@ No. 12 Pittsburgh | Friday, August 30 | Pittsburgh, Pa. | 12:30 p.m.
vs. South Carolina | Saturday, August 31 | Pittsburgh, Pa. | 10:00 a.m.
vs. Cincinnati | Saturday, August 31 | Pittsburgh, Pa. | 4:00 p.m.
The Cleveland State volleyball team will open the 2019 season this weekend, traveling to Pittsburgh, Pa. for the Panther Challenge. This will mark the first of three preseason tournaments for the Vikings, and the start of an 11-match non-league slate. Cleveland State will open the weekend against No. 12 Pittsburgh (12:30 p.m.) on Friday, August 30, before taking on South Carolina (10:00 a.m.) and Cincinnati (4:00 p.m.) on Saturday, August 31.
CSU IN SEASON-OPENING TOURNAMENTS
Since the 2000 season when Chuck Voss took over the Cleveland State volleyball program, the Vikings have posted a 39-17 record in season-opening tournaments, including a 25-8 record over the last 10 years. Under Voss, the Vikings have captured six tournament titles during the first weekend of action - most recently claiming the CSU Invitational crown last season after going 3-0 during the opening weekend of play.
VIKINGS FACE TOUGH NON-LEAGUE SCHEDULE
Cleveland State will face one of its hardest non-league schedules in recent years during 2019, as the Vikings will face four teams that are ranked or receiving votes in the Preseason Top-25 poll, six teams that made a postseason appearance last year, and five teams that posted 20 or more wins a year ago. This weekend's Panther Challenge will feature three of these teams, as Pittsburgh enters the season ranked No. 12 and South Carolina and Cincinnati were both receiving votes in the preseason poll.
POSTSEASON HONOREES RETURN
The 2019 Vikings welcome back four Horizon League postseason honorees, as Trinniti Hall (First Team), Emily DeGeorge (Honorable Mention), Hannah Greene (Honorable Mention), and Christina Grecol (All-Freshman Team) were all honored last fall. DeGeorge enters the 2019 campaign as the only Viking to earn multiple #HLVB postseason honors, as she was also named to the All-Freshman Team in 2017.
VIKING DUO CLOSING IN ON 1,000 CAREER DIGS
Entering the 2019 campaign two Vikings are closing in on the 1,000-dig mark, as senior Jordan Verbiak has 805 career digs and junior Emily DeGeorge has 762 digs on her career. Verbiak and DeGeorge would become the 20th and 21st Vikings to reach the 1,000-dig plateau, while it would mark the fifth straight year that a Viking joined the 1K dig club.
GRECOL WITH THE ASSIST
After leading the Viking offense as a freshman last year, Christina Grecol returns for her sophomore season with 1,091 career helpers, and is just shy of a spot in the top-10 on the CSU Career Assists list. Grecol earned a spot on the All-Freshman Team after averaging 9.92 assists per set last season, and was the first rookie to lead the Viking offense since the 2008 campaign. As a freshman, Grecol posted 50+ assists during four matches, including a season-high 57-assist effort against UIC on October 26.
GREENE ON THE BLOCK
Junior Hannah Greene returns as Cleveland State's top blocker this year, after finishing the 2018 campaign at the top of the Horizon League standings averaging 1.51 blocks per set. Greene, who finished her sophomore season with 172 total blocks, ranked 10th nationally last season as one of three sophomores to rank in the top-10. Greene's 172 total blocks put her third on the CSU Single-Season top-10 list, while she enters the Panther Challenge with 208 career blocks.
As a team, the Vikings also finished the year at the top of the Horizon League standings averaging 2.84 blocks per set, while they ranked 10th among all Division I teams. For the 2018 season, Cleveland State posted 324 total blocks to rank third on the CSU Single-Season top-10 list. Cleveland State's middle hitter duo of Hannah Greene (172 total blocks) and Trinniti Hall (126) return as CSU's top blockers from a year ago.
HEAD COACH CHUCK VOSS
Chuck Voss is entering his 20th season at the helm of the Vikings, and owns a 354-215 (.622) overall record at Cleveland State. Under Voss the Vikings have recorded 16 winning seasons, including 10 straight entering the 2019 season. Cleveland State has eclipsed the 20-win mark eight times since Voss took over the program, and has captured Horizon League Tournament titles five times (2007, 2012, 2015, 2016 & 2017) under his guidance. During the 2016 season Voss became the all-time winningest coach in program history, and then last season became the only active Horizon League coach to reach the 350-win mark at their current school.
The Vikings will continue their preseason tournament lineup at Bowling Green next weekend, traveling West for the two-day tournament on Friday, September 6 and Saturday, September 7. Cleveland State will face Butler and Charlotte on the first day of the tournament, and will then take on the host Falcons on Saturday.