The Chattanooga Mocs volleyball team gets the 2014 season underway Friday at the Husky Classic hosted by Houston Baptist University. A two-day, three-match tournament, UTC takes on Tulsa Friday followed by Northern Arizona and HBUSaturday.
“This tournament is filled with a lot of great teams,” Head Coach Travis Filar said.
“We have a tough pre-conference schedule ahead of us. All of these teams are very talented and will give us a huge test right out of the gates.”
The Mocs take on Tulsa for the first time in school history at 5:30 p.m. The Hurricane is coming off a 24-7 season and is in search of its 600th all-time win. Tulsa finished the 2013 season in the postseason at the Conference USA Volleyball Championship.
Tulsa’s lineup boasts two American Athletic Conference Preseason Team members in sophomores Brooke Berryhill and Erica Bohannon. Berryhill, the Hurricane’s starting libero, was a Conference USA second team and All-Freshman selection in 2013. As a rookie, she totaled 565 digs that placed her fifth in the program’s single season record book. Bohannon, a 6-foot-1 outside hitter, was also a 2013 All-Freshman selection. Her 288 kills were second-best on the team while also collecting 39 total blocks.
Northern Arizona is next on the schedule, set for Saturday at 1 p.m. Another team Chattanooga has never met, the Lumberjacks return five starters from its 2013 squad. NAU was 19-11 last season and has been chosen to finish first in the Big Sky preseason poll, tied with Idaho State.
Along with seniors Sydney Kemper and Taylor Stephens, juniors Janae Vander Ploeg Payton Bock and sophomore Jensen Barton penciled in as starters from last season, sophomore outside hitter Addy Lofstedt started 16 of NAU’s 30 matches last year. Ploeg, first team All-Big Sky, ranked second in the conference with 3.58 kills per set, while Kemper, second team All-Big Sky, averaged a career-best 2.66 kills per set.
The Mocs wrap up the weekend later that evening at 8 p.m. against hosting Houston Baptist in the last match of the tournament. A 15-18 team in the previous year, HBU finished at .500 in the Southland Conference.
The Huskies return sophomore setter Kayla Armer who was named to the 2014 Southland Conference Preseason Team last week. She led the conference with 1,331 assists as a freshman. Armer started all 33 matches in 2013 and posted 12 double-doubles. She also ranked third on the team with 2.23 digs per set.
Live stats are available for each match, and video is available for Saturday's HBU match.
Chattanooga returns to Maclellan Gym Tuesday to host its first match of the season. The Mocs welcome Kennesaw State to the Scenic City for a 6 p.m. matchup.