– UALR volleyball coach Van Compton
, entering her 26th year with the Trojans, announced the team's challenging 2013 schedule on Tuesday afternoon. The schedule features 12 matches in four non-conference road tournaments to open the season before returning to Sun Belt Conference action for the remaining 18 games on its schedule.
UALR opens the year in Starkville, Miss., with the Maroon Classic. The Trojans will take on Southeast Missouri State on Aug. 30 at 4 p.m. in that first game. UALR holds a lifetime record of 2-2 against the Redhawks and has not played against them since 1996. Following its game against Southeast Missouri State, UALR will have two matches against the home team. UALR takes on Mississippi State at 7 p.m. on August 30 as well as 1 p.m. the following day. The Trojans are 4-2 all-time against the Bulldogs.
The following weekend, UALR continues its difficult non-conference tournament slate with a trip to Houston for the Rice Invitational. The Trojans will tangle with LSU , the host Owls and Texas A&M-Corpus Christi over two days in the Lone Star State. UALR has only played LSU once – losing in 2011 – and is 1-1 lifetime against the Islanders. Rice has never played against UALR, but the teams will hold their first tilt on Sept. 7 at noon.
The Trojans stay on the road for the weekend of Sept. 13-14, heading to the Mountain Time Zone and New Mexico State. UALR will face the host Aggies, Southern Utah and Northern Illinois once each in the NM State Tournament. UALR is 2-4 all-time against New Mexico State – a team that reached the NCAA Tournament last season by winning the WAC Tournament – but has never played Southern Utah or Northern Illinois.
After that, the Trojans wrap up their non-conference schedule with a jaunt to nearby Memphis for the Tiger Invitational from Sept. 20-21. There, UALR will take on Memphis, Austin Peay and La Salle. UALR holds a 7-8 record lifetime against the host Tigers and has played in the Tiger Invitational seven of the last eight years. The Trojans have beaten Austin Peay in three of the teams' four lifetime meetings, but UALR and La Salle have never faced each other.
With the non-conference slate behind it, the Trojans will open Sun Belt competition on Sept. 27 at South Alabama before returning to the Jack Stephens Center on Sept. 29 for its first home match of the year against Sun Belt newcomer Georgia State. The Trojans will host each of its nine SBC opponents once and play them on the road once as well. Defending conference champion Western Kentucky – which advanced to the NCAA Tournament's second round in 2012 – will come to Little Rock on Oct. 18 at 7 p.m.
The Sun Belt Conference Tournament, which takes the top eight teams in the league, will be contested on Nov. 21-23 at Troy University.
Junior Edina Begic
, the SBC's defending Player of the Year, led the Trojans and was second in the nation with 5.08 kills per set last season. She will hope to lead UALR farther into the postseason in 2013. Also back for the Trojans are junior libero Allison Wyatt
(2.61 digs per set) junior middle blocker Adisa Hodzic
(0.96 blocks per set), junior setter Marleen de Zoete
(10.98 assists per set) and sophomore hitter Mikalah Booher
. They will join seven newcomers to the team.