Outlook: Golden Eagle volleyball team prepares for 2011 season

COOKEVILLE, Tenn. -- With a handful of days into its preseason camp, the Tennessee Tech volleyball team is already starting to make strides towards becoming a team to be reckoned with in the Ohio Valley Conference.

Heading into the 2011 season, TTU head coach John Blair has assembled a team of eight returnees from the 2010 season and seven incoming freshmen. Despite the Golden Eagles level of experience, there have been promising signs for the upcoming season.

“Things are going well,” Blair said. “The players are learning the system very quickly and there is a good level of communication between the players and we have seen significant progress as a result.”

Of the eight returnees, three players have been recognized by the OVC during the past year including junior Kelsey Gray, who was named to the Preseason all-OVC Team. Sophomores Allison May and Natalie Penrod have also earned OVC accolades, being named to the all-OVC Newcomer Team last season.

“All of our returnees are providing leadership for us so far,” Blair said. “Each one of them knows what is expected of them.”

Tech’s seven new additions have also made their presence felt, with their quick grasp of the system.

“The newcomers are fitting in keenly,” Blair said. “They have come to understand our system, without much instruction, and have accomplished a lot during this short span.”

The Golden Eagles kick off their 2011 campaign Aug. 26, as they take part in the first of three non-conference tournaments, beginning with Louisville, at the Georgia Tech Invitational.

TTU opens OVC play Sept. 13 against Jacksonville State, and welcomes in UT Martin for its first home match of the season on Sept. 16.