CULLOWHEE, N.C. - The Western Carolina volleyball team opens the 2015 season with the four-team two-day Catamount Volleyball Classic Friday, August 28 through Saturday, August 29.
Georgia State from the Sun Belt, Murray State from the OVC and Fresno State from the Mountain West make up the tournament field.
Fresno State and Murray State open play on Friday at 4 pm with WCU seeing its first action of the season at 6:30 pm against Georgia State.
Four matches are slated for Saturday with Georgia State and Fresno State kicking things off at 11 am. WCU and Murray State take the court at 1:30 pm followed by Georgia State and Murray State at 4:30 pm. The final match of the day will be Western Carolina versus Fresno State at 7 pm.
The Western Carolina volleyball tournament has gone through many names over the years. It originated as the Catamount Clash back in 2001 and was last played in 2008. It changed its name to the VB Rags Western Carolina Invitational from 2009-10 before taking a year hiatus in 2011 and coming back in 2012 as the WCU Invitational. The Catamounts hosted the WCU Invitational for two seasons before taking a break in 2014.
In the most recent WCU Invitational, the Catamounts went 3-1 with wins over Wright State, Boston College and USC Upstate in 2013. Their lone loss came in the final match of the tournament against UNC Asheville.
The Catamounts were nearly perfect at home a season ago finishing with a 9-1 mark inside the Ramsey Center. WCU said goodbye to a group of four seniors who started a total of 110 matches last season. The loss of 110 starts from a season ago is the largest loss by any program in the Southern Conference. WCU will look to its talented youth to fill the roles left by the departing seniors. The Catamounts have five sophomores and five freshmen on the 2015 roster who will be relied on to play crucial roles this season. Looking to lead the young squad is a group of three seniors who are ready to take on a leadership role. Elyssa Mulheron, Nicole Ford and Cristina Nazario are all four-year members of the Catamount volleyball program who have appeared in a combined 237 career matches.
The 2015 field of the Catamount Volleyball Classic features the defending OVC Champion Murray State who was picked to repeat as conference champs and returns all six starters from a season ago. Also in the field is Fresno State who like the Catamounts has a young squad with seven freshmen and just two seniors. The Bulldogs return three starters plus their libero from a season ago. The final team is Georgia State who like Murray State returns all six starters from last season. The Panthers have a balanced squad with seven upperclassmen and seven underclassmen.
All six matches of the 2015 Catamount Volleyball Classic will be streamed live on the SoCon Digital Network and admission to the event is free.