Pioneers travel to Florida for AVCA Small College Championships this weekend

Pioneers travel to Florida for AVCA Small College Championships this weekend

GREENEVILLE, Tenn. --- The Tusculum University women's beach volleyball team will be competing this weekend at the AVCA Small College Championships.  The three-day event will be held this Friday, Saturday and Sunday at the Hickory Point Beach facilities in Tavares, Florida.

The Pioneers, who are playing in their inaugural campaign, have accounted for a solid start with a 7-11 record in the program's first season of competition.

Tusculum will open pool play with three matches on Friday.  The tournament field has been divided into three groups and Tusculum is the No. 3 seed in Pool C.  Tusculum will open Friday morning against Tampa at 9 a.m., followed by a 1 p.m. match with Colorado Mesa and a 3 p.m. contest against Pricipia College. 

The top-two schools from the three, four-team pools will advance to the Challenge Round while the other competing teams will be assigned matches on Saturday and Sunday.

Other programs competing this weekend include: Texas A&M-Kingsville, Spring Hill, Saint Leo, Florida Southern, Stevenson, Lincoln Memorial, Carson-Newman and Eckerd.

Tusculum's top-flight doubles team of Melissa Mazur and Haley Davis have accounted for a 7-4 record this season including wins their last five outings for head coach Ashton Hippenstiel.  The No. 5 tandem of Jordan Zaleski and Katelyn Weems have been victorious in four of their last five outings. 

"I feel like the biggest thing about this year and this team is the buy-in that came from them as a whole from the start of this first season, and the fact that every week we have improved as a program. To see that progress and the "want to" on a daily basis has been huge to me to see as a first year head coach starting a brand new program," said Hippenstiel. These girls have worked extremely hard and they get to put that hard work on display this weekend against other competition and I know they want to leave it all out on the court."