July 9, 2013
AUBURN, Ala. - Nine of Auburn's 13 home volleyball matches will take place at Auburn Arena, and the Tigers will face eight opponents from last year's NCAA Tournament as Head Coach Rick Nold released Auburn's 2013 volleyball schedule Tuesday.
The Tigers will play a total of 11 matches against 2012 NCAA participants. Auburn faces two matches each against SEC foes Arkansas, Tennessee and Texas A&M, and one meeting each with conference mates Florida and Kentucky, along with non-conference powers Nebraska, Notre Dame and Florida State.
"We are really excited about our schedule for this fall," Nold said. "We feel like our preseason matches will be a good variety of styles that will help prepare us for our conference season and ultimately the NCAA Tournament.
"The SEC is, year in and year out, one of the best conferences in the country, and this year will be no different. Each year there seems to be more and more parity amongst the teams, and this year I expect that to contribute to a very exciting season for our fans."
Nold and the Tigers are scheduled to play the majority of the Tigers' home matches at Auburn Arena this season. The only contests this year that will not be played at the Arena will be the six matches of the Active Ankle Challenge (Sept. 5-6) and the Nov. 8 match against Missouri. Those matches will be played at the Student Activities Center.
The Tigers will kick off the 2013 season in St. Louis, Mo., with the Billiken Invitational on Aug. 30-31. Auburn will face the host Billikens in the season-opener Friday night, then take on national power Nebraska - the No. 7 team in the nation in the final 2012 ranking - Saturday morning. A match with Louisiana-Monroe on Saturday afternoon will wrap up the tournament, and the Tigers will head across the Mississippi River to take on SIU-Edwardsville on Sunday morning before heading back home.
Auburn will then play host to the Active Ankle Challenge the following weekend as Troy, Mercer and Wisconsin-Green Bay will visit for a two-day tournament on Thursday and Friday, Sept. 5-6. All six matches will take place at the Student Activities Center.
"We are especially excited to host the Active Ankle Challenge," Nold said. "The Active Ankle Challenge will be an unusual Thursday/Friday matchup that we think will fit in nicely with the weekend experience we are working hard to create for our fans on football weekends. They will get multiple opportunities to take a break from other activities to come over and show their support."
After the Tigers make the short trek to Jacksonville to face Nold's former team, Jacksonville State, on Monday, Sept. 9, Auburn will travel to South Bend, Ind., for a two-day tournament at Notre Dame. The Tigers will take on Oakland, Loyola-Chicago and the host Fighting Irish in the Shamrock Invitational Sept. 13-14.
One final non-conference tilt will take place the following weekend as the Tigers play host to 2011 Final Four participant Florida State on Saturday, Sept. 21, in the first-ever volleyball match at Auburn Arena.
"Florida State is a team I expect to be ranked in the top 15 to start the season," Nold said, "so having them on our floor will be a big bonus for our fans. In addition, this will be our first match hosted in Auburn Arena where we will be playing a majority of our matches this season after many years in the Student Activities Center."
Southeastern Conference play gets underway Friday, Sept. 27, as the Tigers host Kentucky at Auburn Arena. The following Wednesday, Oct. 2, Auburn will welcome rival Alabama to the arena for one of the season's marquee matchups.
Auburn will then hit the road for six of its next eight matches, traveling to Missouri (Oct. 4), Arkansas (Oct. 6) and Ole Miss (Oct. 13). The Tigers will host LSU (Oct. 18) and Texas A&M (Oct. 20) in the middle of the pair of three-match road swings before heading to Florida (Oct. 25), South Carolina (Oct. 27) and Tennessee (Nov. 1).
The Tigers will then be home for three in a row against Mississippi State (Nov. 3), Missouri (Nov. 8) and Arkansas (Nov. 10). The Missouri match on Nov. 8 is currently scheduled to be played at the Student Activities Center, pending a potential scheduling conflict with Auburn Arena.
Trips to LSU (Nov. 15) and Texas A&M (Nov. 17) kick off the home stretch of the season before Tennessee (Nov. 22) and Ole Miss (Nov. 24) visit for the final two home matches of the year. The Tigers will close out the 2013 regular season at Georgia on Nov. 27.
Auburn returns four starters plus the libero from the 2012 team that posted a 17-13 overall record, 8-12 in SEC play. A total of nine letter-winners return from the 2012 squad, and the Tigers will welcome six newcomers for 2013.