Home Tournament/18 SLC matches highlight 2012 volleyball schedule
BEAUMONT – An early season home tournament and a full home-and-home Southland Conference slate highlight the 2012 Lamar University volleyball schedule announced by head coach Justin Gibert on Tuesday.
Lamar will host four schools in a home tournament to be played Aug. 31-Sept.1 at McDonald Gym. Texas State, Tulane, Louisiana Tech and South Carolina State are scheduled to participate with four matches to be played each day.
"I'm really pleased with the field in this tournament and the timing of it," said Gibert. "It will be a nice break between the two travel weekends. The first weekend is always a little rough to get your legs under you, figure out the lineups and how young players will react on the court, so I look forward to a good performance in our home tournament."
The Lady Cardinals, who return nine players off last year's 11-21 team, will open the season at the North Texas Invitational on Aug. 24-25. Lamar will face UMKC and Houston Baptist on the opening Friday before taking on Prairie View A&M and the host Mean Green on day two.
Prior to opening Southland Conference play, Lamar will also compete in the Hampton Inn Bama Bash on Sept. 7-8. The Lady Cards open with host Alabama, and will also take on Alabama State, Austin Peay and East Tennessee State.
"We get a chance to play four opponents in all our tournaments which I think is a bonus for us," said Gibert. "It is a lot to play so we'll have to stay healthy and maybe go deeper into our bench than I normally would. I really like the competition and I think we can compete for wins. We really feel like the three tournaments will help us pick up momentum heading into conference play."
In addition to the three tournaments, Lamar will also host a pair of matches before beginning league action. The Lady Cardinals' home opener is scheduled for Aug. 28 against former conference rival New Orleans. Lamar will also host longtime foe Louisiana-Lafayette on Sept. 4.
With Texas State, UT Arlington and UTSA leaving the Southland Conference, and Oral Roberts coming in, the format for league play will be different in 2012. There will no longer be two divisions, and each team will play a home-and-home series against the other nine schools for an 18-match conference schedule.
Lamar, which finished second in the East Division in 2011 with a 9-7 league record, will open conference action at Nicholls on Sept. 13 and at Southeastern Louisiana on Sept. 15. The Lady Cardinals then come home to host Northwestern State on Sept. 20 and Stephen F. Austin on Sept. 22.
"I really enjoy the home-and-home schedule much more than the divisions we've had in the past," said Gibert. "I really feel good about the conference schedule. We open at a couple of teams that we've had the advantage on recently so I really feel like that's a great start for us.
"We then host two matches against a pair of young and improving teams. I think in the first two weekends the advantage actually goes to us. Obviously, we have to play well and stay injury free, but I think we should get off to a good start."
Late in the conference season, Lamar will host four straight matches before closing the regular season at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi (Nov. 8) and at Sam Houston State (Nov. 10). The Southland Conference Tournament will be hosted by Central Arkansas Nov. 15-18.
Volleyball ticket prices will stay the same as last season with an adult season ticket costing $25 and a youth ticket costing $15. Single game tickets are $5 for adults, $3 for youths and free to all Lamar students with a valid ID. Children three and under are admitted free of charge. To purchase tickets, or for any questions, contact the Lamar ticket office at (409) 880-1715.