Volleyball Hosts Maryland in Season Opener Tonight at 7:30 PM
Aug. 24, 2012
VILLANOVA, Pa. - By this point in the season t he Villanova volleyball team is often counting frequent flier miles already. For the first time in 12 years the Wildcats are opening the season at home and tonight at 7:30 p.m. Villanova gets underway with a match against Maryland, the first of three contests for the Wildcats in their home tournament this weekend. Villanova also faces Robert Morris and New Hampshire on Saturday evening at 5:30 p.m. and 8 p.m., respectively.
The timing is perfect for the Wildcats to play their first matches of the season at home. Jake Nevin Field House underwent extensive renovations during the winter and this weekend's tournament is the first official competition on the building's new playing surface.
A new court specifically designed for volleyball was the focal point of upgrades that were completed in January and also included installation of a new scoreboard and enhancements to the building's sound system.
"Our players were really excited when they saw the renovations taking place over the winter and now we can't wait to play our first official match on the new court," head coach Josh Steinbach said. When we play at home we get great support from students on campus and our home fans. I am looking forward to seeing a nice crowd come out for the tournament this weekend."
A playing court designed for volleyball is not the only new look that fans will see this weekend. The home team playing on the court will be a Villanova squad that is reloaded from last season and stocked with a great deal of talent everywhere on the floor. Gone are seven graduating seniors who were the core of the team from the very beginning of their time on campus. Returning are eight players from the 2011 season and joining them are seven freshmen who should form the next great class of Wildcats. The mix between the eight returning players and the newcomers is one that Steinbach has been happy with.
"This is the first time in a few years that we began preseason and the team looked very different from the previous year," Steinbach said. "Preseason has been very good but I am looking forward to playing against another team to really see where we are at."
Villanova has played Maryland in each of the past three seasons and in three different locations. Last year the Wildcats opened the season with a win over the Terrapins at the Tennessee Invitational and in the two years prior Villanova won matches at home and in College Park, respectively. The other opponents this weekend will be far less familiar. The only previous meeting between the Wildcats and Robert Morris was in 1981, while the match against New Hampshire will be the first-ever in volleyball between the two schools.
All three Villanova matches this weekend will be broadcast live on Nova Nation All-Access with streaming video and audio available. Veteran play-by-play man Nick Mantegna is back for his 10th season on the call and the live broadcasts can be accessed via the links at the top of this release.