Archives for August 2010

Season Preview: Suns Seek GSC West Crown

For most college volleyball programs, 24 wins and a berth in the postseason would be a banner year. For head coach Kristy Bayer and the Arkansas Tech Golden Suns, it was a rebuilding year.

The 2009 Golden Suns overcame the loss of three graduated all-conference performers — Racheal Urquhart, Dana Florian and Kayla Allison — to post a 24-13 overall record.

The Suns were 8-4 in league play, good for third place in the Gulf South Conference West Division and a third consecutive berth in the GSC Tournament.

Every starter from that 24-win team is back, and Bayer believes that the 2010 Golden Suns are poised to be a factor in the GSC West Division race.

“The 2009 season was a time for our players to work on their leadership and find a new identity for our team,” said Bayer, who is three wins shy of becoming Tech’s all-time leader in volleyball coaching victories. “We are ready to go for this 2010 season. We had a strong off-season, and we came in this fall in great shape. My assistant coach, Brett Sikora, has done a fabulous job with our off-season program and getting our players excited about their conditioning.”

Among the returnees is two-time All-NCAA Division II South Region selection Sarah Von Lienen (photographed).

A senior middle blocker, Von Lienen ranked second in the GSC in hitting percentage (.324) and fifth in the conference in blocks (0.90 per game) last season.

Von Lienen has recorded 300 or more kills and 100 or more blocks in each of her first three seasons at Arkansas Tech. If she matches that output in 2010, she will complete her eligibility ranked among the top five in school history in both of those categories.

Perhaps the greatest testament to Von Lienen’s talent is that she was named to the GSC All-Decade team with a year of eligibility still remaining.

“Sarah has a lot of physical ability,” said Bayer. “She understands the game so well. I coached Sarah when she was a 13-year old living in Memphis, and she was not a good volleyball player back then. She was all arms and legs and couldn’t serve the ball over the net, so just to see how she has blossomed into one of the top players that Arkansas Tech will ever have has been fun. I’m looking for her to have a great season.”

Von Lienen is one of four 2009 All-GSC West Division selections that return for the Golden Suns in 2010.

Also back are senior setter Kera Dukic, who had 1,140 assists in 2009; junior outside hitter Laura Farney, an all-region selection last season after notching 400 kills and 334 digs; and junior outside hitter Brennae Benda, who is on pace to shatter the school record for career digs after recording 897 of them during her first two years.

Other returning letter winners include senior right side hitter Ashlynn Hamrick, junior outside hitters Marcela Mascarenhas and Kelly O’Malley, sophomore outside hitter Carly Florian and sophomore middle blocker Brittany Ryan.

Defensive specialist Lindsay Layes and outside hitter Thabata Galvao join the active roster this season after redshirting in 2009.

Joining the program are four true freshmen — setter Amber Cerrillos, middle blocker/outside hitter Casey Loper, outside hitter Stephanie Channell and middle blocker Sara Motsinger.

“It’s been a fairly easy transition,” said Bayer of working the newcomers into the Golden Suns’ system. “We threw them into team stuff, and we really haven’t missed a beat. They were able to adjust immediately. We’re looking for all four of them to compete for spots and see playing time this year.”

The Golden Suns will begin their 2010 volleyball season by competing in the Holiday Inn Express Hotel and Suites Classic, which will be hosted by Texas Woman’s University on Friday, Sept. 3, and Saturday, Sept. 4, in Denton, Texas.

Tech will play its first home matches of the season on Monday, Sept. 13, against Champion Baptist (3 p.m.) and Lyon College (7 p.m.).

Welcome Week 2010

Welcome Week 2010 provided students with many opportunities to make new friends and get acclimated to Arkansas Tech.

The Tech Orientation Team sponsored various activities throughout the week. Click these links to see photos from each event.

Welcome Week Move-in 2010 (Part 1)

Welcome Week Move-in 2010 (Part 2)

Welcome Week 2010 – Playfair (Part 1)

Welcome Week 2010 – Playfair (Part 2)

Welcome Week 2010 – Outdoor Bash

Welcome Week 2010 – Tech ’til Twelve

Vest Family Honored During Unveiling Ceremony


Dr. Jo Alice Blondin, chancellor of Arkansas Tech University – Ozark welcomed a crowd of over 300 guests during the unveiling ceremony for the Alvin F. Vest Student Union held on Monday, August 30 in the Student Services’ Conference Center.

During the ceremony the Alvin F. Vest family was honored and memorialized for his contributions, Vest was the first director of what was then Arkansas Valley Vocational Technical School. The renovation project, which was shared with the community, retains the name of the first director, and builds on the student-centered legacy Vest developed beginning in 1962.

Vest, in collaboration with the Ozark Chamber of Commerce and Chairman of the County Development Education Committee, began the preliminary work to site a new vocational school in Ozark. Mr. Vest worked tirelessly with the community and business leaders to make the location of this school a reality, and continued his involvement through his twenty years of distinguished service to the institution that would become Arkansas Tech University – Ozark Campus.  Dr. Blondin observed, “Though we have seen some changes since Mr. Vest’s time, we have built upon the technical education blueprint he provided the people of Ozark. His collaborative spirit and genuine concern for the economic impact of our region is still evident”.

Dr. Robert C. Brown, president of Arkansas Tech University said, “This is a real step forward for the Ozark campus because it will allow us to provide a larger venue. This facility will address our student needs”.  Brown added that the campus enrollment is over 1300 students, “a significant increase over where it was at the beginning of the merger.”

Pictured, Mr. Ron Vest thanking the administration for recognizing the work of his father, the community for supporting technical education in the region, and thanked the crowd for attending the event.

Mr. Rick Redden, AMR Architects provided an overview of the $1.73 million project, which will house the bookstore, the library, food service with a coffee shop, and a computer lab.

Ms. Sandy Cheffer, chief fiscal officer, gave closing remarks.

Party at the Plaza Thursday


Arkansas Tech University will host a Party at the Plaza before Thursday’s home game against Lambuth University.

The pre-game tailgating event is set to begin at 5 p.m and will feature a pre-game cookout.  The meal costs $5 and will feature a buffet with hamburgers, hot dogs and other favorites.  Students at Arkansas Tech with a meal plan will be able to swipe their Tech identification card to purchase the pre-game meal.

Following the pre-game meal, fans will be able to enjoy a free sweet treat.  The Arkansas Tech University Alumni Association will be on hand and will be giving away free ice cream to people stopping by their booth.

Fans will also be able to enjoy several  inflatable games.  Organizers say there will be several inflatable games available at each party, and the games are available free of charge.

River Valley Radio will also be broadcasting live from party.

Be sure to log back on to see photos and video from the party.

For more information about the Party at the Plaza happening before each home game call 479-498-6038.

SGA Applications Deadline Extended

Application deadline has been extended for those interested in serving on the 2010-2011 Student Government Association.

Application packets are available in the Office of Student Services, and completed packets must be returned by 5 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 10.  The elections are scheduled to take place on Wednesday, September 15, from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. in Doc’s Place.

Students must have a cumulative 2.25 Grade Point Average (GPA) and be enrolled as a full-time student.  Those elected will serve for one year, and the term will begin immediately following the election.

The following seats are available and will be voted on during the election:

  • 3 Freshman Senators
  • 1 Junior Senator
  • 1 Senior Senator
  • 1 College of Applied Science Senator
  • 1 College of Education Senator
  • 1 Graduate College Senator
  • 1 Natural and Health Science Senator
  • 1 College of Professional Studies and Community Outreach Senator
  • Secretary of Public Relations

The Arkansas Tech Student Government Association is the governing body of the students, and SGA meets every Wednesday at noon in the Doc Bryan Student Services Building.

Visit the SGA website to learn more about the Arkansas Tech SGA.