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Pioneers Head Northwest to Open 2020 Season

Pioneers Head Northwest to Open 2020 Season

GREENEVILLE, Tenn. --- The Tusculum University beach volleyball program embarks on its second season of competition this weekend (Feb. 28-29) at the 2nd Annual Principia Bash, held in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

The team will play matches on 16 days, including three tournaments, as part of the Pioneers' 2020 schedule. Tusculum will host three home events throughout the spring, with the season culminating at the AVCA Small College Championship in Florida.

Taking over the beach program in an interim role, women's volleyball head coach Danielle Marante will look to six freshman, eight returners, and four newcomers to lead the team to another year of success after finishing 10-15 in its inaugural season.

THIS WEEK

The Pioneers will travel to Fort Wayne, Indiana for the 2nd Annual Principia Bash, running from Feb. 28-29, to open the season once again. At last season's tournament, Tusculum went 3-1, sweeping its inaugural match over the hosting Panthers (5-0), while also taking down Stevenson (3-2). The Pioneers will see both teams for the second year at the event, while also facing Park (Mo.) and Bryant & Stratton (Wisc.) for the first time. The Park Pirates went 5-10 in their inaugural season, while the Bryant & Stratton Bobcats are set to begin competition this spring.

MEET THE TEAM

Among the 18 players on the Tusculum beach volleyball roster, nine states have representation: Alabama, Arizona, Illinois, Nevada, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas. The Pioneers have a base of eight returners along with 10 new arrivals to form the team.

Melissa Mazur is the veteran on the squad as a graduate student. The Chicago, Ill. native finished 2019 with a 14-10 mark, including a 14-9 record in the No. 1 pairs position. She spent the majority of the season partnered with fellow returner Haley Davis, compiling an 11-6 mark as the top seed.

Davis, a sophomore from Greenville, N.C., went 3-4 when not paired with Mazur, including a 3-3 record in the second flight.

Katelyn Weems, a senior from Chuckey, Tenn., earned seven wins on the year at the No. 5 spot. She spent nearly half of the season paired with Destiny Ramsey.

The sophomore Knoxville, Tenn. native Ramsey collected one win and five losses in 2019, all with Weems in the fifth slot.

Danika Chaney, the sophomore from Bluffton, S.C., collected a 2-5 mark in the fifth flight, while Skyellar Hall of Indian Trail, N.C. returns for her sophomore stint after a 9-15 year for the Pioneers.

Hanna Jean Johnson, the hometown junior, and Grace Roe, a sophomore from Mohawk, Tenn., played in a pair of exhibition matches together, dropping both to Coastal Carolina.

As for the newcomers to the team, senior Ashley Jones is familiar to the Tusculum campus as the Raleigh, N.C. native played volleyball for the Pioneers in 2016, alongside Mazur.

Reagan Dickens transferred in from Emory & Henry after playing the indoor season in 2018. The sophomore from Powell, Tenn. was a defensive specialist for the Wasps, totaling 40 digs, six assists, and three service aces for the year.

Emily Lawless, a sophomore from Clinton, Tenn., is entering her first collegiate season after transferring to Tusculum from the University of Tennessee.

Arizona Webb transferred in from Feather River College in Quincy, California. The Elko, Nev. native saw action in both beach seasons as a Golden Eagle. As a freshman, Webb played in the No. 5 flight and rose two spots to the third flight the next year.

Six freshmen will be looking to contribute for the Pioneers this year: Britney Shawel (Peoria, Ariz./Glendale Preparatory Academy), Stephanie Cho (Homer Glen, Ill./Chicago Christian HS), Mabry Ward (Argyle, Texas/Argyle HS), Emma Johnson (Helena, Ala./Helena HS), Gabby Rambo (Jonesborough, Tenn./David Crockett HS), and Maddie Bass (Norman, Okla./Norman North HS). Shawel also played indoor for Marante in the fall.

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"TUSCULUM WILL PREPARE STUDENT-ATHLETES TO BECOME PRINCIPLED LEADERS WHO ARE CONTRIBUTING CITIZENS AND CHAMPIONS IN LIFE BY INSTILLING THE HIGHEST VALUES OF CHARACTER, INTEGRITY, AND SPORTSMANSHIP."

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