BOWLING GREEN, Ky. — Fresh off back-to-back NCAA Tournament appearances and a number-24 national ranking, the WKU Lady Topper volleyball program has put together a 2012 schedule that features 11 matches against NCAA Tournament squads from a season ago.
WKU's 2012 opponents combined to win nine NCAA Tournament matches last year, including three teams that won two games in the tournament. WKU faces five-time national champion Penn State, who has won three of the last four national titles, in the season-opening tournament in Louisville that will be played at the KFC Yum! Center, the site of the 2012 National Championships.
“Our opening weekend tournament in Louisville consists of three NCAA Tournament teams from a year ago, including Penn State, a team that has won five national championships," head coach Travis Hudson said. "Week in and week out I feel like we are challenging our girls, as 11 of our matches this season will be against 2011 NCAA Tournament teams. We are hoping to build our RPI so that it puts us in a position for at-large considerations and also puts us in a position to be prepared for our Sun Belt Conference matches. In all, we are really looking forward to the challenges that this schedule presents and cannot wait to get started.”
The 2012 home opener is August 28 against Austin Peay, and then the Lady Toppers embark on a trip to Charlottesville, Va., for a tournament hosted by the University of Virginia. After a road match at Cincinnati, WKU returns to E.A. Diddle Arena for its home tournament, where it will face Tennessee Tech, Dayton, Ohio State and IUPUI.
The non-conference portion of the schedule is rounded out with a tournament in Ann Arbor, Mich., hosted by the University of Michigan, which includes games against Duke, Michigan and Eastern Michigan.
“We are really excited about the first month of the season, especially the non-conference portion of our schedule," Hudson explained. "We feel like we have a great group of players coming back this year, and we feel like we have definitely placed a series of challenges in front of them."
The Sun Belt Conference schedule includes home games against east division rivals Troy, South Alabama, FIU, Florida Atlantic and Middle Tennessee, as well as Arkansas State and UALR.
The Sun Belt Conference Tournament will be at E.A. Diddle Arena November 15-17.