DENTON, Texas – Ken Murczek and the North Texas volleyball team are set to take on six NCAA Tournament squads and 11 20-win teams in a challenging 2012 schedule that features 18 home matches.
North Texas is coming off its first back-to-back winning seasons in 35 years, and has raised the bar in 2012 with nine squads on the schedule that finished last season ranked inside the RPI top 107. Baylor (Sept. 18), Oral Roberts (Sept. 7) and Eastern Michigan (Sept. 7) all finished inside the RPI top 100 and each will make an appearance at the Mean Green Volleyball Center this fall.
“We set out to create a schedule that would be both challenging for our program and exciting for our fans, who have really made the Mean Green Volleyball center a fun place to play,” Murczek said. “Our players and coaches can’t wait to showcase the growth of this program for the Mean Green Nation this fall.”
North Texas, which led the Sun Belt in attendance in 2010 and finished second last year, will open the season at home for just the third time in the last 12 years – and for the first time since 2009 – when it plays host to the North Texas Invitational on Aug. 24-25. NT will also host the Mean Green Invite on Sept. 7-8, which makes two straight seasons with two home tournaments.
The Mean Green will travel to Indianapolis, Ind., for a tournament at IUPUI (Aug. 31-Sept. 1) and Birmingham, Ala., for another tourney at Alabama State (Sept. 14-15).
NT will keep its Metroplex and regional rivalries alive with road trips to UT Arlington (Aug. 28), Texas Tech (Sept. 3), Stephen F. Austin (Oct. 30) and SMU (Nov. 21).
The top three teams in the league will travel to Denton in North Texas’ final season in the Sun Belt Conference. SBC champion Western Kentucky, who finished 2011 among “Others Receiving Votes” in the AVCA Top 25, will be at the Mean Green Volleyball Center on Oct. 5. Two days later, NT will host Middle Tennessee, who also advanced to the NCAA Tournament. FIU is moving to Conference USA with North Texas in 2013, but will play for the final time as SBC foes in Denton on Oct. 19.
The Sun Belt Conference Tournament will be held in Bowling Green, Ky., from Nov. 15-17.