Tuesday, May 11, 2004
» 2004 Season Schedule
» 2004 Printable Schedule
TUSCALOOSA – The 2004 schedule for the University of Alabama volleyball team opens in an unfamiliar way, as the Crimson Tide plays its first five matches of the year in the friendly confines of its home court, the CAVE.
In the recent past, Alabama has traditionally spent the opening month of the season away from Tuscaloosa participating in tournaments and challenging road contests. This year, UA brings those tests and challenges to their home court. The CAVE (Coleman Auxiliary Volleyball Extension), which debut 1,000 chair-back seats last season, unveils a brand new paint scheme on the court for this season.
The Crimson Tide’s slate includes 14 home matches and features an abundance of talented teams including four squads that participated in the NCAA Tournament last year. In fact, Alabama opens the season on Sept. 1 against NCAA participant Alabama A&M in Tuscalooosa, then welcomes the trio of College of Charleston, Xavier and Montana State to town for the Crimson Tide Invitational on Sept. 3-4. UA concludes its season opening homestand against Florida State on Sept. 7.
“We have put together the most competitive schedule of my tenure at Alabama,” said head coach Judy Green, who begins her ninth season at the Capstone in the fall. “If somebody isn’t an avid follower of collegiate volleyball, then they can’t really appreciate the challenges of this schedule. For example, this year’s field in the Crimson Tide Invitational is definitely our strongest yet with all three teams regularly among their conference leaders. Every night will present a challenge for this team.”
Following their season opening string of home contests, the remainder of Alabama’s pre-conference matches includes tournament appearances at the UT-Arlington Invitational (Sept. 10-11) and the Indiana Invitational (Sept. 17-18) sandwiched around a home match-up with Birmingham-Southern (Sept. 14). The UTA tournament includes matches with UT-Arlington and Arkansas-Little Rock while IU’s event pits the Tide against Indiana, Kent State and NCAA participant Pittsburgh. UA concludes its non-conference ledger by visiting Southern Mississippi on Sept. 28.
“We are counting on our non-conference schedule to challenge and prepare us for the strong competition in SEC play,” added Green.
Alabama opens SEC play against archrival Auburn in the CAVE on Sept. 22. Last year’s meeting between the two rivals in Tuscaloosa drew a record attendance of 1,227. Other home league tilts for the Tide includes LSU (Oct. 8), Arkansas (Oct. 10), South Carolina (Oct. 15), Tennessee (Oct. 17), Ole Miss (Nov. 5), Mississippi State (Nov. 7) and Kentucky (Nov. 14). UA will hold its annual “Family Weekend” festivities on Oct. 8-10 with “Senior Day” set for the UK match.
The Tide’s list of road SEC battles features trips to Kentucky (Sept. 24), Georgia (Oct. 1), Florida (Oct. 3), Mississippi State (Oct. 22), Ole Miss (Oct. 24), Arkansas (Oct. 29), LSU (Oct. 31) and Auburn (Nov. 10). The SEC Championship Tournament will be played in Gainesville, Fla., on Nov. 19-21.
This season, Alabama will also play in an additional event following the SEC Tournament as the Tide is scheduled to participate in the SEC/C-USA Challenge in Baton Rouge, La., on Nov. 26-27. UA will face C-USA members Tulane and Houston over the Thanksgiving Holiday. The NCAA Tournament holds its opening round of competition on Dec. 2-5.
“We are playing in the SEC/C-USA Challenge in order to start changing the thinking of our team,” said Green. “We no longer want to consider our season over in mid-November after the SEC Tournament. Our goals and thoughts are to still be playing much longer than that.”
The Crimson Tide welcome back nine letterwinners and five starters from last year’s squad that posted the program’s fifth consecutive winning season. Alabama also welcomes a talented class of newcomers that includes a redshirt freshman, three true freshmen and a Division I transfer. Rising senior Erin Heffner looks to earn her third consecutive All-SEC nod this year while helping lead the Tide in their quest for a division title. Bama also hopes to continue increasing the interest in volleyball, that resulted in another single season attendance average record last year.