Huskers Will Host AVCA Showcase

By: Courtesy: American Volleyball Coaches Association
By: Courtesy: American Volleyball Coaches Association

The American Volleyball Coaches Association is pleased to announce the field of teams and the ticket sale date for the 2009 Runza/AVCA College Volleyball Showcase, to be played August 28-29 at Qwest Center Omaha.

The Conference Challenge format that was unveiled last year will continue in 2009, with host school Nebraska as well as Kansas State representing the Big 12 Conference. The rest of the 2009 field consists of Michigan and Minnesota from the Big Ten Conference.

On Friday, Aug. 28, Nebraska will square off with Michigan, and Kansas State will battle Minnesota. The following day, the Huskers will take on the Golden Gophers, while Kansas State will face Michigan.

Tickets to the event will go on sale on Monday, April 13, at 10 a.m. (central), exclusively through Qwest Center Omaha and Ticketmaster outlets across Nebraska. All-session ticket prices are set at $39 and $32.

This is the fourth time the event has taken place at Qwest Center Omaha, as the arena hosted the event in 2005, 2007 and 2008. The arena has hosted some of the largest crowds in NCAA history, including an NCAA-record crowd of 17,430 during last year’s National Semifinals. The arena also holds the record for the largest crowd in Runza/AVCA Showcase history, as 11,076 fans witnessed the 2007 Showcase title match between Nebraska and UCLA.

“Our goal with the Showcase is to kickoff the volleyball season with elite teams battling in an electric environment,” said AVCA Executive Director Kathy DeBoer. “The Big 12 and Big Ten give us two of the best leagues, the Qwest Center in Omaha gives us the best venue, and Runza gives us the best partner. All in all, this is a premier event!”

Under the Conference Challenge format, each school plays the two teams from the other conference, and does not play the other school from its own league. The format was unveiled in 2008, as Showcase participants Nebraska, Stanford and Texas all ended up reaching the National Semifinals.

All four teams selected for the 2009 Showcase were ranked in the final 2008 Bison/AVCA Division I Coaches Top 25 Poll and combine to bring back five AVCA All-Americans.

Nebraska will make its eighth AVCA Showcase appearance and fourth under Head Coach John Cook (also 2001, 2005, 2007 and 2008). The Huskers went 31-3 in 2008 and reached the National Semifinals for the third time in four seasons. Nebraska returns All-Americans Tara Mueller and Sydney Anderson and three other starters from a squad that won its fifth consecutive Big 12 title in 2008.

Kansas State finished third in the Big 12 for the second consecutive year and won at least 20 matches for the 12th time in 14 years. The Wildcats, who finished with a 24-8 record and ranked 20th in the final Bison/AVCA Poll in 2008, will make their second Showcase appearance and first since 2003.

Michigan, which finished with a 26-9 record before losing to Nebraska in the Seattle Regional semifinals, reached the round of 16 for the second consecutive season. The Wolverines have made six NCAA Tournament appearances in the last seven seasons and will make their inaugural Showcase appearance this season.

Minnesota has been one of the Big Ten’s traditional powers in recent years under Mike Hebert, qualifying for the NCAA Tournament in each of the last 10 years. The Golden Gophers, who advanced to the National Semfinals in 2003 and 2005, went 27-7 and finished the year ranked No. 14 in the country. The Gophers advanced to the second round of the 2008 NCAA Tournament before losing to Iowa State. This is Minnesota’s third Showcase appearance.

To order tickets, fans can contact the Qwest Center Omaha by telephone at (402) 341-1500, or on the Web at www.qwestcenteromaha.com. To order tickets through Ticketmaster, go to www.ticketmaster.com

Courtesy: American Volleyball Coaches Association


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