On August 27, the Southeastern Conference announced new starting dates for various fall sports. In the release, they stated volleyball would run from Oct. 16 to Nov. 27, and SEC teams would play only against other teams in the conference.
"The 2020 SEC volleyball season will consist of an eight-match, conference-only schedule over six weeks of competition beginning Oct. 16 with each school competing against four opponents twice in the same weekend on back-to-back days," the release stated.
Mississippi State University's volleyball team has already been practicing and making additions to their coaching staff in preparation for this delayed and limited season. Head Coach Julie Darty Dennis announced the additions of Phil Evans and Alleah Stamatis to the bulldog coaching team earlier in August.
Evans is an MSU alumnus who will be taking the volunteer position of assistant coach. He will be working with training and coaching, as well as scouting. Head Coach Darty Dennis said in the release she was excited for the energy Evans will bring to the coaching team.
"Phil has a passion for our sport and a desire to learn, and I am really excited for him to come in and contribute to our coaching staff," Darty Dennis said. "He is a great teacher, and his voice will be a welcome addition in our gym."
Stamatis is a former student-athlete at MSU where she was a setter on the volleyball team following her time in Jacksonville, also playing under Darty Dennis’ leadership. She will be taking the position of technical coordinator.
Stamatis' last season as a Bulldog was the 2019 season, so she is still very familiar with how her coach likes things to operate and can give input on how to improve the team. Stamatis’ job will be to overlook video footage breakdown, plan daily operations, coordinate travel and arrange other operations to help the team run smoothly.
"She has always been a great teammate and having someone like that on our staff is going to be a huge addition for us," Stamatis’ former coach Darty Dennis said. "She is highly motivated, organized, detailed-oriented and has a great eye."
There are less than two months until the shortened season starts for the team, and the additions of the new staff members are exciting to Darty Dennis and her players. In the midst of all that has happened this year, the team is grateful for the opportunity to play, according to a statement made by Darty Dennis.
"We are grateful for the leadership we have at the SEC and on our campus," Darty Dennis said in a statement on Twitter. "My team is taking a tremendous amount of pride in following the protocols set up for us. We want to play, and we want to keep our student-athletes safe. And because of our leadership we have found a way to do both. We are committed to prioritizing player safety as we look forward to competing."