Lopes Volleyball Opens Season at Home

New-LCC-LOGOLCC plays doubleheaders Friday, Saturday

The Lamar Community College volleyball team will enjoy the comforts of home when the 2016 season begins with the Little Caesar’s Classic this weekend.

Eight teams, including the Runnin’ Lopes, will compete during the NJCAA’s opening weekend in the LCC Wellness CenterFriday and Saturday. All teams are scheduled for four matches across two days.

“We’re very happy to be able to begin this season in Lamar,” Lopes first-year head coach Dante Geoffrey said. “The girls have put in a lot of hard work this summer and through these first few weeks of preseason, and we’re grateful we get to open in front of our fans.”

The host Lopes open against Frank Phillips College at 11:00 a.m. Friday, and close the first day with a 5:00 p.m. match against Barton Community College.

Saturday’s action begins at 9 a.m., though the Lopes don’t take the court until 1 p.m.

Frank Phillips finished the 2015 season with a 36-6 record and was ranked No. 19 in the nation when it entered the National Tournament as a 16-seed. The Plainswomen lost 3-0 in the first round to eventual champion College of Southern Idaho and 3-1 to Central Florida in the consolation bracket.

Barton finished the 2015 season with a 9-24 record, but is now under the new direction of former LCC head coach Brandon Stephenson.

“We don’t have to wait to find tough competition this season. Friday poses immediate challenges for us,” Geoffrey said. “Frank Phillips is coming off a National Tournament run and Barton is definitely on the upswing. We’re looking forward to seeing what we look like against two strong programs.”

The Lopes play their third match at 1:00 p.m. Saturday against Butler Community College, and finish with a 5:00 p.m.match against Dodge City Community College.

The Butler Grizzlies finished 8-29 during a down 2015 campaign, but are traditionally a force in the Kansas Jayhawk Community College Conference. Longtime head coach Rick Younger has averaged more than 20 wins per season during his time at Butler.

The Dodge City Conquistadors, also from the Jayhawk Conference, were 3-31 in 2015 and will look to get off to a positive start in 2016.

“Every team in the nation is trying to prove itself to begin the season,” Geoffrey said. “Butler, Dodge and ourselves have a lot to try to prove in 2016, so I fully expect a pair of hard-fought contests on Saturday.”

Fellow Region IX-South teams Otero Junior College and Trinidad State Junior College, along with Cisco College (Cisco, Texas), will also play in the Little Caesar’s Classic, but the Lopes will not play those teams until later in the season.

“For the longest time this tournament felt years away,” Geoffrey said. “Now that it’s here, we’re all starting to feel the adrenaline that comes with competition. We can’t wait to get started.”

Admission is $5 for adults ages 18-55, $3 for fans 56 and older, and free to high school and LCC students.

For more information on Lopes Volleyball, visit Facebook.com/LopesVolleyball and GoLopes.com.

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