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Nanooks announce 2008 volleyball slate

Submitted by Jamie Schanback
Phone: 907-474-6805

07/15/08

Alaska Nanooks head volleyball coach Phil Shoemaker has announced the program's 26-match schedule, which includes 15 home contests and the Auto Service Company Nanook Classic.

Alaska makes its 2008 season debut with two exhibition matches, hosting the Fairbanks Flyers on Aug. 22 and the UAF alumni Aug. 23. The Nanooks will get their first real test with a pair of nonconference matches against the University of Central Missouri on Aug. 29-30. UCM has been ranked in every American Volleyball Coaches Association pool since 1986, a record 236 consecutive weeks.

"Central Missouri is an outstanding program, and to have them visit for two matches as we open the season will provide us with a great challenge and a barometer of our progress," said Shoemaker. "I think we've come a long way; we're going to find out in a hurry."

The following weekend, Shoemaker and his squad will play host for the Auto Service Company Nanook Classic Sept. 5-6. The Blue and Gold square off against Catawba Friday night, St. Cloud State in a Saturday matinee and Ashland on Saturday evening.

"The field for the Auto Service Company Nanook Classic will provide quality competition from three other NCAA II regions: Central, Midwest and the Atlantic," said Shoemaker. "As always; I think our fans are going to be treated to some really exciting, highly competitive volleyball."

"I want to especially thank athletic director Forrest Karr, as he really stepped up to help make a four team field a reality for this year's Auto Service Company Nanook Classic."

The Nanooks will hit the road Sept. 11-13 to play in the Montana State Billings Invitational. In addition to playing Northern State, the University of Mary and Hawaii-Hilo, Alaska will play the host Yellowjackets for their first of 16 Great Northwest Athletic Conference match-ups.

"The Billings tourney is going to help us in a couple ways," said Shoemaker. "One, it allows us to play our league rival MSUB in a GNAC match without making an additional trip, and it offers us the opportunity to hone our skills against NCAA II teams before jumping into GNAC competition."

GNAC play continues the following Thursday, when the Nanooks welcome Seattle Pacific for their conference home opener. Alaska will visit Ellensburg Washington for its final conference contest and last match of the regular season on Nov. 15.

"We are really please with how our final 2008 schedule turned out," Shoemaker said. "The 2008 schedule is certainly our most nationally diverse DII offering in my nine seasons."