May 16, 2014

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MARTIN, Tenn. – Head volleyball coach Darrin McClure has released the 2014 University of Tennessee at Martin volleyball schedule, which includes four nonconference tournaments including the Skyhawk Invitational on Sept. 12-13.

“We designed the schedule this year to allow us to be at home some at the beginning of the year,” said UT Martin head coach Darrin McClure, who is entering his seventh season in charge of the Skyhawk volleyball program. “Fifteen of our first 16 matches were on the road last year and that was very hard on us.”

UT Martin will open the 2014 campaign with three games in a tournament in Montgomery, Ala. The Skyhawks will face South Carolina State and host Alabama State on Aug. 29 before concluding the tournament against Southern on Aug. 30.

The Skyhawks’ home opener is set for Tuesday, Sept. 2 against Alabama A&M. A three-game tournament at Memphis then follows, as UT Martin will square off against Arkansas State on Sept. 5 before taking on host Memphis and Ole Miss on Sept. 6.    

For the third time in four years, the Skyhawk Invitational will take place at Skyhawk Fieldhouse. This year’s participants include Drake out of the Missouri Valley Conference, Valparaiso out of the Horizon League and Western Carolina from the Southern Conference. All-time, UT Martin has only played Valparaiso once (a 3-0 win in 1999) and has not ever played Drake or Western Carolina. Matches will begin at 4:30 p.m. and 7 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 12, while a full slate of matches (10:30 a.m., 1 p.m., 4:30 p.m., 7 p.m.) are scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 13.

“Our home tournament will be very competitive,” McClure said. “Nonetheless we are glad to be home that weekend. We need our fans to come out that weekend and support us as the competition will be stiff.”

A midweek home game against Southern Illinois follows on Sept. 16 before UT Martin spends the next two weeks on the road. The Skyhawks will battle South Carolina State, Stetson and Chattanooga in a tournament hosted by Chattanooga on Sept. 19-20, followed by the Ohio Valley Conference opening weekend at Austin Peay (Sept. 26) and at Murray State (Sept. 27).

The Skyhawks’ OVC home opener is set for Tuesday, Sept. 30 against OVC West rival Southeast Missouri, followed by a home match against Jacksonville State on Oct. 4.

After a swing through Morehead State (Oct. 10) and Eastern Kentucky (Oct. 11), the Skyhawks open a season-long four-game homestand against Eastern Illinois on Oct. 17. UT Martin will also take on SIU Edwardsville (Oct. 18), Tennessee State (Oct. 21) and Belmont (Oct. 24) during the lengthy home stretch, with the match against Belmont serving as “Alumni Weekend” coinciding with UT Martin’s 2014 Homecoming festivities.

UT Martin goes back on the road for a pair of OVC West matchups at SIU Edwardsville (Oct. 31) and Eastern Illinois (Nov. 1) before wrapping up the home portion of its schedule with weekend matches against Murray State and Austin Peay on Nov. 7 and Nov. 8, respectively.

Road matches at Southeast Missouri on Nov. 11 and at Tennessee Tech on Nov. 15 round out the regular season before the OVC Tournament takes place on the campus of the highest seed on Nov. 20-24.

“For us to be successful in conference this year we have to be consistent,” McClure said. “We must take care of home court and do everything we can to get some quality wins on the road. Our conference has gotten so competitive in the last few years and the new divisional format is very exciting. I can’t wait to get started.”

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