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NCAA Regional festivites will begin on Thursday with a slate of open practices.

Wednesday December 5, 200713th-Seeded VB Plays Host To NCAA Regional Featuring No. 4 Texas, No. 5 USC and No. 12 SJU

Gainesville, FL

NCAA Regional festivites will begin on Thursday with a slate of open practices.

The 13th-seeded University of Florida volleyball team will welcome No. 4 Texas, No. 5 Southern California and No. 12 St. Johnís to the Stephen C. OíConnell Center on Thursday, when the teams kick off the NCAA Gainesville Regional with a day of open practices.


The slate of practices, which are free and open to the public, begins at 12:15 p.m. when St. Johnís hits the court. The Red Storm will practice until 1:45 p.m., before USC takes the floor from 2-3:30 p.m. Florida practices from 3:45-5:15 p.m., and Texas will wrap up the day with a 5:30-7 p.m. practice.


Regional play commences on Friday when USC faces St. Johnís at 4:30 p.m. Following the completion of the first semifinal, the Gators will square off with Texas at 7 p.m. in an attempt to reach their 13th regional final in the last 17 seasons. Free streaming video of both matches can be seen live on the Internet via GatorVision Online, while radio coverage of UFís match will be broadcast on WRUF-AM 850 and


The winners of the semifinal bouts will clash at 4 p.m. on Saturday, in a match televised live by ESPNU, for a trip to the national semifinals in Sacramento, Calif.


More than 3,000 tickets have already been sold for the Gainesville Regional, but others are still available by calling 1-800-34-GATOR, ext. 6800. Tickets may also be purchased at the OíConnell Center Gate One box office beginning at 3:30 p.m. on Friday. Please see below for ticket prices.


The first 200 UF students will be admitted free with valid ID. Students will need to enter the OíConnell Center at Gate Three to take advantage of this offer.


Gainesville Regional Thursday Open Practice Schedule (All times Eastern)

12:15 p.m. Ė 1:45 p.m.†††††††††††††††† St. Johnís

2 p.m. Ė 3:30 p.m.†††††††††††††††††††††† Southern California

3:45 p.m. Ė 5:15 p.m.†††††††††††††††††† Florida

5:30 p.m. Ė 7 p.m.†††††††††††††††††††††† Texas


Tournament ticket prices are as follows:

Level 1 All Session: $15

Level 2 Adult All Session: $12

Level 2 Youth (12 & under)/Senior/UF Faculty & Staff All Session: $8

Level 2 Adult All Session Group Rate (Groups of 10 adults or more): $10

Adult Single Day: $10

Senior/Student Single Day: $7

Youth (12 & under) Single Day: $5


No. 4 Seed Texas

Record: 26-3 overall, 19-1 Big 12

Coach: Jerritt Elliott (Cal State Northridge '91)


Team Notes

* Texas is the No. 4 seed in the NCAA Tournament, and the top seed in the Gainesville Regional bracket

* Three of UTís regular-season opponents (Nebraska, Penn State and Iowa State) advanced to Regionals after winning their respective sub-regionals

* The Longhorns extended their season-best winning streak to 22 matches with their 3-0 sweep of LSU in the second round of the NCAA Championship

* Texas improved to 24-0 all-time in NCAA first round matches with its win over Texas State, hitting .494 to mark the fourth-highest rating in school history

* UT is making its second-straight NCAA Regional appearance, and the 19th regional semifinal appearance in school history

* The Horns are participating in their 24th NCAA Tournament, the fourth-highest total in the nation

* Texas advanced to the NCAA Championship 19-straight times from 1982-2000

* UT hosted a sub-regional in 2007 for the 18th time in school history

* The Longhorns are one of just three teams east of California to win an NCAA Championship, joining Nebraska and Penn State

*Texas hasnít lost since Sept. 12, falling to then-No. 1 Nebraska by a 3-0 score

* The Horns began the 2007 season with an 0-2 record after dropping back-to-back matches at Penn State, and have rebounded with 26 wins in their last 27 matches

* Texas is ranked third in the CSTV/AVCA Coachesí Poll for the sixth week in a row; the rating is UTís highest since it held the third spot on Sept. 17, 1996

* Texas opened the season ranked fourth in the nation, equaling the best preseason ranking in program history (1998)

* Texas earned a total of nine Big 12 postseason awards, including five first-team All-Big 12 honors, as well as Freshman of the Year (Juliann Faucette) and Coach of the Year accolades


No. 5 Seed Southern California

Record: 27-4 overall, 14-4 Pac-10

Coach: Mick Haley (Ball State '65)


Team Notes

* USC is making its 17th-consecutive appearance in the NCAA Championship, and the 25th in program history

* The Trojans have won three NCAA titles (1981, 2002, 2003)

* USC owns a 55-20 NCAA Championship record, which ranks fifth in NCAA history in terms of victories

* USC is competing in an NCAA Regional for the seventh time in the last eight years

* The 2007 Gainesville Regional is USCís third postseason appearance in the state of Florida (1996, 1998), and its second on the UF campus (1998)

* Six Pac-10 teams, including No. 5 USC, are ranked in the top-10 of the current CSTV/AVCA Coachesí Poll Ė the most of any conference in the country

* The Trojans finished third in the Pac-10 with a record of 14-4, marking the 10th time in the last 12 years that they have finished third or better in conference play

* Senior Asia Kaczor and sophomore Taylor Carico were named to the 2007 All-Pac-10 Conference team, while Zoe Garrett and Geena Urango received honorable mention nods to the All-Freshman Team

* Carico needs just 62 assists to tie the USC single-season record (1,490)

* USC finished the 2007 season with a 19-0 home record, marking the fifth time in school history that the Trojans have gone undefeated at home; they last accomplished that feat in 2003, the last time they won the NCAA title

* With USCís win over UCLA on Nov. 2, Mick Haley earned his 700th Division I win as a womenís head coach

* The Trojans are 7-0 this season in five-game matches, with five of those outings coming against teams ranked in the CSTV/AVCA Top 25

* Sophomore Taylor Carico and freshmen Zoe Garrett and Kimmee Roleder each played for the U.S. Junior National Team that finished fourth at the 2007 Junior World Championship in Thailand


No. 12 Seed St. Johnís

Record: 33-3 overall, 13-1 BIG EAST

Coach: Joanne Persico-Smith (Syracuse '87)


Team Notes

* St. Johnís is making the first NCAA regional semifinal appearance in school history

* The Red Storm jumped five spots to No. 13 in the latest CSTV/AVCA Coachesí Poll

* The No. 13 ranking is the highest in the 14-year existence of the SJU program, and marks the 14th-straight week that the team has appeared in the national poll

* The Red Storm is making its second-consecutive appearance in the NCAA Championship, and its first as one of the nationís top 16 seeds

* St. Johnís won the BIG EAST Tournament championship this season for the first time in school history

* Senior Wioleta Leszczynska was named the BIG EAST Tournament Most Valuable Player, and was joined on the All-BIG EAST Tournament team by classmates Hui Ping Huang, Dana DeMayo and Latoya Blunt, as well as junior Lena Yee

* St. Johnís MB/OH was named the 2007 BIG EAST Player of the Year Ė a first for the SJU program

* Junior Lena Yee won her second-consecutive BIG EAST Libero of the Year award in 2007

* The Red Storm had four athletes named to All-BIG EAST teams in 2007, as seniors Hui Ping Huang, Latoya Blunt and Wioleta Leszczynska earned first-team honors and junior Lena Yee found herself on the second team for the second-straight year


No. 13 Seed Florida

Record: 29-2, 19-1 SEC

Coach: Mary Wise (Purdue '81)


Team Notes

* Florida is making its 18th all-time NCAA Championship appearance, and its 17th in a row

* The Gators are hosting Regional play for the second-straight season, and the ninth time in school history; UF is the first school to be awarded back-to-back Regionals since the NCAA went to pre-determined sites in 2003

* UF has advanced to the Final Four seven times (1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, 1998, 2002, 2003)

* The Gators are 47-17 all-time in NCAA play

* Florida is 36-3 at home in NCAA play, including a 35-3 mark under head coach Mary Wise

* The Orange and Blue has advanced to Regional play in 16 of the last 17 years

* Florida has played in a Regional Final 12 of the last 15 years Ė tied with Nebraska for the most in the nation

* The Gators are 25-12 under Wise in NCAA Championship matches against ranked teams

* UF is 12-3 all-time in NCAA regional semifinals, including one win each over Texas and USC

* Florida is tied for eighth with 47 all-time wins in the NCAA Championship. However, those wins have come in only 18 tournament appearances, which means that Florida, on average, wins 2.61 matches per NCAA appearance - an average that ranks fourth in NCAA history

* Florida had six players earn All-SEC recognition, tying a school record:SEC Player of Year - Angie McGinnis (fifth player to win award in multiple years) Amber McCray (Opp., first team), Marcie Hampton (OH, first team), Kelsey Bowers (MB, second team), Kisya Killingsworth (MB, second team), Callie Rivers (OH, All-Freshman)

* Florida has 551 wins since 1991 - the most in the nation

* McGinnis broke Heidi Andersonís 15-year old UF career assists record on Oct. 5, and heads into the Regional with the fourth-most assists in SEC history

* Cusack became both the fastest player in school history to reach 1,000-career digs and just the second SEC player to do it as a sophomore in the win over Mississippi State on Nov. 18

* Heading into the Regional, UF has three 1,000-kill players on its roster for the first time in school history (Hampton, Killingsworth, McCray), three 1,000-dig players on the its roster for the first time in school history (Cusack, Hampton, McGinnis) and three 300-block players on its roster for first time in Wiseís tenure (Bowers, Killingsworth, McGinnis)

* Florida's streak of 17 consecutive SEC titles ties the Arkansas men's cross country team for the most in SEC history in any sport

* UF has won at least 25 matches each of the last 17 years - the longest streak in the nation


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