– Breaking a six-year postseason absence, the University of Arkansas volleyball has earned an at-large bid into the field of 64 of the 2012 NCAA Division I Women’s Volleyball Championship. The Razorbacks will open tournament play Friday against Wichita State. The first-round match is scheduled for a 4 p.m. (CT) start at Allen Fieldhouse in Lawrence, Kan. The Arkansas-Wichita State match is part of the sub-region which also includes No. 11 national seed Kansas and Cleveland State.
“It’s an exciting day and exciting time for Arkansas volleyball,” head coach Robert Pulliza
said. “It’s hard to describe. When you’ve worked so hard like these players have to make a dream come true, and then it comes true, it’s a great feeling. I’m very proud of this team.
“There was a sense of joy and celebration. We’ve been working very hard and been waiting for that moment for a long time. We’ve talked about it and envisioned it, so it was pure joy. It’s a moment they will never forget in their lives and a moment I’ll never forget. It was great.”
Sunday’s selection marks Arkansas first appearance in the NCAA Tournament since the 2006 season, and its first under Pulliza, who is in his fifth season in Fayetteville. Overall, Arkansas will be making its 10th NCAA appearance. The program owns a 7-9 overall record in the tournament, having advanced to a regional semifinal in 1998 and the second round on five other occasions (1996, 1997, 1999, 2003, 2005). The Razorbacks’ other appearances came in 2001, 2004 and 2006.
The Razorbacks finished the 2012 regular season with a 22-9 overall record and a 13-7 tally in Southeastern Conference play. Both win totals are highs for the program under the direction of Pulliza.
“Right now I’m still speechless,” senior captain Amanda Anderson
said. “This is the dream we’ve had since being here. Four years I’ve been waiting for this moment and it’s here. I don’t’ think I’ve ever been that excited in my life. My heart stopped. I started crying. You don’t even know what you’re expecting and then it just hits you. It’s one of the best feelings I’ve ever had.”
The Razorbacks are one of five SEC teams to advance to the NCAA Tournament. Arkansas is joined in the bracket by conference mates Florida, Kentucky, Tennessee and Texas A&M. A total of eight opponents from this year’s schedule are also in the field including non-conference opponents Kansas, Michigan, Oklahoma and Tulsa.
For more information regarding Razorback volleyball or University of Arkansas athletics, please visit ArkansasRazorbacks.com. Fans can also keep up with Arkansas volleyball through the team’s sport-specific RazorbackVB Facebook and Twitter page.