Air Force Opens Season at Rice Invitational

Aug. 21, 2012

The Air Force volleyball team opens the 2012 season this weekend (Aug. 24-25) at the Rice Invitational in Houston, Texas. The Falcons will face tournament host Rice, former conference foe BYU and first-time opponent Arkansas State at Tudor Fieldhouse.

Weekly Notes 01: at Rice Invitational (Aug. 24-25) Get Acrobat Reader

TOURNAMENT INFORMATION
The Rice Invitational will be held Aug. 24-25 at the Tudor Fieldhouse in Houston, Texas. All-match tickets were announced at $22 for adult and $15 for youth and seniors (62+). Live stats will be available for every match at riceowls.com. In addition, Rice will have a live video stream during its match with the Falcons on Friday night (charges may apply).

FRIDAY, AUG. 24
4:30 p.m.: Arkansas State vs. BYU
7:00 p.m.: Air Force vs. Rice

SATURDAY, AUG. 25
10:00 a.m.: BYU vs. Air Force
12:30 p.m.: Arkansas State vs. Rice
4:30 p.m.: Air Force vs. Arkansas State
7:00 p.m.: Rice vs. BYU

SCOUTING THE OPPONENTS
Rice finished the 2011 season with an 18-13 overall mark, while placing second in Conference USA (13-7). The Owls are tabbed by the league's coaches to claim the same C-USA finish in 2012. In its first year as a member of the West Coast Conference, BYU placed third in 2011 with a 10-6 record (21-9 overall). The Cougars, who received votes in this year's AVCA Preseason Coaches' Poll, are picked to finish fourth in the WCC. Arkansas State posted a 20-11 record in 2011, while winning the West Division of the Sun Belt Conference (12-4). The Red Wolves have a new head coach in David Rehr for the 2012 season.

SERIES HISTORY
Air Force is 0-3 all-time against Rice, having last faced the Owls as WAC opponents in 1998. The Falcons have faced former WAC and Mountain West foe BYU on 27 occasions, claiming a victory over the Cougars in 2002. This will be the first meeting between Air Force and Arkansas State.

AIR FORCE IN SEASON OPENERS
The Falcons hold a 21-15 all-time during the first match of a new year, while Matt McShane is 1-1 in season openers since taking over the Air Force program. The 2012 opener will mark the first time in McShane's tenure that the Falcons have opened the season with a true road contest.

LONE STAR STATE OF MIND
The Falcons will open the 2012 campaign in Maiya Perich's hometown of Houston, Texas. Perich is one of six Falcons to hail from the Lone Star State, as Emma Dridge (Allen), Victoria Foster (El Paso), Casey Boyle (Dallas), Josalynn Wise (Amarillo) and Lizzy Carpenter (Murphy) also call Texas home.

RECORD BOOK WATCH
The season may just be starting, but the Record Book watch is already in full-effect. Maiya Perich enters the 2012 season ranked third on the Division I all-time list for career digs. She is just 28 digs away from moving into No. 2 on the Academy's all-time list.

FRESHMEN RECEIVE NATIONAL RECOGNITION
The Falcons' impressive nine-member freshmen class became the first recruiting class in program history to earn High Honorable Mention from PrepVolleyball.com, the only website to recognize the nation's top incoming classes for collegiate volleyball.

OH CAPTAIN, MY CAPTAIN
Maiya Perich was selected as the team captain for the second straight year. The senior became the first solo team captain since Michelle Harrington in 2009 and the first back-to-back captain since Jasamine Pettie in 2007-08.

MOUNTAIN WEST PRESEASON COACHES POLL
Receiving eight of nine first-place votes in the annual Mountain West Preseason Coaches' Poll, defending champion Colorado State was picked to win the conference in 2012 (80 total points). With 69 points, San Diego State edged out Wyoming (66) for the number two spot, although the Cowgirls claimed the final first-place vote. Less than 10 points separated Fresno State (fourth, 45), UNLV (fifth, 42), New Mexico (sixth, 40) and Boise State (seventh, 36), while Nevada (eighth, 16) and Air Force (ninth, 11) rounded out the coaches' rankings.

ON THE BENCH
Matt McShane returns for his third season as the head coach of the Falcons' volleyball program. Since his arrival, Air Force claimed its first Mountain West victory in over five years and its first true road contest in two years. He is joined by assistant coaches Louella Maxwell and Marc Swindle, as well as volunteer coach AJ Joseph.

MEDIA GUIDE NOW AVAILABLE
The 2012 Air Force Volleyball Media Guide is now available online at GoAirForceFalcons.com.

FALCONS ON FACEBOOK
The volleyball team is on Facebook! Search afvolleyball and become a fan today for the most up-to-date information on the volleyball program.

WHAT'S ON DECK
The Falcons return to Colorado next week, traveling to Greeley for the Hampton Inn and Suites Classic at Northern Colorado. Air Force will face off with Oklahoma, North Dakota State and host UNC over the Aug. 31-Sept. 1 weekend at Butler-Hancock Sports Pavilion.