Volleyball Kicks Off Year with D.C. Volleyball Challenge, 7th Annual Bender Blue Out Saturday Night

Volleyball Kicks Off Year with D.C. Volleyball Challenge, 7th Annual Bender Blue Out Saturday Night

The American University volleyball team opens its 2013 campaign with the D.C. Volleyball Challenge. The Eagles begin play in the tournament at George Mason on Friday, August 30 when it takes on Howard at 5 p.m. before returning to Bender Arena on Saturday, August 31 to face Georgetown at 11 a.m. and George Mason at 7 p.m. for the Seventh Annual Bender Blue Out.

The Eagles will be looking to break their own Washington, D.C. collegiate volleyball attendance record on Saturday night, a feat which has been accomplished five of the last six years. Last year, 2,483 fans packed Bender Arena for the event when the Eagles hosted Georgetown, smashing the previous record of 2,122 set in 2011. The Bender Blue Out has seen an average of 1,884 fans since its inaugural event in 2007.

The doors to Bender Arena open at 6 p.m. and all students with a valid AU ID will be admitted for free and treated to a free pregame fan fest with Coca-Cola products, Robeks smoothies, face painting and sign making. Saturday's game will also be the first chance for Blue Crew members to pick up their official 2013-14 Blue Crew t-shirts and membership ID cards.

American was selected first in the Patriot League Preseason Poll, the 12th time in 13 seasons the Eagles have been ranked in the top spot. American advanced to the Patriot League Championship match for the 12th straight year and finished with a 21-10 mark last season, going 11-3 in conference action.

The Eagles return 11 players from a year ago, including All-Patriot League First Team selection Morgan Hendrix. Hendrix set new single season program records for block assists (125) and blocks per game (1.34) and ranks second all-time with 146 total blocks in a single year. She posted a team-best .286 hitting percentage on the year, which ranked second in the conference. American also returns 2011 All-Patriot League First Team and All-Patriot League Second Team honorees Juliana Crum and Monika Smidova, respectively.

American's roster will be bolstered by the addition of two new faces, Megi Dervishi (MB/OH) and Julita Kurdziuk (RS).

The D.C. Volleyball Challenge will open on the campus of George Mason University in Fairfax, Va. on Friday, August 30 with the Eagles facing Howard at 5 p.m. and George Mason taking on Georgetown at 7 p.m. American returns to Bender Arena for its home opener on Saturday, August 31 at 11 a.m. against Georgetown before taking on George Mason for the Bender Blue Out at 7 p.m. Other games in the D.C. Volleyball Challenge include George Mason facing Howard at 1 p.m. and Georgetown playing the Bison at 5 p.m. American has taken home three D.C. Volleyball Challenge titles and is 10-7 all-time in the tournament. The Eagles claimed the title in 2010, 2008 and 2007.

Tickets are still available for single matches and the morning and afternoon sessions and can be purchased by clicking here. Fans can watch both of American's matches on Saturday live on Eagles Vision TV.