UNA Volleyball releases 2011 schedule

The University of North Alabama volleyball team's 31-match schedule in 2011 will include nine home dates and feature games against eight opponents that reached the NCAA Tournament last year. After posting a 21-10 record which included a return-trip to the post-season a year ago, the Lions are set to open the 2011 campaign in St. Louis, Mo.

"I am excited for the 2011 season," said UNA head coach Stephanie Radecki. "Our team will be tested throughout the year as we travel and compete against very strong programs. Strength of schedule is always very important to our program when scheduling matches and hopefully it will prepare our team and put us in position for success late in the season."

UNA will open the season at 3 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 2, against Wayne State (Mich.) at the Missouri-St. Louis Tritons Classic. The Lions will face three other teams at the two-day event, including the host Tritons, who are coming off a post-season appearance in 2010. UNA will close out the Classic against NCAA-tournament participant Gannon.

The following weekend, the Lions will return home to host the 2011 North Alabama Classic. A total of six teams will see action Sept. 8-10 at Flowers Hall. The home opener for the Lions will be on Friday, Sept. 9, against Queens. Match time is set for noon. UNA will also face Sunshine State Conference members Nova Southeastern and Saint Leo.

The Lions will be in Savannah, Ga., on Sept. 16-17 to play four matches at the Armstrong Atlantic State Pirate Volleyball Classic. Three of the four contests will feature NCAA Tournament teams from last season, including Rollins, Flagler and the host Pirates. UNA will also play South Carolina-Aiken to close out the event.

The Gulf South Conference opener for the Lions this year will be at home. UNA hosts Christian Brothers at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 20, to begin GSC play. Conference re-alignment will give the league a new look this season. UNA will play home-and-home series against CBU, Alabama-Huntsville, West Alabama, Valdosta State, West Georgia and defending conference champion and NCAA participant West Florida this year. The Lions also have a home-and-home series against future GSC member New Orleans.

On Oct. 14-15, UNA will be in Carrollton, Ga., for three matches at the West Georgia Regional Crossover. The Lions will take on Sunshine State schools Rollins, Florida Tech and NCAA participant Barry.

The Lions will close out the regular season with a road trip through south Florida. UNA will play at 2010 national runner-up Tampa on Nov. 3 before traveling to play two matches on the campus of Eckerd. UNA will play the Tritons the following day before closing out the regular season with a neutral-site match against Saint Leo.