Kentucky Volleyball Releases 2004 Schedule
The University of Kentucky volleyball program will face a challenging schedule again in 2004, taking on six teams which participated in the 2003 NCAA Tournament, including runner-up Florida at least twice during the fall. The schedule, which Coach Jona Braden released Tuesday, will see the Cats travel to 11 different states, including a Thanksgiving weekend tournament in Long Beach, Calif.
“We welcome the challenge that the 2004 schedule will present in taking our young group into an always challenging SEC season,” Braden said. “Again this year, we face many of last year’s NCAA Tournament teams, which follows our philosophy of playing the best teams in order to be the best team.”
The 2004 team, which features eight returning players and six newcomers, will open the fall schedule with its annual Blue/White Scrimmage on Aug. 22 in Memorial Coliseum before opening with Eastern Kentucky in Lexington on Sept. 1. Kentucky will participate in three pre-conference tournaments this season, beginning at Southwest Missouri State, Sept. 3-4. There UK will face NCAA participant SMSU, 2003 opponent Western Illinois, Fresno State and Middle Tennessee State.
The Wildcats return to Lexington, Sept. 10-11, to host their annual tournament, the Kentucky Conference Challenge. This year’s field features Hofstra, Valparaiso and Indiana State. The Cats will travel north to West Lafayette, Ind., Sept. 17-18 for the Purdue Mortar Board Premier. The Boilermakers will host Kentucky, Central Michigan and East Tennessee State in a two-day round-robin event.
The always-challenging Southeastern Conference schedule gets underway with Alabama and Auburn traveling to Lexington in late September. The Wildcats begin October with trips to South Carolina and Tennessee before hosting Georgia and perennial SEC favorite Florida. Mississippi State and Ole Miss visit Lexington over Homecoming weekend, Oct. 15-17, before UK travels south to Arkansas and LSU.
Kentucky closes the home conference schedule early this year, taking on Tennessee and South Carolina in Memorial Coliseum the last weekend of October. After trips to Georgia and Florida, Kentucky hosts top-25 power Louisville in a mid-week battle Nov. 9. The team will wrap up the regular-season league slate with Auburn and Alabama in mid-November.
Florida plays host to this year’s SEC Tournament, Nov. 18-21, at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center in Gainesville. Following the league tournament, Kentucky will close regular-season play at the Long Beach State Tournament over Thanksgiving break. UK will face two NCAA Tournament participants from a year ago in host LBSU and American.