We’re just 30 days away from the start of the season! As you may have noticed from the sidebar, the site has been updated with information for 2018. To kickstart the final month of the offseason, here are a few things of interest I noticed while getting the schedule, roster, and SEC pages ready.
Make sure to always check the schedule before heading to a game this year. Match times are all over the map!
Friday home games start at 6:30, 7:00, 7:30, and 8:00. Sunday home games start at 1:30, except for a 5:00 outlier. UT has three Wednesday matches at home, and all three start at different times – 5:00, 7:00, and 8:00! Tennessee ends the regular season on a Saturday at 3:00.
While there are ten weekends of SEC play, the Lady Vols will only have a single conference match on Friday at home this year. TV dictates a lot of these time and date changes, of course. But I’m personally a bit bummed about only getting one Friday night of volleyball in Knoxville over the last ten weeks of the season.
Tennessee will have four instate players on the roster this year. In only five other seasons since 1980 has the program had so much local talent: 1980, 1981, 2010, 2011, and 2012. The team made the AIAW Regional Championship in that first year and the NCAA Tournament in every one of those other years. And two of UT’s five SEC Championships came during those seasons as well.
In addition to the other people I’ve already mentioned having left the squad, Olivia Schwamberger is not listed on the roster.
Madison Coulter, a six-rotation player and one of only five players to take over 400 swings last season, is now listed as a defensive specialist. Not counting libero Brooke Schumacher, Coulter had the second most digs in 2017.
The conference will welcome four new head coaches this year: Eve Rackham here at Tennessee, Tom Mendoza at South Carolina, Julie Darty at Mississippi State, and Laura “Bird” Kuhn at Texas A&M.
In addition, coaches at Georgia, Arkansas, and Mississippi are in their second, third, and fifth seasons in the league. Meaning over half the SEC has had coaching turnovers in the past five years!