RUSSELLVILLE, AR (ATU) – Arkansas Tech University Head Volleyball Coach Kristy Bayer announced her team's 2011 season schedule on Thursday.
Bayer, who is entering her eighth season at the helm of the Golden Suns Volleyball program, has her squad playing 36 matches, including its annual LaQuinta Inn/Arkansas Tech Classic tournament at Tucker Coliseum in October and playing in three more in-season tournaments at Rockhurst, Alabama-Huntsville and at Texas Woman's University and 16 matches in the Great American Conference, which is the new conference Tech will be begin playing in this fall.
"With volleyball being a fall sport, we have the opportunity to be the first sports program at Tech to compete in an inaugural GAC (Great American Conference) schedule," Bayer said. "We are looking forward to old rivalries, new traditions and striving towards a strong GAC showing in our first year."
The Golden Suns, who return four starters and 12 letterwinners from last season's 31-5 squad that won its second Gulf South Conference West Division title in the last three years and also advanced to the second round of the GSC Tournament for the first time since 2001, are playing 16 of its 36 matches at home in Tucker Coliseum, where Tech has won seven straight matches dating to last season's three-set loss to Christian Brothers. Tech finished 14-1 at home last season and over the past three seasons, the Golden Suns have compiled a 44-6 at home.
"Not only will be having quality opponents visiting Tucker Coliseum for our GAC matches, we are also hosting the LaQuinta Inn Classic in October," the Tech coach added.
Tech will open its 2011 season by playing four matches in two days at the Rockhurst University Volleyball Classic in Kansas City, Mo., on Sept. 2-3. Tech will open the season against William Jewell on Friday, Sept. 2 at 11 a.m., before facing Colorado State-Pueblo at 3 p.m. On Saturday, Sept. 3, the Golden Suns will face Rockhurst at 11 a.m. and conclude the tournament at 3 p.m. against the University of Mary.
Following the tournament at Rockhurst, Tech will remain on the road for another tournament on Sept. 9-10 at the University of Alabama in Huntsville. Tech will open the UAH Tournament at 10 a.m. on Sept. 9 against West Georgia, before facing Cedarville University at 12 p.m. On Saturday, Sept. 10, Tech will conclude the tournament against Christian Brothers at 11 a.m. and then face the home team, UAH at 1 p.m.
"Our preseason schedule is packed with regional competition. It will be important for us to be sharp at the beginning of the year, because any missteps could have consequences at the end of the year in the regional rankings," said Bayer, who enters the 2011 season as the all-time winningest volleyball coach in school history with 166 victories.
After playing two in-season tournaments to open the 2011 season, Tech will open its 16-match GAC schedule on Tuesday, Sept. 13 at Ouachita Baptist at 7 p.m., before opening the home portion of its 2011 schedule on Thursday, Sept. 15 with another GAC match against Henderson State at 7 p.m. Tech will then host Bacone College in a doubleheader on Saturday, Sept. 17 beginning at 1 p.m. After facing Bacone, Tech returns to the road for a 7 p.m. GAC match on Sept. 20 at Southern Arkansas.
The Golden Suns will then conclude the month with 7 p.m. GAC home matches against Arkansas-Monticello (Sept. 22), East Central (Sept. 27) and Harding (Sept. 29), before closing the month on Sept. 30 with matches against Texas A&M-International and at Texas Woman's University at the Holiday Inn Express Volleyball Classic in Denton, Texas.
Tech will open the month of October by facing Texas A&M-Commerce at 9:30 a.m. and Arkansas-Fort Smith at 6:30 p.m. on the final day of the Holiday Inn Express Classic on Oct. 1. The Golden Suns will then return home to face Lyon College and Central Baptist on Monday, Oct. 3 at 3 and 7 p.m. respectively, before returning to the road to face Southeastern Oklahoma on Oct. 6 and Southwestern Oklahoma on Oct. 7 in GAC matches.
After the two games in Oklahoma, Tech will return home to face Ouachita Baptist on Tuesday, Oct. 11 and then travel to Arkadelphia, Ark., to face Henderson State on Thursday, Oct. 13, before hosting its annual LaQuinta Inn/Arkansas Tech Classic at Tucker Coliseum on Oct. 14-15. Tech will face Lindenwood at 1 p.m. and Truman State at 5 p.m. on Oct. 14 and will conclude its annual tournament on Oct. 15 against Palm Beach Atlantic at 11 a.m. and Sioux Falls at 5 p.m.
"The LaQuinta Inn Classic will be one of the toughest tournaments we have ever hosted here at Tech as we are bringing teams in from all over the country," Bayer said.
Following its final in-season tournament of the season, the Golden Suns will remain home to face Southern Arkansas on Oct. 18 at 7 p.m., before concluding the month with road matches at Arkansas-Monticello (Oct. 20), East Central (Oct. 25) and Harding (Oct. 27).
Tech will conclude the regular season on Nov. 3 and 4 by hosting Southeastern Oklahoma and Southwestern Oklahoma at Tucker Coliseum. Both of those matches will begin at 7 p.m. The 2011 GAC Volleyball season will conclude on Nov. 12-13 as eight of the nine teams will qualify for the GAC Volleyball Tournament, which will be held on the home court of the regular season champion.
2011 ARKANSAS TECH VOLLEYBALL SCHEDULE
Rockhurst University Volleyball Classic
2 (Fri) vs. William Jewell Kansas City, Mo. 11 a.m.
2 (Fri) vs. CSU-Pueblo Kansas City, Mo. 3 p.m.
3 (Sat) at Rockhurst Kansas City, Mo. 11 a.m.
3 (Sat) vs. University of Mary Kansas City, Mo. 3 p.m.
9 (Fri) vs. West Georgia Huntsville, Ala. 10 a.m.
9 (Fri) vs. Cedarville University Huntsville, Ala. 12 p.m.
10 (Sat) vs. Christian Brothers Huntsville, Ala. 11 a.m.
10 (Sat) at Alabama-Huntsville Huntsville, Ala. 1 p.m.
13 (Tues) * at Ouachita Baptist Arkadelphia, Ark. 7 p.m.
15 (Thurs) * HENDERSON STATE TUCKER COLISEUM 7 P.M.
17 (Sat) BACONE COLLEGE (DH) TUCKER COLISEUM 1 / 3 P.M.
20 (Tues) * at Southern Arkansas Magnolia, Ark. 7 p.m.
22 (Thurs) * ARKANSAS-MONTICELLO TUCKER COLISEUM 7 P.M.
27 (Tues) * EAST CENTERAL TUCKER COLISEUM 7 P.M.
29 (Thurs) * HARDING TUCKER COLISEUM 7 P.M.
Holiday Inn Express Volleyball Classic
30 (Fri) vs. TAMU-International Denton, Texas 4 p.m.
30 (Fri) at Texas Woman's Denton, Texas 7 p.m.
1 (Sat) vs. TAMU-Commerce Denton, Texas 9:30 a.m.
1 (Sat) vs. Arkansas-Fort Smith Denton, Texas 6:30 p.m.
3 (Mon) LYON COLLEGE TUCKER COLISEUM 3 P.M.
3 (Mon) CENTRAL BAPTIST TUCKER COLISEUM 7 P.M.
6 (Thurs) * at Southeastern Oklahoma Durant, Okla. 7 p.m.
7 (Fri) * at Southwestern Oklahoma Weatherford, Okla. 7 p.m.
11 (Tues) * OUACHITA BAPTIST TUCKER COLISEUM 7 P.M.
13 (Thurs) * at Henderson State Arkadelphia, Ark. 7 p.m.
LaQuinta Inn/Arkansas Tech Classic
14 (Fri) LINDENWOOD TUCKER COLISEUM 1 P.M.
14 (Fri) TRUMAN STATE TUCKER COLISEUM 5 P.M.
15 (Sat) PALM BEACH ATLANTIC TUCKER COLISEUM 11 A.M.
15 (Sat) SIOUX FALLS TUCKER COLISEUM 5 P.M.
18 (Tues) * SOUTHERN ARKANSAS TUCKER COLISEUM 7 P.M.
20 (Thurs) * at Arkansas-Monticello Monticello, Ark. 7 p.m.
25 (Tues) * at East Central Ada, Okla. 7 p.m.
27 (Thurs) * at Harding Searcy, Ark. 7 p.m.
3 (Thurs) * SE OKLAHOMA TUCKER COLISEUM 7 P.M.
4 (Fri) * SW OKLAHOMA TUCKER COLISEUM 7 P.M.
11-12 (Fri-Sat) GAC Tournament TBA (No. 1 seed) TBA
* - Great American Conference matches
All times are Central (CST) and subject to change