Rolla, Mo. – The Missouri S&T women's volleyball team will commence preparations for its 2018 season this Monday (Aug. 6) as the Miners conduct their initial practice session.

S&T, under first-year head coach Andy Halaz, will hold its first practice this Monday (Aug. 6) morning from 8-10:30 a.m. (CT) at Rolla (Mo.) High School (RHS).  Regular weekday practices during the preseason will feature two sessions per day until Aug. 17.  The practice times are scheduled for 8-10 a.m. (CT) at RHS and from 3-6 p.m. (CT) at the S&T Recreation Center, but are subject to change. The Miners are practicing at RHS due to the floor renovations in S&T's Gibson Arena.  

"The preseason is one of my favorite times of the year because volleyball is the only responsibility we have for those two weeks," said Halaz.  "It (the preseason) sets the tone for who we are and our staff has been working hard to ensure our players are prepared for the opportunities which lay ahead this season and beyond."

The Miners will field an experienced team as S&T welcomes back 11 letter winners from last season's 10-21 team, which includes four starters.  The 16-member 2018 squad is comprised of three seniors, four juniors and sophomores apiece, and five freshmen.  Junior outside hitter Emilee Schlader (Lewiston, Idaho/Lewiston) and senior middle hitter Carson Talley (St. Louis, Mo./Affton) will serve as 2018 team captains.  
 
"This year's upperclassmen have an opportunity to right the ship and help us get back on course towards becoming a championship program," Halaz said.  "I'm confident they're ready to lead in all aspects.  We've had some great opportunities for growth over the summer and it's time to build upon those opportunities in order to leave a positive legacy."

The Miners' first competition of the court will be participation in an exhibition tournament at Columbia (Mo.) College on Saturday, Aug. 18, in CC's Southwell Arena.  S&T will play four scrimmage matches on the day, beginning with a 10 a.m. (CT) tilt versus Lindenwood.  The Miners then square off against Missouri-St. Louis (UMSL) at noon (CT) followed by a contest against host Columbia College at 2 p.m. (CT).  S&T concludes tourney action versus Truman State at 3 p.m. (CT).
  
S&T officially opens its 2018 season schedule the following weekend, Aug. 24-25, as the Miners compete in the Lindenwood (Mo.) Challenge in St. Charles, Mo., and then travel to Florida for participation in the Nova Southeastern Shark Invitational, Aug. 31-Sept. 1, in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. 

Both S&T's home and Great Lakes Valley Conference (GLVC) opener is slated for Sept. 7 as the Miners face Rockhurst in a 7 p.m. (CT) encounter at Gibson Arena.  The match represents the first of nine home appearances by the Miners this fall. 

"The entire team is looking forward to playing on the brand new Gibson Arena floor," said Halaz.  "The sublimated designs and highlights of our new logo continue to show the support from our administration towards building a championship program and we're excited to embrace the challenge."