By Jocelyn VerVelde, TTU Sports Information Coordinator
COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – The Tennessee Tech volleyball team has to wait no longer -- its first opportunities to officially take the court takes place this weekend at the Winthrop Invitational when the Golden Eagles face host Winthrop, Savannah State and Fordham.
Tech will open the season with a 6 p.m. CDT match on Friday against host Winthrop, and will follow on Saturday with a 10 a.m. match against Savannah State and a 4:30 p.m. match versus Fordham.
Know your Golden Eagles (0-0) - Head coach Dave Zelenock opens his debut season with the reins of the Tennessee Tech volleyball team in his hands. After finishing 3-25 in 2012, the Golden Eagles, led by seniors Elise Robertson, Ashleigh Hancock, and Natalie Penrod, look to take a step forward during their final campaign. Hancock and freshman Sharon Anderson will compete for the starting setter role during the early season tournaments. Penrod leads the outside hitting corps and joining her are junior Ellen Conti, sophomore Audrey Lewis, and freshmen Irem Sile and Rachel Travis. Robertson heads the most experienced positions on the court in the middle blocker and right side spots. Juniors Madison Keyes and Christine Maci and sophomore Cody Dodd join Robertson in a set of positions that was key offensively and defensively last season. Redshirt junior Allison May and junior Courtney Smith both bring defensive expertise to the libero and defensive specialist positions. They are joined by freshman Kennedy Wade who adds depth to the position.
Scouting the Eagles (0-0) – Under new head coach Bruce Atkinson, the Winthrop Eagles are looking to improve upon their 14-16 finish in 2012. The Big South Conference member returns only one letterwinner and adds 14 newcomers, so look for youth to play a factor as they take on Tech for the first match of the season. This will be the fifth time that the Golden Eagles will face the Eagles, Winthrop leads the series 3-1.
Scouting the Lady Tigers (0-0) – The Savannah State Lady Tigers are looking to bounce back from a 0-34 record as head coach Jolanta Graham starts her first full season at the helm. The Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference member returns four starters and seven letterwinners who are sure to be hungry for improvement. This will be the first time the Golden Eagles will face the Lady Tigers.
Scouting the Rams (0-0) – The Fordham Rams finished with a 14-19 record in 2012 season, and look to improve in 2013 under new head coach Gini Ullery. A very defensive team in 2012, averaging 13.03 digs per game and 2.0 blocks per game, the Rams will be lead by eight seniors in their first-ever matchup with Tech.
All tournament information is available on the Winthrop Tournament Home Page, including live stats, results, and link for live video for the match versus Winthrop.