AKRON, Ohio -- The University of Akron volleyball team officially begins its 41st season of competition this weekend on the road when the Zips travel to Terre Haute, Ind. for the Indiana State Holiday Inn Classic Aug. 29-30. UA faces a doubleheader against Chicago State and host ISU on Friday, followed by a single match against North Carolina A&T on Saturday.
Date: Aug. 29-30
Location: Terre Haute, Ind.
Sites: ISU Arena (500)
The Series: Akron leads Chicago State, 2-0; Akron leads Indiana State, 4-0; First meeting with North Carolina A&T
Head Coaches: Ron Arenz (104-138 overall, 68-109 at UA); Dawn Barnes (first year as interim head coach at CSU); Traci Dahl-Skinner (57-126 overall and at ISU); Hal Clifton (12-81 overall and at NC A&T)
Akron Assistant Coaches: Jayme Plummer (Assistant Coach); Rachel Green (Assistant Coach)
Livestats: Chicago State match; Indiana State match; NC A&T match
Video Stream: None.
• Akron begins its 41st season of collegiate volleyball this weekend on the road at the Indiana State Holiday Inn Classic. The Zips will play a doubleheader on Friday against Chicago State (2:30 p.m. ET) and host ISU (7:30 p.m.), before a single match against NC A&T on Saturday at 10:30 a.m.
• Head coach Ron Arenz is in his seventh season at the helm and holds a 68-109 record leading the Zips.
• Akron was projected to finish sixth in the Mid-American Conference East Division by the league's head coaches after finishing with a 8-19 overall mark in 2013.
• UA holds a 23-17 record in season-openers since 1974.
• Akron returns 10 letterwinners including four starters from last season. Only three active players for the Zips carry more than one season of experience with the Blue and Gold, but all seven newcomers from last year return to add depth to the roster.
• Highlighting the returners is lone senior Mary Delich and junior Kelsey Wilson, who will both be a threat at the net for UA. Wilson finished second on the team last year with 242 kills and 2.44 kills per set, and led Akron with 67 total blocks. Ashley Holder starts the year off as the team's veteran setter, after leading the team with 550 assists in 2013 and ranking inside the top-10 in Mid-American Conference.
• Four newcomers join the squad for the 2014 campaign: Dragana Micic, (Jr.; OH; Ivanjica, Serbia); Madi Baer (Fr.; OH; Stow, Ohio); Aubrey Kozer (Fr.; DS; Norton, Ohio) and Anna Wenger (Fr.; OH; Landisville, Pa.)
• Assistant coach Rachel Green begins her first season on Arenz's staff. Green joins the Zips after spending the last year as head coach at Zeeland East High School in Zeeland, Mich. She guided Zeeland to a 25-12-5 record and the school's first conference tournament championship in 2013. She mentored three all-conference selections.
• Akron will play a single weekday match at Cleveland State on Tuesday, Sept. 2 at 7 p.m. The Zips are set to open their home slate next weekend when they host the Akron Invitational Sept. 5-6. Akron will take on Bryant (12:30 p.m.) and Binghamton (8 p.m.) on Friday, followed by a doubleheader against Drake (3 p.m.) and Austin Peay (8 p.m.) on Saturday.
SCOUTING CHICAGO STATE
• Chicago State was picked to finish eighth in the Western Athletic Conference this season. The Cougars posted a 2-29 overall mark and were 0-16 in the conference in 2013.
• Chicago State is led by Dawn Barnes, who is in her first season as interim head coach after serving as an assistant coach last year.
• Akron is 2-0 all-time against Chicago State. The Zips swept the Cougars in three sets during the 1990 season.
SCOUTING INDIANA STATE
• Indiana State was recently projected to finish ninth in the Missouri Valley Conference this season. The Sycamores went 13-17 overall and 6-12 in the league in 2013.
• ISU returns nine letterwinners, including four starters, from a year ago.
• Indiana State is coached by Traci Dahl-Skinner in her seventh season. She holds a 57-126 career record as a head coach. Dahl-Skinner shares an alma mater with Zips' head coach Ron Arenz, as she graduated from Long Beach State a year after Arenz in 1996.
• Leading the Sycamore attack are Bree Spangler, Cassandra Willis and Kyla Thomas, a trio that collected over 200 kills apiece in 2013. Willis and Thomas also dished out 90 and 91 blocks, respectively, last season.
• Akron is 4-0 all-time against Indiana State. The Zips edged ISU in five sets in its season opener last year.
SCOUTING NORTH CAROLINA A&T
• NC A&T was picked to finish second in the MEAC South Division after finishing in the same spot last year. The Aggies posted a 7-25 overall record and 6-4 league mark in 2013.
• NC A&T is led by Hal Clifton in his fourth season with the team. He is 12-81 overall as head coach of the Aggies.
• Junior Aleena McDaniel returns to lead the offense after tallying a team-high 280 kills last season. Liz Martino totaled 602 assists as a freshman setter, and middle blocker Te'Borah Hawkins-Hollingsworth led the squad with 58 total blocks.
• Saturday's match will be the first ever meeting between Akron and NC A&T.