FAYETTEVILLE — The University of Arkansas Women’s Athletics Department will assist Louisiana State University and the Southeastern Conference by providing a home court for the Tigers opening weekend of conference volleyball, UA Women’s Athletics Director Bev Lewis announced today.
“We know the impact of Katrina across the region has been profound, and we wanted to step up and help in whatever way possible,” Lewis said.
“We are very glad to be able to help out a conference team in this kind of situation,” UA volleyball coach Chris Poole said. “We hope by offering our venue to LSU, we can eliminate some of their stress and help them return to a more normal routine.”
The hurricane impact is not limited to volleyball. The Arkansas soccer team’s match with Mississippi Valley State University on Friday is cancelled due to Katrina relief complications. The Devilettes’ campus in Itta Bena, Miss., did not suffer serious effects of the storm, but MVSU lost its transportation as private buses are being redirected to the relief efforts.
Lewis made her offer to the SEC and LSU over the weekend, along with offers to the University of New Orleans to house teams in Fayetteville.
“It is the least we could do,” Lewis said. “In speaking with LSU, I know they are making tremendous sacrifices to assist the federal and state relief efforts.”
Use of the Lady Razorback athletic facilities to LSU for both volleyball and soccer is open-ended, but Lewis indicated that LSU will make week-by-week decisions on if they are needed. Today, the SEC confirmed that Arkansas will host the opening weekend of volleyball as a double-header with the Tigers. Barnhill Arena is the home for Arkansas volleyball.
Arkansas is a travel partner with LSU for many sports, and the change allows the opening weekend opponents South Carolina and Tennessee to travel to Fayetteville for both matches.
The Lady’Backs host Tennessee on Friday, Sept. 23, at 7 p.m., with LSU to face South Carolina at 4:00 p.m. Doors will open at 3:00 p.m. for the double-header at Barnhill Arena, and season ticket holders seats are good for both matches.
Sunday’s schedule has LSU facing Tennessee at 10:30 a.m., followed by the regularly scheduled Arkansas versus South Carolina match at 1:30 p.m. Doors will open at 9:30 on Sunday.
“We’re looking forward to this becoming a great weekend of volleyball and we hope all our fans will take the opportunity to come out and support everyone,” Poole said.
The LSU teams are not relocating to Fayetteville, and will travel to the University only for the competition dates. UNO was able to relocate its women’s teams within the region, but Arkansas was ready to welcome the Privateer squads if needed.
Many athletic facilities at LSU are in active use with the relief effort, including the Pete Maravich Assembly Center which is the competition home for Tiger volleyball.
The LSU soccer team may make a similar weekend trip to Fayetteville if circumstances require for the opening weekend of SEC play in late September.
“We certainly understand the situation, and we empathize with those who have lost everything in this crisis,” UA women’s soccer coach Gordon Henderson said. “The ripple effects of Katrina make this more than just a regional crisis.”
While MVSU is cancelled as Friday’s opponent, Sunday afternoon’s match with George Mason scheduled for 12:30 p.m. at Lady’Back Field is confirmed, as well as next weekend’s opponent, Southeastern Louisiana. The Hammond, La., based SLU Lions have their own transportation, and foresee no problems in making the Sept. 18 match in Fayetteville.
Henderson is seeking a replacement match for the MVSU contest at Lady’Back Field later this season. Tickets for Friday evening’s Mississippi Valley soccer match will be used for the potential new opponent.