Information written by the Southeastern Conference media relations department
Year after year, the Southeastern Conference shows why it is considered to be one of the premier volleyball conferences in the nation.
In the decade of the 1990s, the SEC made stellar contributions in volleyball. The conference has sent at least two SEC teams to the NCAA Tournament in every season the last 14 years. The SEC has had a team reach the Final Four seven of the 10 seasons in the ’90s with the league having a team advance to the regional final nine of those 10 seasons.
In 2003, Florida competed in its 13th straight NCAA Tournament and made it to the Regional Finals for the 11th time in those 13 tries en route to another Final Four appearance. Arkansas’ 27-7 record also earned the Lady Razorbacks a spot in the NCAA Tournament field. Florida made a historic run, as the Lady Gators advanced to the national championship game, a first in the history of the Southeastern Conference. Florida was bested by defending champion Southern California, as the women of Troy defeated the SEC Champions 3-1.
Since the inaugural SEC volleyball championship in 1979-80, many changes have occurred in the conference. The addition of Arkansas and South Carolina to the league in 1991 brought the divisional format to the sport with five teams competing in the Eastern Division and six teams in the Western Division. The most recent change came in 1999 as the tournament format featured only eight teams participating in a three-day conference tournament.
Along with the growth in popularity throughout the country, women’s volleyball has also grown in the SEC. A benchmark in that growth came in 1995 when SEC volleyball was first broadcast on SEC-TV (FOX Sports Net South, FOX Sports Net Southwest and Sunshine Network) on a tape-delay basis. For the past seven seasons, the coverage has grown, especially in the last four years, to live telecasts of several regular-season matches and the SEC Tournament championship match. SEC volleyball will continue to enjoy live coverage on SEC-TV to almost 22 million subscribers in the conference’s nine-state region.
Southeastern Conference Notes
The 2003 season marked the 14th consecutive season in which the SEC has placed at least two teams in the NCAA Tournament.
Nine of the 11 teams posted wins in double digits in 2002, with three posting 20+ wins. Florida led the way with an SEC-high 35 victories. Arkansas had 27 wins, while Tennessee had 22 and Georgia and Alabama posted 18 victories on the season.
Arkansas claimed the school’s eighth Western Division crown in nine seasons. Alabama won the title in 2000.
Florida made its 14th NCAA appearance and 13th in a row in 2003 on its way to the Final Four, making it to at least the Regional Finals for the 11th time in 13 years. They also made the SEC’s first appearance in the National Championship Game, losing to Southern California.
Three SEC players were named AVCA All-American and seven players were named to the AVCA All-Region Team in 2002.
In the past 13 years, 715 student-athletes have earned selection to the SEC Academic Honor Roll.