The AD's Corner — Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2013
How Could NCAA Volleyball Get Any Better?
Playing in an all-Texas doubleheader in the first round of the 2013 NCAA Women’s Volleyball Championship, UTSA (24-7) will take on Texas A&M (18-11) at 4:30 p.m. on Thursday in Gregory Gym in Austin. Defending National Champion and top-ranked Texas (23-2) will host Texas State (24-12) at 7 p.m. in the bracket’s other first-round matchup. Thursday’s winners will meet at 7 p.m. on Friday with the opportunity to move to the Lincoln (Neb.) Regional.
The four-team event includes the nation’s No. 1 team (Texas) and three conference champions — UTSA (Conference USA), Texas State (Sun Belt Conference) and Texas (Big 12).
UTSA and Texas A&M will square off for the second time this fall on Thursday evening. The Aggies claimed a four-set road victory against the Roadrunners on Sept. 6 in the final match of the UTSA Classic.
The ties between the four Texas programs are unending.
UTSA head coach Laura Neugebauer-Groff is a former All-American at Texas, where she captained the Longhorns to four Southwest Conference Championships from 1982-85. Neugebauer-Groff began her collegiate coaching career at Texas A&M in 1990 and worked three seasons under long-time head coach Laurie Corbelli. Corbelli’s daughter, Rachel, is a recent UTSA graduate and spent last summer as an intern in the UTSA Athletics Department.
"UTSA is playing some great volleyball," Corbelli recently said of the Roadrunners. "They have an outside hitter who leads the nation in kills per set and is a pretty phenomenal attacker, no doubt, and they also have a great defense. I know getting past UTSA is going to be hard and it will be a great challenge."
Tickets for the first-round matches are going quickly. UTSA fans can purchase general admission tickets through the UT Box Office by calling (512) 471-3333 or by purchasing online by clicking here. General admission tickets are $10 for adults and $6 for children and they are good for both matches on Thursday. All reserved seat tickets have been sold out. Public parking will be available for $3 at the Brazos Parking Garage, which is located at 210 East Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard.
|UTSA fan Caleb Ramos (in blue jacket), family, friends and Rowdy celebrated his 12th birthday at Saturday's Louisiana Tech football game.
Rice Victory "Saves" Alamodome Locker Room
Despite UTSA’s best efforts against Louisiana Tech last Saturday at the Alamodome, the miracle did not happen.
The Roadrunners defeated the Bulldogs, 30-10, by holding the visitors to just 193 yards of total offense, but the afternoon of intrigue ended late in the fourth quarter when Rice held on to beat Tulane, 17-13, to capture Conference USA's West Division. A Rice loss coupled with a UTSA win would have sent the third-year Roadrunners to this week’s C-USA Championship Game against East Division champ Marshall.
"It wasn't a downer because we did win our game and had a good finish to the season, but I would have loved to see the emotion if we had the win and Rice lost," head coach Larry Coker said. "They might have had to put up a new dressing room in the Alamodome."
The faint hope for a bowl invitation also disappeared last week.
At the inception of the UTSA football program five years ago, 2014 appeared to be the earliest the Roadrunners could qualify for a bowl bid. A year ago, the NCAA provided a slight chance for a 2013 bid during their second year of reclassifying, but only if 70 full-fledged Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) teams did not become bowl eligible, but 77 are eligible for the 35 bowl games this postseason. That means at least seven bowl eligible teams will be staying home in addition to the 7-5 Roadrunners.
Asked after Saturday’s game if he’s still holding out hope for a bowl bid miracle, senior quarterback Eric Soza said, "We can’t control anything anymore. We put our case out there and whatever happens, happens. God will take control of that. If this was our last game then I think it ended pretty well."
This ‘N’ That
Ticket office to offer Rowdy Runners Club group outings — The UTSA Athletics Ticket Office has added special events for youth groups attending men’s and women’s basketball games. Members of the Rowdy Runners Club may purchase blocks of $5 general admission tickets and participate in pregame and postgame activities. A pregame fan tunnel formed by Rowdy Runners Club members on the court is available with the purchase of 40 or more tickets, a halftime performance on the court can be scheduled with the purchase of 50 or more tickets and a postgame autograph session with the entire team is available with the purchase of 25 or more tickets. Membership in the Rowdy Runners Club is free for youngsters in the eighth grade and below. To find out more about Rowdy Runners Club membership and group outings, call Stefanie Constable at (210) 458-4646.
Houston Astros President to address UTSA Baseball banquet — Houston Astros President Reid Ryan will address the UTSA Baseball First Pitch Banquet on Feb. 1 at the H-E-B University Center ballroom. The recently-appointed Astros head of operations is the son of Hall of Fame pitcher Nolan Ryan. The First Pitch Banquet is held each year to raise funds for the UTSA Baseball program. Doors will open and the silent auction will begin at 6:15 p.m. and the dinner and program will begin a half hour later. Click here to purchase tickets to the banquet.
UTSA Tailg8ters win HEB competition — Congratulations to the UTSA Tailg8ters for winning the H-E-B Tailgater of the Year competition. They went home Saturday from the Alamodome with a $1,000 H-E-B gift card and bragging rights for an entire year. Thank you to this season’s five individual game winners who took part in Saturday’s final and everyone who took part in the season-long competition. A special thanks go out to former UTSA basketball great Devin Brown, UTSA head volleyball coach Laura Neugebauer-Groff and KENS5 Sports Director Joe Reinagel, who all judged Saturday’s final competition. Click here and make sure to like the contest's official Facebook page for more tips on next year's Tailgater of the Year competition.
Saturday’s final football game was extremely emotional. The pressure of winning a seventh game to stay in the C-USA West Division race, the emotions of saying goodbye to 10 seniors who helped establish the program and then telling the team that the season was over when Rice hung on to beat Tulane. The coaching staff and players showed grace and maturity in being proud of Saturday’s effort and not dwelling on the lack of a postseason opportunity.
The media has rehashed our bowl eligibility continually for the past three weeks, but we understood the rules going into the season and it was still a difficult issue to handle. Eliminating a team that plays 12 FBS opponents and wins seven games seems unfair, but we have known the NCAA rules for a program moving from FCS to FBS for several years. We will move forward and focus on the challenge of winning our first C-USA Championship AND going to our first bowl game in 2014. Next year’s team will be filled with numerous seniors and four-year starters. There will be tremendous incentive to move forward and continue making history.
It would have been so nice to reward this group of seniors with a bowl trip. They accepted the challenge of building a program based primarily on a vision. When the coaches began recruiting them, we had no practice facilities and no FBS conference affiliation. They believed in our vision and trusted the coaches. They believed that we would build a quality FBS program and provide an opportunity to play major college football. Our next responsibility to them is to make sure they walk across the stage with a degree this spring and complete a winning season.
I’m so proud of Coach Coker and his staff. They have done an excellent job evaluating talent, identifying young men with character and building them into a team. Our coaches are great teachers and they have kept their players mentally and emotionally prepared all season. The fact that we’re bemoaning no bowl trip after just three seasons is proof enough that Coach Coker and his staff have done an outstanding job. They’re already on the road recruiting and will bring a number of recruits to campus this weekend.
I want to thank each of you for your participation in this successful football season. I hope you will accept the challenge, along with our team, to capture a C-USA Championship in 2014 and make that first bowl trip. The only way that we can sustain our momentum is if each of you is “All In.” Every season ticket purchased, every donation and every game attended helps us continue to climb to the next levels of NCAA competition. We’ll continue to make history if you’re a member of our Roadrunners team.
Please make the trip to Austin tomorrow evening to watch the volleyball team battle Texas A&M. How badly would you like to see them beat the Aggies? It’s a real possibility. A coach’s job is never done. Neither is a fan’s. Let’s finish strong with the volleyball team at the NCAA Championships and then turn our attention to the basketball teams. The UTSA Athletics year has just begun.
Director of Athletics