WASHINGTON – An American University volleyball team that returns seven starters and was a unanimous preseason choice to repeat as Patriot League champions opens its 2017 season on Friday when it hosts Santa Clara in the second match of the D.C. Volleyball Challenge.
The Eagles and Broncos will take to the Bender Arena Court following the tournament-opener, with Georgetown playing Howard at 5 p.m.
The Patriot League coaches and sports information contacts voted the Eagles as the preseason favorite in balloting announced earlier this week. AU had four players on the seven-member preseason all-league squad, including Preseason Player of the Year pick junior Aleksandra Kazala, senior Loren McKenzie, junior Kennedy Etheridge and sophomore Vela McBride.
American was 27-8 last season and earned a berth in the NCAA Tournament. The Eagles will receive their championship rings in a pregame ceremony prior to their match.
At intermission of the Eagles-Broncos match, American will celebrate the 20th anniversary of the 1997 Colonial Athletic Association championship, introducing the team members in an on-court ceremony.
The tournament will shift to Howard on Saturday for four matches. AU will play the host Bison at 10 a.m. and Georgetown at 5 p.m. in Burr Gym.
One ticket is good for both matches on Friday and can be purchased at the AU Athletics Box Office. Tickets are general admission and are $8 for adults and $5 for students. AU students are free with a valid student ID.