Knoxville, Tenn.--(UTSports) The Tennessee volleyball team opens the 2014 season on the road with three matches at the Appalachian Invitational in Boone, North Carolina, at Holmes Center on the campus of Appalachian State University.
UT will face in-state foe Tennessee Tech on Friday at 4 p.m. ET before meeting Cleveland State and host Appalachian State on Saturday. First serve for those matches are slated for 10 a.m. and 7 p.m., respectively.
AppStateSports.com will host live stats for all three UT matches over the weekend, including a live video stream of the Lady Vols' weekend finale against App State. Fans can also follow the action via a free interactive live blog on UTSports.com.
Tennessee is returning five starters from its 2013 squad and is welcoming eight newcomers -- a figure that includes six true freshmen. Head coach Rob Patrick is entering his 18th season at the helm of the program.
UT plays 10 matches on the road to open the 2014 campaign. The Lady Vols return to Knoxville on Sept. 18 when they host Austin Peay in the opening match of the DISH Lady Vol Classic.
Tennessee Tech went 5-21 last season. Meanwhile, Cleveland State finished 16-13 and App State came in 19-13.
This weekend marks the start of the 2014 season for the Lady Vols, the 42nd in the recorded history of the program.
On the heels of a 20-win season and NCAA Tournament berth in 2012, a young roster that featured nine newcomers finished the 2013 season at 9-23 with a 1-17 mark in SEC play.
After opening the season at home for four straight seasons from 2009-12, the Big Orange will be opening its season on the road for the second consecutive season. In fact, UT plays its first 10 matches of 2014 away from Knoxville.
Since 2001 - when the Big Orange really began playing matches in August - UT is 34-6 in the month, including a 17-1 mark at home.
Rob Patrick,, now entering his 18th season as head coach, has made nine NCAA appearances with the Lady Vols, including five in the past six years. He recorded his 350th career victory last season in a 3-1 win over Coastal Carolina on Sept. 21.
Under Coach Patrick, Tennessee is 13-4 in season openers and has begun five of its last six seasons with a `W.'
Tennessee welcomes eight newcomers to the 2014 squad, a figure that includes six freshmen.