Volleyball Squad Focusing On Lone Star State With 2010 Schedule
DENTON, Texas (5/11/10) ? The North Texas volleyball team and new head coach Ken Murczek will be taking their up-tempo brand of volleyball on the road in 2010. The Mean Green will face a regional schedule that includes 22 road matches, but only has N
The Mean Green will be playing its first 17 matches away from the Mean Green Volleyball Center, the most in school history. However, eight of those matches will take place in the Lone Star State.
"I think our non-conference schedule has a great mix of teams that will perfectly prepare us for a tough Sun Belt West Division," Murczek said. "When I arrived at North Texas, I wanted to emphasize the state of Texas in our recruiting process. We want to play well against Texas schools and hopefully turn some heads, and this schedule will be our first showcase."
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North Texas will take on six teams that finished 2009 ranked inside the RPI top 100, and six other squads that ranked in the top 150. NT is slated to face national powers Syracuse (Sept. 3), Northwestern (Sept. 4) and Alabama (Sept. 10), as well as potent regional squads in Texas State (Sept. 10), Stephen F. Austin (Sept. 15), UT Arlington (Sept. 17) and UTEP (Sept. 18).
The 22 total road matches are the most by an NT squad since 1981 when the program was an independent, and played 36 of its 46 matches away from home.
"With my arrival in January, it simply didn't leave a lot of time to schedule a ton of home matches. This year we will play a few extra on the road with the intent of having a home-heavy slate in 2011," Murczek said. "I think a realistic goal for our non-conference schedule is to be at or above .500, and for our players to be hitting the Sun Belt schedule with some confidence."
The Sun Belt slate features four 20-win squads and five teams ranked in the RPI top 150, including No. 18 FIU and No. 32 Middle Tennessee. NT will host the Blue Raiders on Oct. 29 and No. 72 Western Kentucky on Oct. 31.
Murczek took over the reins of the program in January, and brings a pedigree of winning at every level of competition. The former Kansas and Virginia assistant coach won national championships as a player at Arizona, and played professionally in Europe.
The Mean Green is slated to return over 90 percent of its kills from last year's squad, including one of the program's all-time top attackers in Amy Huddleston.
NT opens the 2010 slate on Aug. 27 against Jackson State at 7 p.m.