NCAA volleyball: UTA, App State, Clemson postpone again, 2 Big 12 matches on tap

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NCAA volleyball 10/1/2020
Syracuse's Elena Karakasi, left, and Marina Markova put up the block against Pittsburgh's Kayla Lund last weekend/Michael J. Okoniewski photo

Texas-Arlington is going nowhere. 

Again. 

The Mavs have yet to play any of their previously scheduled five matches.

Same for App State, also 0-for-5 in matches attempted.

Clemson? 

Hunkered down. Again.

Accordingly, Florida State is all dressed up with nowhere to go or anyone to play.

Syracuse, which came in at No. 5 in the first AVCA poll, is ranked for the first time. 

Granted, the SEC hasn’t started and the Big Ten and Pac-12 are sitting this fall out, but the Orange did beat Pittsburgh twice last weekend.

The Pac-12 launched a diversity mentorship program to try “to strengthen the pool of minority candidates for collegiate head and assistant coaching positions in NCAA Division I women’s volleyball.”

And there are six more NCAA Division I volleyball matches Thursday, including two in the Big 12. 

The schedule — First the Thursday matches — or lack thereof — with links to TV, streaming or live stats available on our listing post at VolleyballMag.com.

Kansas State, which split two matches with Iowa State last weekend, plays at West Virginia, which split at Texas Tech, at 7 p.m. Eastern on ESPNU.

Kansas, which split with Baylor last weekend, goes to Texas, which took two at Oklahoma. That one is on the Longhorn Network.

In the Sun Belt, Georgia Southern goes to Georgia State, and Troy goes to South Alabama. 

There is a Southern Conference match when The Citadel plays host to Mercer.

Postponements — Start with coach Michaela Franklin and her Clemson team, which last weekend postponed its two matches against Wake Forest. Now the Tigers, testing positive for coronavirus again, can’t make the trip for two matches at Florida State, where they were set to play Thursday and Friday.

“The decision was made out of an abundance of caution after a small number of individuals within the program tested positive for COVID-19 within the last two weeks,” Clemson said in a statement.

The Clemson-Wake matches have been rescheduled for October 29-20. The FSU matches have not been rescheduled.

Texas-Arlington was set to go to Arkansas State last weekend for three Sun Belt matches, but there were all postponed until October 16-17. And this weekend coach JT Wenger and team was planning on two more matches at Texas State, but … “The season-opening series between the two teams was originally postponed due to positive COVID-19 tests by Maverick team members.”

And App State and coach Matt Ginipro lost out on its season-opening Sun Belt series with Georgia Southern and Thursday and Friday were set to play at Coastal Carolina.

“App State and AppHealthCare (our local public health agency) have identified one active case of COVID-19 in a member of the Mountaineers volleyball team. The student is recovering in isolation. Contact tracing efforts have led to quarantine for other members of the team,” the school said in a news release.

“At this time, the Mountaineers do not have enough available players for the upcoming matches against Georgia Southern that were scheduled to open App State’s 2020 season.”
The Georgia Southern matches have been rescheduled to October 16-17.

For what it’s worth, App State’s football game at Louisiana was also postponed.

AVCA poll — With 28 of the 32 Division I conferences sitting the fall out, with a few exceptions, the poll is an opportunity for some newcomers, like Syracuse at No. 5 and and Texas State in at No. 15. Which is the last spot, by the way, since the poll was shortened by 10 spots this fall.

Two Big 12 teams — at least they played — are on top. Texas is No. 1 and got 19 first-place votes. Baylor, which lost its opener at Kansas, got the other first-place vote and is No. 1. Two SEC schools who have not played, Kentucky and Florida, are No. 3 and 4. Louisiana at 9-0 and Texas State at 8-1 did not make the top 15.

Click here to see the entire poll.

Pac-12 Diversity Mentorship — The conference news release:

The purpose of the Diversity Mentorship Program is to educate and prepare the next generation of minority coaches through access and hands-on experience with Pac-12 coaches, who recognize that there is a need for a more diverse coaching pool in the sport within the Conference and across the country.

“I am really excited about the opportunity the Pac-12 is getting ready to provide minority coaches,” said Arizona assistant coach Charita Stubbs. “This initiative will open the door for young coaches to be able to engage with a group of coaches to build a stronger network and give the next generation of leaders all the tools needed to be successful coaches. With advanced knowledge in practice planning, scouting, data analysis and community engagement, the future is bright in our industry.”

“We are passionate about collaborating with aspiring college coaches that can positively impact the lives of student-athletes,” added Oregon head coach Matt Ulmer. “We recognize that there is so much that we can learn from each other. We are excited to share our perspectives and experiences as well as receive different perspectives and experiences.”

Starting in January 2021, six mentees will be selected for the program from an applicant pool to consist of minority graduating seniors or coaches who are early in their careers, passionate about coaching women’s volleyball, and interested in getting experience at the highest collegiate level, with special consideration given to student-athletes from Pac-12 schools or HBCUs. Online applications will be available starting in October and accepted through Dec. 1.

Elements of the Diversity Mentorship Program will include seasonal trips to Pac-12 campuses for in-person training as well as regular meetings with assigned coaching staffs and program administrators, six live-lesson and discussion sessions with True North Sports’ leadership development, and AVCA membership and educational and diversity programming at the organization’s annual convention. The mentees will serve in non-coaching capacities, and all elements will be funded through Pac-12 coaching staffs as well as donations from friends of Pac-12 women’s volleyball programs.

“The goal of this year-long program is to not only identify diverse coaching candidates, but to provide the mentees with opportunities to develop relationships with every coaching staff in our Conference and to gain a greater understanding of being a Division I collegiate coach,” said Stanford head coach Kevin Hambly. “We feel the programming — visits to campus, monthly meeting opportunities, and partnering with the AVCA Diversity Award Program — will accomplish these goals and prepare the mentees to be coaches at the collegiate level.”

The Diversity Mentorship Program is the latest member-led initiative in the Pac-12 Conference’s efforts to promote social justice and combat racism, which since its creation in June has led to a series of student-athlete and coach anti-racism forums and men’s basketball coaches’ collective support of the McLendon Minority Leadership Initiative.

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