Arkansas Tech is in the thick of a close race for the Gulf South Conference West Division volleyball championship, but tonight it will play for something more important than athletic glory.
The Golden Suns will play their match against Southern Arkansas in orange jerseys to symbolize their support for the battle against hunger.
Fans will have an opportunity to bid on the jerseys in a silent auction during the match.
Bidding will begin at $25 per jersey and all proceeds will go to the Arkansas Rice Depot as part of Project: Feed Arkansas.
First serve is set for 7 p.m. tonight (Tuesday, Oct. 19) at Tucker Coliseum in Russellville. Admission is free, but all fans are encouraged to bring non-perishable food items for the Arkansas Rice Depot.
"This is a cause that the athletic department has adopted this year," said Kristy Bayer, assistant athletic director and head volleyball coach at Arkansas Tech. "Fans have been bringing canned goods to all of the football games and the volleyball matches. We've been raising funds, and now we have a great opportunity with these special edition jerseys."
Bayer offered special thanks to Dr. Owen Kelly of Arkansas Orthopaedic Institute for purchasing the orange jerseys. Kelly, who serves as a team doctor for the female athletic teams at Arkansas Tech, will open his own practice --- River Valley Orthopaedic --- in December.
Photographed in the jerseys are Tech volleyball seniors (from left): Sarah Von Lienen, Ashlynn Hamrick and Kera Dukic.
Those who are unable to attend the Tech-SAU match can still participate in the silent auction for the orange jerseys by calling (479) 968-0345 beginning at 6:30 p.m.
The Golden Suns (21-4 overall, 6-1 GSC) enter tonight's action in a three-way tie for first place in the GSC West Division with five conference matches remaining.
The other co-leaders in the GSC West are Christian Brothers (13-10, 6-1) and Harding (11-8, 6-1). CBU will host Ouachita Baptist in league action tonight, while Harding will step out of conference play to host Lyon College this evening.
Southern Arkansas (12-10, 2-5) is not a factor in the title chase, but the Lady Muleriders still have plenty to play for. SAU is just one match behind Henderson State (11-10, 3-4) in the pursuit of the fourth and final berth from the GSC West in next month's GSC Tournament.
The Golden Suns defeated the Lady Muleriders 25-19, 25-18, 25-16 in Magnolia on Sept. 23.