YOCUM ANNOUNCES CHALLENGING 2016 SKYHAWK VOLLEYBALL SCHEDULE
July 6, 2016
MARTIN, Tenn. – A total of 10 home matches and four first-time opponents highlight the 2016 University of Tennessee at Martin volleyball schedule, which has been released by second-year head coach Jaclynn Yocum.
This fall, the Skyhawks will face 10 teams who posted a winning record in 2015, including three NCAA Tournament participants (Northern Arizona, Arkansas State, Belmont). First time opponents on the 2016 schedule include Binghamton, South Carolina, Oklahoma and Tulsa.
“Our nonconference schedule will provide several tests for our girls,” Yocum said. “There are no easy opponents on our schedule so we have to be ready every time the ball goes up. Each of our four nonconference tournaments presents a different challenge. Our goal is to have this team battle-tested by the time Ohio Valley Conference play rolls around.”
Year Two of the Yocum Era at UT Martin will begin with a two-day CofC Invitational in Charleston, SC on Aug. 26-27. The Skyhawks open the tournament against host College of Charleston before taking on Binghamton and South Carolina.
UT Martin then will play four matches in the Little Rock Invitational on Sept. 2-3. The Skyhawks will go for their second straight win over Mississippi State before squaring off against Oklahoma, Arkansas-Pine Bluff and host Arkansas-Little Rock.
The 2016 home opener is part of a Labor Day tri-match on Monday, Sept. 5. The Skyhawks will take on Northern Arizona (28-5 last season) at 11 a.m. before hosting Alabama A&M at 7 p.m. In addition, Northern Arizona will play Alabama A&M at 4 p.m. at Skyhawk Fieldhouse.
“It was important for us to get an early home date in this year,” Yocum said. “Last season, we played our first 17 matches on the road so we are thankful for the opportunity to break up a lengthy road stretch this early in the schedule.”
Three matches in the stacked A-State Invitational field loom on Sept. 9-10, as UT Martin will play Tulsa and Central Arkansas on the first day before matching up against host Arkansas State (28-2 last year) on the final day.
The Skyhawks wrap up their nonconference slate at a tournament in Birmingham, Ala. on Sept. 16-17. UT Martin will be pitted against host UAB and in-state foe Memphis on Friday before concluding the tournament against Louisiana-Lafayette on Saturday.
OVC play starts the following weekend, as the Skyhawks open on the road at defending regular season champion Murray State (Sept. 23) and at Austin Peay (Sept. 24). A three-game homestand follows as UT Martin plays host to SIU Edwardsville, Eastern Illinois and Southeast Missouri in the span of five days.
A match at Tennessee Tech is scheduled for Oct. 8 before the Skyhawks return home for two more home matches in the middle of October. UT Martin will take on Tennessee State and defending OVC Tournament champion Belmont at Skyhawk Fieldhouse on Oct. 14 and Oct. 15, respectively.
UT Martin travels to Morehead State and Eastern Kentucky the following weekend before closing out October with home dates against Austin Peay (Oct. 28) and Murray State (Oct. 29). A trio of road matches (at Eastern Illinois, at SIU Edwardsville, at Southeast Missouri) opens the month of November before the regular-season finale against Jacksonville State on Nov. 11 at Skyhawk Fieldhouse.
For the 11th consecutive year, the OVC Tournament will be hosted by the league’s regular season champion. UT Martin will make a bid for its 13th appearance in the OVC Tournament, which will take place this year on Nov. 17-21.