the NCAA national semi-finals in 2006 before falling to Nebraska in four games. Tennessee finished the 2006 season 19-12 and fell to Duke in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
The University of Texas won the 2006 Showcase, held in Madison, Wis., upending Washington in five games. Host Wisconsin finished third and Ohio finished fourth. For more Showcase information, including history and records of the event, go to the AVCA Web site, www.avca.org, and click on the link "AVCA Showcase".
All tickets for the 2007 Showcase will go on sale this Saturday, March 3 at 12 p.m. (noon) exclusively through the Qwest Center Omaha and Ticketmaster. Ticket prices are $39 and $32 (including handling fees). For tickets, visit www.Ticketmaster.com or call your local Ticketmaster outlet. You can also call the Qwest Center Omaha at (402) 422-1212.