VOLLEYBALL TEAM OPENS 2012 SEASON THIS WEEKEND AT ARKANSAS INVITATIONAL
August 23, 2012
MARTIN, Tenn. – The University of Tennessee at Martin volleyball squad begins with three matches in two days at the Arkansas Invitational this weekend. The Skyhawks will take on the host Razorbacks on Friday, Aug. 24 at 7 p.m., then play Kansas (1:30 p.m.) and Northwestern State (4:30 p.m.) on Saturday, Aug. 25.
UT Martin is coming off a 19-win campaign and an Ohio Valley Conference Tournament championship appearance in 2011. The Skyhawks return nine players and four starters off that team that produced the program’s most victories since 2002.
Among the returnees are seniors Kasey Elswick and Kelly Hogan. Elswick set an NCAA single-season record with 852 digs last season and is the two-time reigning OVC Defensive Player of the Year, while Hogan is a three-year starter who was the only player last season to record 300-plus kills (303) and digs (313).
Sophomores Emily Keaton and Allie Whimpey are the other returning starters from last season. Keaton was an OVC All-Newcomer after accumulating 290 kills and 311 digs. Whimpey played in all but one set in 2011, tallying 251 kills and 61 blocks.
Seven newcomers will also be making their highly-anticipated debut this weekend. The star-studded signing class includes five members from the Louisville, Ky. area who are expected to contribute immediately.
The Skyhawks are 0-2 all-time against Arkansas, playing the Razorbacks in both 2002 and 2008. UT Martin has never faced Kansas, while owning a 1-1 all-time record against Northwestern State. In fact, McClure’s first career victory came against Northwestern State in the 2008 season-opener.
Arkansas is coming off an 18-13 record last season under head coach Robert Pulliza. The Razorbacks went 10-10 last season in the competitive Southeastern Conference, earning a second place finish in the Western division.
A member of the Big 12 Conference, Kansas finished 15-14 last fall. Head coach Ray Bechard enters his 15th season as the Jayhawk coach and returns 13 letterwinners and five starters (plus libero) from last year.
Northwestern State posted a 10-20 record last season but returns 10 letterwinners and all six starters. Members of the Southland Conference, the Lady Demons employ co-head coaches in Hugh Hernesman and Stephanie Hernesman.