Volleyball kicks off season in AU Classic
Eagles host Michigan St., Loyola, San Diego in Bender
The AU Volleyball team lost all three matches this past weekend against Arizona, New Mexico St. and the University of California-Santa Barbara at the Arizona Classic in Tempe, Ariz.
The Eagles lost 3-1 to UCSB and lost 3-0 to both New Mexico St. and Arizona. The losses dropped their record to 2-7 as they look forward to the AU Classic this weekend at Bender Arena.
"We need to put this behind us and get ready for this weekend," said Head Coach Barry Goldberg. "We didn't get as much contribution in the last two games [against New Mexico St. and Arizona] and that has to change."
The Arizona Classic was just another early-season test for the Eagles, who have played a mentally and physically demanding schedule, facing teams such as third-ranked Florida, No. 9 Penn St. and national powers such as Arizona, Rutgers and Pittsburgh.
"We've played a tough early schedule and hopefully we can keep our heads going into the Patriot League season," Goldberg said.
This weekend's AU Classic will provide AU with its final tune-up before the league season, which starts Sept. 25 against Lehigh.
Coming to town for AU's annual kickoff tournament are Michigan St., Loyola (Md.) and San Diego.
"[Michigan State] is probably tougher than any team we faced in Arizona, Loyola is a lot like the Patriot League's best teams and San Diego will be a good test for us," Goldberg said.
AU kicks off Friday at 7 p.m. against San Diego and then Saturday at 11 a.m. against Loyola in two winnable games for the two-time defending PL champs.
The AU Classic concludes Saturday night in a primetime showdown between the Eagles and Michigan St. at 7:30 p.m.
"This weekend, I'm looking for steady play and for solid matches," Goldberg said.
If the Eagles put up a strong showing, they can throw their 2-7 record out the window and enter the PL season with a full head of steam and prepared to three peat.
This year's squad is anchored by senior superstar Karla Kucerkova, juniors Cathy Fluegeman and Courtney Mulford, as well as young gun Jamie Lardner, who will try to right the Eagles' ship this weekend.
Goldberg's squad enters with an un-Eagles like record of 2-7; however, with the hellacious early-season schedule they have played, the Eagles have positioned themselves for a strong league season.
But before they can start that league test, their next major obstacle comes in the form of this weekend's AU Classic.