DENTON (5/10/06) -- Not only will North Texas host the 2006 Sun Belt Conference Volleyball Tournament, the Mean Green volleyball team will play 15 regular-season home matches, the most since the 1997 season, and host the 16th Mean Green Classic.
The Mean Green will host its first ever volleyball conference tournament in 2006 at its new facility in the Mean Green Village. Including postseason play, North Texas could have at least 16 matches at its new venue to tie its most matches ever played at its home site.
"I think we have a pretty-well rounded schedule," said North Texas head coach Cassie Headrick. "We’ve increased our home matches this year, which will definitely help this team as the season progresses. We feel very comfortable playing at home this year and with the new facility we are really looking forward to the environment that will surround game-day."
North Texas will face opponents from 10 different conferences, including the Pac-10, Big 12, WAC and Mountain West Conference. The Mean Green will play four teams that advanced to the NCAA Tournament last year and six teams that won 20 or matches.
NT will compete in four regular-season tournaments, opening its season at the Texas State Tournament on August 25. The Mean Green will play Wyoming and USC, which was ranked No. 19 in the final 2005 national poll, on the tournament’s first day to begin the season. In addition to the Mean Green Classic and the Texas State Tournament, North Texas will also compete at the Sam Houston State and University of Illinois-Chicago tournaments.
The Mean Green will make its debut at the North Texas Volleyball Center on September 5, hosting metroplex-rival TCU at 7 p.m. The match will mark the first of four consecutive home outings for North Texas as it will be followed by the Mean Green Classic, September 8-9. The tournament will pit North Texas against Oklahoma, Sam Houston State and Texas Southern.
"We are fortunate to have Oklahoma join us for the Mean Green Classic in 06," said Headrick. "They are a team that continues to improve and will again provide us with great competition from a major conference. Sam Houston and Texas Southern will help make for a competitive tournament that will hopefully draw fans from around the area. We feel that it’s very important for us to be able to play at home early in the season and we are happy to host the teams in what we hope will be a great weekend of volleyball."
North Texas will begin Sun Belt Conference play on September 22 at Arkansas State and will host its first league match on September 29 against defending champion Western Kentucky. With the addition of Louisiana-Monroe and Florida Atlantic, the Mean Green will now play 18 Sun Belt Conference matches.
The Mean Green will be in the same division with Arkansas State, Arkansas-Little Rock, Denver, Louisiana-Lafayette, Louisiana-Monroe and New Orleans. The other division will be made up of Florida Atlantic, Florida International, Middle Tennessee, South Alabama, Troy and Western Kentucky.
"We feel the schedule will definitely challenge us early and prepare us for the ever increasing challenges of the Sun Belt," said Headrick. "We are very excited to be hosting the conference championships this year and feel that being able to play at home during the season as much as possible will pay-off at the end of the season."
North Texas head coach Cassie Headrick will enter the season needing just three victories to become the school’s all-time leader in victories. Headrick is the seventh coach in North Texas volleyball history, which played its first season in 1976.