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Volleyball

Nebraska outside hitter Kadie Rolfzen (6) stops a second-set shot by Texas libero Amy Neal (9) during the NCAA final Saturday, Dec. 19, 2015, at CenturyLink Center Omaha.

Nebraska will begin defense of its national volleyball championship in a tournament featuring prominent programs.

Nebraska released the 2016 schedule Wednesday, and the Huskers will begin the season at the VERT Challenge on Aug. 26-27 in Eugene, Oregon. Nebraska will meet Texas in national title rematch on the first or second day of the event, and play Florida on the other day.

The Gators advanced to the regional finals a year ago. Nebraska hasn't played Florida since 2010.

Nebraska will host Iowa State and Oregon State in the Nebraska Invite on Sept. 2-3, and the Ameritas Players Challenge will feature matches against Montana State, Creighton and Gonzaga.

NU will begin Big Ten play on Sept. 23 at Michigan, and will play fellow Big Ten powers Penn State (Nov. 4 in University Park, Pennsylvania, and Nov. 16 at the Devaney Sports Center) and Minnesota (Oct. 22 at home and Nov. 23 in Minneapolis) twice.

The biggest change to the schedule for teams will come in the NCAA Tournament.

This will mark the first year when campus sites will host the first two weekends of the NCAA Tournament.

The first and second rounds will be on campus sites Dec. 1-3. The highest remaining seeds will then host regional rounds the following week.

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If this format was used in 2015, for example, Nebraska would have hosted regional semifinals and the final instead of travelling to the predetermined site (Lexington, Kentucky).

The Final Four will take place Dec. 15-17 in Columbus, Ohio. TV and the remaining times will be announced at a later date.

2016 schedule

August: 20—Red/White Scrimmage, 7 p.m.; 26—vs. Texas or Florida (in Eugene, Ore.), TBA; 27—vs. Texas or Florida (in Eugene, Ore.), TBA.

September: 2—Iowa State, 7 p.m.; 3—Oregon State, TBA; 9—vs. New Mexico or Arkansas (in Albuquerque, N.M.), TBA; 10—vs. New Mexico or Arkansas (in Albuquerque, N.N.), TBA; 16—Montana State, noon; 16—Creighton, 7:30 p.m.; 17—Gonzaga, 3 p.m.; 23—at Michigan, TBA; 24—at Michigan State, TBA; 28—at Illinois, TBA.

October: 1—Ohio State, TBA; 7—Indiana, TBA; 8—Purdue, TBA; 14—at Ohio State, TBA; 16—at Maryland, TBA; 21—Wisconsin, TBA; 22—Minnesota, TBA; 28—Illinois, TBA; 29—Northwestern, TBA.

November: 4—at Penn State, TBA; 5—at Rutgers, TBA; 9—Iowa, TBA; 12—at Indiana, TBA; 16—Penn State, TBA; 19—at Iowa, TBA; 23—at Minnesota, TBA; 26—Michigan, TBA.

December: 1-3—NCAA Tournament first and second rounds, campus sites; 9-10—NCAA Regionals, campus sites; Dec. 15-17—NCAA Final Four, Columbus, Ohio.

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