By Bob Hertzel
For the Times West Virginian
Most of West Virginia’s athletic teams are used to getting national television time, but this year the Mountaineers’ volleyball team will have its first-ever home match aired on a national network.
The meeting with Big 12 and NCAA champion Texas at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 23, will be aired live on ESPNU.
“We are excited to be a part of another program first for WVU volleyball this season with our program’s first televised match,” Coach Jill Kramer said in a release. “Joining the Big 12 Conference has certainly elevated the national exposure for our volleyball program, and this nationally televised match gives us yet another opportunity to showcase what the West Virginia University fan base is really like, as well as provide another historical event for our fans to enjoy.”
While WVU has not drawn well with a volleyball team that is in a rebuilding stage, they are hoping for a large turnout for this match.
“Last season, when we hosted Texas in our Big 12 debut, we broke our single-match attendance record by a landslide,” Kramer said. “We’d love to see that happen again as we host the 2012 NCAA defending national champions.”
Last season’s match was played in front of a school-record 3,112 fans at the WVU Coliseum in West Virginia’s first on-campus Big 12 sporting event.
This season, the Longhorns return the 2012 COBRA Magazine National Player of the Year and 2012 Big 12 Player of the Year in junior Haley Eckerman. Texas has won three women’s volleyball national championships.
The Mountaineers will be entering their second season in the Big 12 Conference in 2013, while also celebrating their 40th anniversary of WVU volleyball.
West Virginia will return all six starters, plus its libero this season. Setter Brittany Sample recorded the second-most assists for a freshman in program history, and libero Anna Panagiotakopoulos recorded the fourth-most digs for a freshman, despite missing six games.
A total of 710 student-athletes from 187 institutions were recognized for earning U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) All-Academic distinctions for their performances both in the classroom and in competition.
The six West Virginia student-athletes honored were Sarah Anne-Brault, Sydney Cummings, Jordan Hamric, Sarah Martinelli, Aubrey Moskal and Kelly Williams.
Both Williams and Moskal maintained a 4.0 cumulative grade point average, while majoring in journalism and biology, respectively. Hamric and Martinelli maintained a 3.82 and 3.72 GPA, respectively, with each majoring in exercise physiology. Brault held a 3.92 GPA, majoring in finance/economics, and Cummings posted a 3.32 GPA in child development.
Brault, Cummings, Hamric, Martinelli and Moskal all competed in the preliminary round of the NCAA Outdoor Championships in Greensboro, N.C. Hamric qualified for the finals and competed in the NCAA Outdoor Championships in Eugene, Ore.
Williams finished No. 17 overall in the 1,500-meter run of the preliminary round of the NCAA Indoor Championships.
The WVU marching band is planning its first Big 12 Conference road trip this football season and looking for financial support.
WVU alumni and friends are once again being asked to help the band travel this fall, including a trip to Norman, Okla., for the first away football game of the season Sept. 7 when the Mountaineers battle the Sooners.
The Pride Travel Fund, established by the WVU Foundation in 2007, is accepting donations to help defray 2013 travel costs for the Pride of West Virginia. Along with the Oklahoma trip, the band is planning to travel to Baltimore on Sept. 21 when the Mountaineers take on the University of Maryland at M&T Bank Stadium, home of the Baltimore Ravens.
“This is going to be an exciting season for the Pride,” said Jay Drury, the band’s director. “We’re really looking forward to making these trips to support our football team, and serving as ambassadors for our university, community and the state of West Virginia. But as in past years, we again are relying on private support to help us.”
Anyone interested in contributing to The Pride Travel Fund may do so by contacting the WVU Foundation (304-284-4000) or www.pridetravelfund.com.
Email Bob Hertzel at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @bhertzel.