Nashville, the hip Tennessee city known more for country music than anything else, is a big-time Southern sports city. To wit, it’s the home of the NFL’s Tennessee Titans and NHL’s Nashville Predators, and is a rotating site of the Southeastern Conference’s men’s and women’s basketball tournaments.
While the SEC school in town, Vanderbilt, doesn’t have a women’s volleyball team, Nashville boasts NCAA Division I programs in Lipscomb, Belmont, and Tennessee State, and Middle Tennessee, Tennessee Tech, and Austin Peay are a short drive away. There is a vibrant club-volleyball scene and it’s also the host of some girls club tournaments.
And now it will be the site for the new professional women’s volleyball venture by Athletes Unlimited.
In a nutshell, what AU is calling the only women’s pro indoor volleyball league will be conducted at the Nashville Municipal Auditorium February 26-April 4, 2021.
We first reported on the formation of the program when it was announced in April and what’s changed since then is the naming of the location and the commitment of a few more players, including USA national team member Karsta Lowe. Also on the list are former NCAA standouts Sherridan Atkinson, Tiffany Clark, Nia Grant, Cassidy Lichtman, Deja McClendon and Paige Tapp. The competition will include 40 players who play for six weeks, rotating captains and rosters each week. The player list also includes Olympian Jordan Larson.
“We are very excited to have the pro league here in Nashville,” veteran Lipscomb coach Brandon Rosenthal said. “Nashville itself is arguably one of the greatest cities in the country and a true destination city. This city has shown time and time again that it’s capable of putting on world class events whether it’s music, culinary, or sport.”
The organizers are hoping to attract fans to the matches, but that, of course, will depend on what the coronavirus situation is like in six months.
“The volleyball community has exploded over the past 10 years here in Nashville,” Rosenthal said, “and it will be exciting to meld all that the city brings and the excitement of the game of volleyball together.”
AU Sports is partnering with USA Volleyball. Click here to read more from USAV.
Georgetown promotes Heller — David Heller, who served as an assistant last season, was promoted to head coach. He replaces Toby Rens, who was there for two seasons. Last fall, Georgetown finished 13-19, 3-15 in the Big East.
Heller is the former head men’s coach at Mount Olive, a Division II program in North Carolina, and was an assistant with the women’s team.
ESPNU and sisters — The sports network is planning a big Sunday on National Sisters Day and will will spotlight some of the most talented and memorable sisters in recent college sports history all day.
At 2:30 p.m. Eastern, the 2019 NCAA beach national-championship match between UCLA and USC features the McNamara twins, Megan and Nicole.
The show about NCAA indoor volleyball airs at 4:30 p.m with the 2019 Northern Iowa-at-Texas season-opening match, which featured Sydney and Baylee Peterson, whose mother is the longtime coach at Northern Iowa. Sydney is a libero at Texas and Baylee is a DS for her mom.
High schools, who’s in, who’s out — Thanks to USA Volleyball for providing the link. Here’s a list of states that are playing or not playing from the National Federation of State High School Associations. There are also links to other prep stories relating to coronavirus.
AAU nationals update — Sports Travel Magazine has an account of how the city of Orlando, the AAU and the OCCC pulled off such a huge event. It’s an interesting read but begs a mid-August follow story in which every out-of-town club is canvassed to see who stayed unscathed and who caught the coronavirus.