FAYETTEVILLE — The University of Arkansas volleyball team returned to campus and to the top 25 Monday as the 2004 season gets underway.
The Lady Razorbacks reported for pictures and physicals Monday and also learned they received 18 points in the American Volleyball Coaches Association Top 25 preseason poll.
"It’s great to be mentioned in the top 25," said Arkansas head coach Chris Poole. "But I think even more important is the fact that nine of our first 10 opponents are either in the top 25 or getting votes. We have a very strong pre-conference schedule and we’ll be tested from the first match."
The Lady Razorbacks open the season hosting Kansas Sept. 1, at 7:00 p.m., in Barnhill Arena. The Jayhawks are receiving 85 points and return five starters from last year’s 22-11 team that reached the NCAA Tournament second round.
Arkansas embarks on its first road trip facing Pacific who tallied seven points and No. 22 Santa Clara in California.
The road stand continues at the Green Mills Restaurant Classic hosted by Wichita State. No. 7 Washington, Michigan State, with 45 points, and Wichita State with 13 points are also on the schedule.
Arkansas at last returns home to the friendly confines of Barnhill Arena hosting the C&C Services Invitational, Sept. 17-18. The Lady’Backs open the tournament with Houston, the only preseason team not mentioned in the AVCA poll. Arkansas’ second match is against Ball State, who is getting three votes. The Lady’Backs conclude tournament play with No. 19 Illinois.
The Lady Razorbacks begin Southeastern Conference play hosting fourth-ranked and national runner-up Florida Sept. 24. While the Gators are the highest ranked team Arkansas is scheduled to face all season, the SEC schedule should challenge the young team.
Arkansas follows up the Gator match hosting Georgia, Sept. 26; Mississippi, Oct. 1 and Mississippi State, Oct. 3 in the longest home stand of the season.
The Lady Razorbacks begin preseason two-a-day practices Monday continuing until classes begin in late August. For more information about Arkansas volleyball, for ticket and schedule information log on to www.ladybacks.com.
USA TODAY/AVCA Division I Coaches Top 25PRESEASON POLL:
|16||UC Santa Barbara||546||19-9||22|
Others receiving points: Maryland 112, Cincinnati 110, Long Beach State 108, San Diego 105, Texas 88, Kansas 85, Missouri 78, Michigan 68, Colorado 59, Brigham Young 58, Michigan State 45, UC Irvine 39, Pittsburgh 34, Florida A&M 27, Ohio 20,
ARKANSAS 18, Wichita State 13, Fresno State 12, Tennessee 11, North Carolina 8, Ohio State 7, Pacific 7, Western Michigan 6, Ball State 3, Florida State 2.