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Volleyball schedule features three non-conference tournaments

View the complete 2013 schedule

By Erin Bean, TTU Sports Information

COOKEVILLE, Tenn. -- The Tennessee Tech volleyball team is under new direction in 2013, and the future looks bright. Head coach Dave Zelenock announced the team's upcoming schedule, featuring three tough, non-conference tournaments to prepare for Ohio Valley Conference action.

The Golden Eagles will kick-off their season at the Winthrop Invitational, August 30-31. Tech will face three opponents over two days. In the first match-up, Tech will face-off against host Winthrop before taking on Savannah State. Rounding out the matches will be Fordham. All three teams finished the 2012 season with similar RPI rankings as Tennessee Tech.

"These are teams that are in the ballpark," said Zelenock. "We'll be pretty competitive, and we tried to schedule teams that are on our level, but different styles. We tried to incorporate teams north and east of us, the same areas that the Ohio Valley Conference pulls from."

Tech will follow the trail to Ohio, to play in the Akron Invitational. The Zips will host Milwaukee, Niagara and Tennessee Tech. The four teams will pair off Sept. 6-7.

"The Mid-America Conference is a midwest conference, and will expose us to the midwest, gritty style of play that I'm familiar with," Zelenock said." Our team is making the transition to more aggressive play, and this tournament will push their boundaries."

Rounding out the non-conference schedule, the Golden Eagles will play closer to home at the Kennesaw Invitational, Sept. 13-14. Tech will face familiar foes Kennesaw and Samford, but will also take on Coastal Carolina and Stony Brook. Assistant Coach Claire Linder is no stranger to the competition. A 2006 graduate of Stony Brook, Lindner played for the Seawolves and became an assistant coach will obtaining her master's degree. She played four seasons as a libero and was named a team captain for her final two seasons and the team's MVP in 2006.

"I have high expectations for week three," added Zelenock. "By week three, everyone's starting to get their footing. We will hopefully have a clearer view of our starting rotation. These tournaments give the coaches a chance to see how the girls react to situations and the pressure of the game."

Tech will soar into the conference schedule at the end of September, beginning with home matches against Murray State (Sept. 27) and Austin Peay (Sept. 28). The Golden Eagles host eight home matches, all in conference play, with visits from Tennessee State (Oct. 11), Belmont (Oct. 12), Morehead State (Nov. 1), Eastern Kentucky (Nov. 2), Jacksonville State (Nov. 12) and Southeast Missouri (Nov. 16).

The match on Nov. 12 will provide fans a unique two-sport, doubleheader opportunity, combining the volleyball match with a men's basketball game.

Tech's schedule will reflect the 2012 season, with OVC teams competing in two divisions. The Golden Eagles will play in the East Division, facing each divisional opponent twice and foes from the West Division once each.

The conference tournament championship will be held Noveber 21-25 at the site of the regular season champion.