All eyes on Pac-12 women’s volleyball

By Jonathan Okanes

The Pac-12 has been the dominant conference in women’s volleyball for decades.

A lot more people are about to find that out.

The Pac-12 Networks released their 2012 women’s volleyball schedule Wednesday and it will feature 82 matches. Every team in the conference will make at least 12 appearances on the networks, including every team on Nov. 23, the final day of the regular season.

Viewers will have plenty of chances to see college volleyball played at its highest level. UCLA won the national championship last season, the conference’s 14th in the 31 years the NCAA Tournament has been played for women’s volleyball. The Pac-12 has sent at least six teams to the tourney for 12 straight years. Last year, both UCLA and USC reached the Final Four, the 14th time the conference has made up at least half of the national semifinals. A Pac-12 team has played in the national championship match 23 times, including 10 out of the last 11 seasons.

“In my opinion, this changes the whole face of the sport in this country,” said USC coach Mick Haley, a former U.S. National Team coach who has led the Trojans to two NCAA titles. “This is what the coaches, the coaches association (AVCA), and everybody has been asking for; this kind of exposure. I think you’re going to see a tremendous jump in the sport’s following.”

The coverage commences on Aug. 28 when USC plays host to the Jiangsu Chinese Team at 7 p.m. The networks’ first four women’s volleyball broadcasts will feature the team from China, as it will also take on UCLA on Aug. 29, Stanford on Sept. 5 and Cal on Sept. 6.

UCLA also hosts perennial West Coast Conference power Pepperdine on Sept. 12 before the Pac-12 season begins. Last year, the conference sent seven teams to the NCAA Tournament and had six finish in the final AVCA top 25.

“The Pac-12 Networks broadcast of 82 volleyball matches this season is an excellent way to market collegiate volleyball and to increase exposure for our 12 volleyball programs, which collectively make up the top conference in the nation,” said Oregon State coach Terry Liskevych, who guided the U.S Olympic Team to the bronze medal at the 1992 games in Barcelona. “This will bring us great exposure and really allow us to show the rest of the country the both the talent and competitiveness of all 12 schools. I’m very excited for this first year and beyond.”

The networks will show a handful of quadruple headers on Fridays and Sundays, when most of the volleyball matches will take place. There will also be a singular featured match on most Wednesday nights. A handful of matches will also be played on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

For the complete women’s volleyball schedule, click here.

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