JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (June 26, 2013) – Preseason tournaments at Wake Forest, Kentucky and Tennessee along with 10 home matches await the reigning Atlantic Sun champion ETSU volleyball team as head coach Lindsey Devine announced the 2013 Buccaneer schedule on Wednesday afternoon.
Overall, the Blue and Gold – who are coming off their first-ever NCAA Tournament appearance in 2012 – face a tough start as four of ETSU’s first ten opponents advanced to the NCAAs a year ago.
ETSU begins the season with a trip to Wake Forest for the Deacon Invitational as the Bucs open the campaign against UNC Greensboro on Aug. 30. The Bucs will also take on the host Demon Deacons and Conference USA foe East Carolina on Aug. 31.
From there, the Blue and Gold take on their second Southern Conference opponent of the year when ETSU hosts Furman in its home opener on Tuesday, Sept. 3. The Paladins finished third in the SoCon South after recording 24 wins in 2012.
Following their lone home match in the month of September, the Bucs wrap up the preseason tournament portion of the schedule with visits to familiar destinations. First, ETSU heads back to Lexington, Ky. – the site of its 2012 NCAA Tournament appearance – as the Blue and Gold face Liberty, VCU and Kentucky in the Kentucky Classic on Sept. 6-7. Liberty advanced to the NCAA Tournament last season, while the Bucs and Wildcats square off in a rematch of their postseason showdown on Sept. 7 inside Memorial Coliseum.
The Bucs conclude tournament play the next weekend in Knoxville as ETSU plays four matches in a three-day span from Sept. 12-14. While in Knoxville, the Blue and Gold face two more 2012 NCAA Tournament participants in Wichita State (9/13) and Tennessee (9/14), along with seeing VCU for the second straight weekend and taking on in-state rival Austin Peay for the fourth consecutive season.
After closing out non-conference play in Knoxville, the Bucs turn their attention to A-Sun competition for the remainder of the season, beginning with five straight road matches to start the slate. ETSU heads to Georgia to take on Mercer and Kennesaw State the weekend of Sept. 20-21, while also making trips to USC Upstate (9/26), Northern Kentucky (Oct. 4) and conference rival Lipscomb (Oct. 5).
ETSU then returns to Brooks Gym for the first time in over a month to host Stetson and reigning regular season champion Florida Gulf Coast the weekend of Oct. 11-12, but the Blue and Gold quickly turn back around and make the trek to the Sunshine State for a pair of conference matches in Jacksonville. The Bucs play at Jacksonville on Oct. 18, while a rematch of the A-Sun title game takes place the following day at North Florida.
Fortunately, after playing 17 of its first 20 matches on the road, ETSU closes out the second half of the season by playing seven of the final nine regular season games in Brooks Gym. The Blue and Gold enjoy a week at home as ETSU hosts Mercer (Oct. 22), USC Upstate (Oct. 25) and Kennesaw State (Oct. 29) to close out the month, while the Bucs’ final road trip takes them back to Florida to square off with FGCU (Nov. 1) and Stetson (Nov. 2). ETSU wraps up the season with four straight home matches against Lipscomb, Northern Kentucky, North Florida and Jacksonville.
The A-Sun Tournament will be held 21-23, as the top six teams will compete for the league’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. The conference tournament site has yet to be determined.
For more information on Buccaneer volleyball, visit ETSUBucs.com and click on the volleyball link.