AUBURN, AL (WBRC) - The following is from the Auburn University Athletics Department:
The Auburn Tigers open their 44th season of intercollegiate volleyball and the fifth season under head coach Rick Nold this weekend as they host the War Eagle Invitational Friday and Saturday at Auburn Arena.
The Tigers play host to Stephen F. Austin in the opener at 7 p.m. Friday, followed by matches Saturday against Jacksonville at noon and Samford at 7:30 p.m. Admission is free to all home Auburn volleyball matches.
Friday will feature a Student Welcome Back Tailgate with free hot dogs, chips and drinks for students while supplies last. In addition, the first 250 fans receive an Auburn Volleyball bottle opener. Saturday's noon match vs. Jacksonville will have free pancakes for students while supplies last.
"We're ready to play," Nold said. "It's been a really good preseason, probably the best since I've been here in terms of the competitiveness in the gym. But we're definitely to the point where we want to see someone else on the other side of the net.
"This will be a great tournament for us. Stephen F. Austin won 24 games last year and return quite a bit of their lineup, so we expect them to have good balance and be a really strong team. Both Samford and Jacksonville went to the NCAA Tournament last year. That's what we wanted out of our schedule - quality opponents that could come in and challenge us."
All three Auburn matches will be broadcast live via SEC Network + with Ben Taylor and Kathia Rud calling the action. SEC Network + broadcasts are available via WatchESPN.com or the WatchESPN app on mobile devices. Live stats for all six matches will be available via AuburnTigers.com.
Friday, Aug. 28
4 p.m. – Samford vs. Jacksonville
7 p.m. – Auburn vs. Stephen F. Austin
Saturday, Aug. 29
9:30 a.m. – Samford vs. Stephen F. Austin
Noon – Auburn vs. Jacksonville
5 p.m. – Jacksonville vs. Stephen F. Austin
7:30 p.m. – Auburn vs. Samford
--Auburn enters the 2015 season with an all-time record of 588-589-4 (.499) through 43 full seasons of volleyball. The Tigers hold a 151-284 record in SEC play.
--The Tigers finished 13-18 overall in 2014, 5-13 in SEC play, tying for 10th in the SEC.
--Head Coach Rick Nold is 60-61 entering his fifth season on the Plains; through four seasons he is already the fourth-winningest coach in Auburn volleyball history.
--Auburn returns all six starters plus libero and 11 of 12 letterwinners from its 2014 team. --The Tigers welcome five newcomers to their roster for 2015.
--In 2014, the Tigers won eight matches on their home floor for the third-straight season.
--All 12 players on Auburn's 2014 roster recorded at least one start last season.
--Auburn is 11-3 in non-conference home matches under head coach Rick Nold, including a 5-2 mark in games played at Auburn Arena. Auburn's overall non-conference record under Nold is 32-13.