Tigerville , SC - If you are going to start a brand new NCAA Division I/II men's volleyball program, you might as well get the spiking started with a very large ‘bang.'
North Greenville University's team will do exactly that when it plays its first match ever against the five-time NCAA National Champion Pepperdine University Waves on Saturday, Jan. 3 at the new $19 million Upward Star Center in Spartanburg. VIP and general admission tickets for this exceptional volleyball event are now on sale. For more information on tickets to the Jan. 3 match, visit upwardstarcenter.com or call (864) 949-5900.
Pepperdine and North Greenville will play another match on the campus of North Greenville on Monday, January 5th at 7:30 p.m.
The festivities begin on Saturday, January 3rd as the Waves and Crusaders square off in the "Battle at the Star" at the state-of-the-art, multi-sport Upward Star Center complex at 7:00 PM. An autograph session will take place following the game.
Pepperdine enters the 2015 season as a top-five team in the country after posting a 19-7 record last season. The Waves be one of the most experienced squads in the country in 2015, as all six returning starters are seniors.
The Waves are led by legendary head coach Marv Dunphy, who will begin his 32nd season at the helm of the Pepperdine program in 2015. Dunphy boasts a 565-248 career record at Pepperdine, winning national championships in 1978, 1985, 1992 and 2005. Dunphy was the recipient of the National Coach of the Year award in 2005. He has also been prominently involved with Team USA volleyball teams over the past 30 years, winning multiple gold medals in Olympic and World Championship competitions while serving as men's head coach, men's and women's assistant coach and men's and women's consultant at various points.
Dunphy is no stranger to the Upstate, as he visited the area last season to watch the Greenville Drive at award-winning Fluor Field and speak to members of the Drive front office.
"North Greenville is starting a program and we just felt this was the perfect time to help men's volleyball in that area," said Dunphy. "We're glad to be a part of something that gets their team going. Everyone has to start somewhere."
The North Greenville Crusaders will play their inaugural season under head coach Dr. Fred Battenfield, who is no stranger to the game of volleyball. Battenfield has worked at three Olympic Games volleyball competitions, mostly in media services, and was the press attaché for the 1988 USA men's and women's Olympic teams in Seoul, Korea, which included Coach Dunphy and the gold-medal winning men's team. He also worked the 1984 Games in Los Angeles and in 1996 in Atlanta. He was the first ever men's and women's volleyball coach at The University of Texas at San Antonio, and is a former national referee, and a participant for the U.S. Olympic Committee at four United States Olympic Festivals.
The Crusaders' first year roster features 12 players spanning seven states, Canada and the Philippines. As a tune-up for the regular season, NGU defeated Georgia Tech at home and will also host Clemson and Georgia this week.
"I could not pass up the incredible chance to showcase the best in men's college volleyball right here in the Upstate of South Carolina," said Battenfield.
VOLLEYBALL LEGEND DUNPHY WILL HOLD FREE CLINIC SUNDAY, JAN. 4
The ‘Battle at the Star' weekend continues on Sunday, January 4th, when Coach Dunphy will hold a free volleyball clinic at the Upward Star Center from 11:00 AM-2:00 PM. The Waves team will then hold an open practice at the Upward Star Center from 5:30 PM-8:00 PM. All coaches and players from all levels are invited to attend. To register for the clinic, visit upwardstarcenter.com or call (864) 949-5900.
The Upward Star Center complex is a 60-acre athletic facility that opened in September by Upward Sports, the world's largest Christian youth sports league. The center of the Upward Star Center complex is a 120,000 square-foot facility that features full-sized basketball courts, indoor volleyball courts, strength and conditioning area with weights and cardio machines and much more. The multiuse facility, will host everything from athletic tournaments and leagues, to community celebrations to corporate training events.
"We are so excited to have our state-of-the-art facility host this elite men's volleyball competition. We at the Upward Star Center would like to invite everyone to join us and take part in this unique event; because at the Upward Star Center we don't just play, we play with purpose," said Upward Star Center General Manager Doug Grote.
About Upward Star Center
The Upward Star Center multi-sports complex is a 60-acre athletic facility located in Spartanburg, SC. Opened in September 2014 by Upward Sports, the world's largest Christian youth sports league, the center of the Upward Star Center complex is a state-of-the art 120,000 square-foot facility. This facility features six full-sized basketball courts, 12 regulation indoor volleyball courts, four batting cages, a rock climbing wall, a running track, strength and conditioning area with weights and cardio machines, a speed and agility area, team rooms, players' lounge, meeting rooms, a café and a retail shop. Outdoors, the complex has four lighted sand volleyball courts, two lighted artificial turf and four grass fields for activities. A multiuse facility, Upward Star Center will host everything from athletic tournaments and leagues, to community celebrations to corporate training events.
Adjacent to the Upward Star Center is a Spartanburg Regional Health Services (SRHS) location. The SRHS Sports Medicine Institute partnered with Upward Sports to offer strength, training, rehabilitation and orthopedic services. The institute employs an extensive staff of sports medicine, fitness and healthcare providers to assist patients with prevention and recovery of injuries from sports participation.