Dayton, Tenn. – Bryan College Head Volleyball Coach, Jessica Day, has announced the 2017 Lions Volleyball schedule, which is slated to have their preseason begin on Aug. 23 by hosting NCCAA foe Bob Jones University (S.C.) for a scrimmage and remain home for the annual Bryan Bash Volleyball Tournament, which will showcase talent from The Sun Conference, River States Conference, Mid-South Conference, Southern States Athletic Conference, and Appalachian Athletic Conference. The preseason tournament is a two-day event that runs Aug. 25-26, with the first game on Friday scheduled for 10am between Bryan and Southeastern University (Fla.). The Lions follow with a meeting against Bethel University (Tenn.) mid-day at 2pm, and see their first action on Saturday at noon with Asbury University (Ky.). Bryan's last match of the Bash will be at 4pm versus the University of Pikeville (Ky.).
The Lion's schedule consists of 24 matches, with 10 taking place at home and 14 on the road. Bryan will travel to University of the Cumberlands (Ky.) and face-off with the Patriots at 7pm for the season opener and three days later spend Sept. 1-2 at the home of the 2016 Mid-South Conference champions, Lindsey Wilson College (Ky.). After the NAIA Southeastern Challenge debut last season at fellow AAC school, Union College (Ky.), the Blue Raiders have been selected to host the event this year. All teams in attendance will compete in two matches each day. The Lions take the court on Friday with Webber International University (Fla.) at 10am and get a break until 4pm where they go head-to-head with the Tigers of Georgetown College (Ky.). Bryan and Martin Methodist College (Tenn.) have a match on Saturday at 10am, before the Lions close out their time at the Challenge with Bethel University at 12pm.
Webber International will be the first team that Bryan is challenged by that either received votes or ranked in the top-25 in the 2016 postseason poll. Webber received votes, Georgetown finished 22nd, and Union received votes but the Lions will not see the reigning AAC regular season and tournament champs, the Bulldogs, until Sept. 26. The 2017 Tachikara-NAIA Volleyball Coaches' Top-25 Preseason Poll will be released mid-August.
As September rolls around, so does conference play for the Lions as they travel next door to Athens, Tenn. on Sept. 7 where Bryan and Tennessee Wesleyan University will rally at 6:30pm. The Lions return to Summers Gymnasium for a two-game home stretch on the 8th against the University of the Cumberlands for their home opener and then on the 12th against conference opponent, Montreat College (N.C.). AAC play continues on the 15th for Bryan as they visit St. Andrews University (N.C.) and again on the 19th at Milligan College (Tenn.). The 22nd and 23rd the Lions play host to a pair of conference matches with Allen University (S.C.) and Columbia College (S.C.). Bryan and conference rival, Union, look to silence each other on the 26th as the Bulldogs get the home-court advantage. The Lion's have their second meeting with Tennessee Wesleyan on the 3rd, this time at home, as Bryan sees the Bulldogs for their first match of October. The next three clashes are conference games at Point University (Ga.) on the 6th, Reinhardt University on the 7th, and Bluefield College (Va.) on the 10th. The Lions close out the regular-season with five home contests before ending the year in Lebanon, Tenn. at Mid-South Conference opponent, Cumberland University, on Oct. 28. The final home games are with conference schools Milligan the 12th, Union the 17th, Brenau University (Ga.) the 20th, Truett McConnell University the 21st, and Senior Day set for the 24th at 6:30pm with Bluefield.
"We have two big tournaments that will challenge us early," said Bryan Volleyball Head Coach, Jessica Day. "The Bash gives us the opportunity to see our play at home against skilled teams like Asbury, and then we follow it with the Southeastern Challenge at Lindsey Wilson over Labor Day weekend where we will compete with the top-3 teams in four different conference across the southeast."
The Lions have several out-of-conference matches that will be trying, and the AAC has proven to produce high-caliber teams that can cause problems. Day mentioned, "University of the Cumberlands and Cumberland University will be matches to pay close attention to, and so will our meetings with our conference foes Union, Milligan, and St. Andrews who locked in the top-3 spots in the AAC last season."
Despite losing a few Lions, Bryan will be welcoming many new and talented faces to the group. "I'm really looking forward to this upcoming season," Day explained. "We have a great group of girls coming in to help fill in the places we lost, and the team is prepared to compete and work hard to be the best they can be and battle for top positioning in the conference."
Coach Day, in her first season at the helm of the program, helped guide the Lions to an 18-19 overall record and notable 13-9 record in conference play during their 2016 campaign. Their efforts were good enough for a fourth-place finish in the AAC.
To view the full 2017 volleyball schedule, click here.