The East Central University volleyball team will open the season with an exciting trip to Hawaii. The Lady Tigers will face Hawaii Hilo, Thursday, Sept. 5 at 2 p.m. (CST) and again Saturday, Sept. 7 at 11 a.m. (CST) at the University of Hawaii Hilo Gymnasium.
Fans who can’t be at the game can find links to live stats and live video (if available) on ECUTigers.com. Go to the volleyball schedule page.
Scouting Hawaii Hilo
The Vulcans opened their 2013 season, Aug. 29 and Aug. 31, with 3-0 wins over Alaska Fairbanks and Alaska Anchorage.
Hilo has a team hitting percentage of .293 (85-25-205) and is allowing its opponents to hit at just a .121 (66-41-207) pace. The Vulcans have also been strong at the net with 15.5 (1-29) total team blocks, while allowing 9.0 (1-16).
While Hilo has eight returners from a season ago, so far it has been three freshmen that have been leading the way. Rookie Marley Strand-Nicolaisen has a .307 (34-11-75) hitting percentage and six (1-5) blocks after two matches. Freshman Kyndra Trevino-Scott has four block assists and an impressive .704 (19-0-27) hitting percentage. Freshman Sienna Davis is the setter, with 58 assists and junior Callie Aberle is the team’s leading defensive player with 24 digs.
The meeting with the Vulcans is the first in school history. Hilo is one of three schools that the Lady Tigers will face for the first time in 2013, with Maryville and Wayland Baptist also on the schedule for the first time.
Picked to Finish Sixth
The Lady Tigers were picked to finish sixth in the GAC Pre-Season Coaches Poll. ECU earned 56 points in the poll, with Harding earning the top spot with 97 points and seven first-place votes. Arkansas Tech was second (93 points/four first-place votes), Southwestern third (78), Southern Nazarene fourth (69), Southern Arkansas fifth (65), Ouachita Baptist seventh (49), Southeastern eighth (35), Arkansas-Monticello ninth (31), and Henderson State and Northwestern tied for 10th (16).
The Lady Tiger return five of seven starters and have seven seniors on the 2013 roster. That experience means ECU will have depth at every position. The Lady Tigers have three returners at the outside hitter position in sophomore Sarah Simpson and senior starters Danielle Essix and Noelle Cope. Senior Sarah Nelson and sophomore Hayley Gerken both return as middle blockers and will be challenged by junior-college transfer Ashley Williams. The setter position will be filled by senior Jessica Wilkinson and red-shirt freshman Madison Seiler, while senior Taylor Brown moved from setter to Libero after the completion of the 2012 season.
Tiger/Savage Storm Classic
For the first time in program history the Lady Tigers will co-host a tournament at the Kerr Activities Center. The Tiger/Savage Storm Classic will be co-hosted with arch-rival Southeastern, with both schools hosting four matches Friday, Sept. 13 and Saturday, Sept. 14. Matches start at 11 a.m. each day, with the last match scheduled to start at 7 p.m. Admission for the tournament is $5 for the day at each location.
The Lady Tigers will return home to host the Tiger/Savage Storm Classic, Sept. 13-14. ECU will face Central Oklahoma (1 p.m.) and Maryville (7 p.m.), Sept. 13 and then Cameron (1 p.m.) and Mid-America Christian (7 p.m.) Sept. 14. Matches for the tournament start at 11 a.m. each day.