PREVIEW: Red Hawks face tests at Owens Invitational

PREVIEW: Red Hawks face tests at Owens Invitational

HICKORY, N.C. — The 13th-ranked Catawba Valley Community College volleyball team travels for the first time this 2018 fall season for its appearance in the Owens Invitational in Perrysburg, Ohio this weekend.

The Red Hawks, who are coming off a 3-0 win in their season-opener on Tuesday at home against Spartanburg Methodist, play two matches on Friday and two on Saturday during their tournament appearance in Ohio.

The appearance in the Owens tournament has become a yearly staple with CVCC participating in the event in each of the previous four seasons.

"It's great to start our season road schedule every year with our trip to Ohio," said Catawba Valley head volleyball coach Shannon Hudson. "(Head coach) Sonny (Lewis) at Owens is the best host, and the competition is always top notch."

Catawba Valley's first match in the tournament will be an early season test as it faces off with three-time National Champion Parkland (Ill.), which is currently ranked as the No. 2 team in the country in the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Division II ranks.

"We will be facing NJCAA Division II powerhouse Parkland College in our first match for the weekend," Hudson said. "(Parkland head volleyball coach) Cliff (Hastings) is an amazing coach, and his team is consistently ranked in the top five in the country."

After finishing off Friday's action with a match against St. Clair Community College (Mich.), the Red Hawks will face two tough tests on Saturday in Glen Oaks Community College (Mich.) and Division I Vincennes University (Ind.).

With a tough slate of opponents during this first tournament of the season, Hudson is hopeful that her squad will pick up at least two victories and gain some much-needed experience.

"I love that our young team will get this kind of experience so early in the season," she said. "We learn so much and always come home from Toledo with lots of things to work on."