LSU’s volleyball team announced its 2011 schedule on Thursday, highlighted by 12 matches against 2010 NCAA tournament foes.

The six-time defending Southeastern Conference Western Division champions are scheduled to play 14 matches in the Pete Maravich Assembly Center where they are 62-10 since the 2005 season.

LSU opens the season with its own Tiger Classic, featuring Alcorn State (Aug. 26), Louisiana-Lafayette (Aug. 26), Jacksonville State (Aug. 27) and NCAA tournament participant Miami, Fla. (Aug. 27). The last time LSU opened its season at home was in 2007.

“We’re extremely thrilled to be the first team to start the 2011-12 LSU athletic season at home,” LSU coach Fran Flory said in a university news release.

“Our young team led by All-SEC performers Desiree Elliott and Michele Williams will play an up-tempo, exciting brand of volleyball.

“This group is looking forward to the opportunity to uphold LSU volleyball’s championship tradition. We still have a lot of work to do before taking the floor on August 26, but it will be exciting to see how this group develops.”

Before entering SEC action, LSU hits the road for back-to-back tournaments hosted by New Mexico State and Western Kentucky. The SEC schedule will have a home-and-home series with each league school.

LSU heads into the season as one of only 18 programs nationally to qualify for the past six NCAA Tournaments.


KENDALL, TWO OTHERS QUALIFY FOR OLYMPIC TRIALS: LSU junior Amanda Kendall posted two top times in the world to qualify for the Olympic Trials in August.

Kendall won both the 100 freestyle and the 50 butterfly at the Senior Circuit No. 4 long-course competition last weekend in Austin, Texas.

Kendall had a time of 55.78 seconds in the 100 free and a 27.25 in the 50 butterfly to win by more than a 1.5 seconds.

Kendall’s finishes both top-16 nationally and bode well for next month’s U.S. Nationals. She will also be competing in the 100-fly.

Kendall’s LSU teammates, Sara Haley and Audrey Lawson, also qualified for Olympic Trials in the 200-fly with their strong showings.

Haley finished second in the to Texas A&M’s Rita Medrano with a time of 2:15.71. Lawson raced to fifth in 2:16.91.

“The performances for all three of those women really puts their goals in focus for the upcoming National Championships,” LSU coach Dave Geyer said in a university news release.

“All of them are performing at or near lifetime best times. Mentally knowing they have their Olympic Trial standards achieved, they can relax a little and focus on the race and performances ahead at Palo Alto in August.”

The U.S. Nationals will be held in Palo Alto, Calif., on Aug. 2-6.