BLACKSBURG, Va. – The Virginia Tech volleyball team will open the 2013 season on Friday, Aug. 30 at 12:30 p.m. when it faces Towson on the first day of the Hokie Invitational in Blacksburg, Va.
Virginia Tech is hosting 10 matches over the weekend with five being played on Friday, followed by five on Saturday. In addition to Tech and Towson, No. 14 Michigan State, Saint Francis (Pa.) and Pacific are also participating in this year’s tournament. The opening match of the tournament will be at 10:30 a.m. on Friday between MSU and Saint Francis.
The Hokies return four starters and nine letterwinners from last year’s team that finished 16-14 overall. Junior middle blocker Victoria Hamsher was tabbed to the ACC preseason team while the Hokies were picked to finish seventh in an expanded, 15-team ACC. Also returning from the starting lineup last season are middle blocker/right side Kathryn Caine, setter Jordan Fish and outside hitter Samantha Gostling.
Virginia Tech also added six newcomers to the roster for 2013, including the PrepVolleyball National Senior Player of the Year in outside hitter Lindsey Owens as well as national player finalist and outside hitter Amanda McKinzie. Also joining the team this season are middle blocker Stacey Christy, outside hitter Katie Krueger, setter Kitija Megne and right side Ashley Battle.
Towson is under the direction of first year head coach Don Metil. The Tigers also welcome 10 newcomers to their 18-player roster for the 2013 season. Towson returns senior Dayane Van Ass, who ranked 10th in the CAA last year in kills per set, averaging 2.84.
This marks the fifth meeting between the two teams with the series tied at 2-2. Virginia Tech has claimed the previous two matches and won 3-0 (25-17, 25-18, 25-20) last season in Blacksburg.
Virginia Tech will face Saint Francis, Pacific and Michigan State for the first time in program history this weekend.
Pacific tallied a 20-11 record last season and return five starters for 2013, including all-conference honorees Gillian Howard, Kat Schultz, Megan Birch and Jennifer Sanders. Birch led the Tigers in kills during the 2012 campaign.
Saint Francis was selected to finish fifth in the NEC this season. The Red Flash ranked third in the NCAA last season in aces per set with 1.82. Hannah Kutny is the top returning attacker for SFU after averaging 2.21 kills per set last season to rank fourth on the team. Kayla Jeckell also returns after averaging 2.19 kps.
Michigan State enters this weekend ranked 14th in the AVCA coaches’ poll, as the Spartans return 10 letterwinners and all but one starter from the 2012 team that reached the NCAA Sweet 16. MSU was picked to finish fifth in the Big Ten and will be led by senior Lauren Wicinski who earned a nod to the preseason team. Wicinski along with Kori Moster both earned AVCA All-America honors last season.
Live Stats will be available for all matches on HokieSports.com.
Full Tournament Schedule
Friday, August 30
10:30 a.m. – #14 Michigan State vs. Saint Francis
12:30 p.m. – Virginia Tech vs. Towson
2:30 p.m. – Pacific vs. Saint Francis
5 p.m. – Towson vs. #14 Michigan State
7 p.m. – Virginia Tech vs. Pacific
Saturday, August 31
10:30 a.m. – Pacific vs. Towson
12:30 p.m. – Virginia Tech vs. Saint Francis
2:30 p.m. – #14 Michigan State vs. Pacific
5 p.m. – Saint Francis vs. Towson
7 p.m. – Virginia Tech vs. #14 Michigan State
For updates on Virginia Tech volleyball, follow the Hokies on Twitter (@VT_VBall).