Lincoln Memorial to play in home-state event Grow the Game Challenge in 2019

[Editor’s note: Off the Block each day from Aug. 6-15 will unveil one team participating in the 2019 Grow the Game Challenge. The entire tournament field and match schedule will be released Thursday, Aug. 16.]

The defending IVA champions will once again make the trip across its home state of Tennessee to compete in the nation’s largest college men’s volleyball non-conference tournament.

Off the Block announced Tuesday that Lincoln Memorial will be among the tournament field for the 2019 Off the Block Grow the Game Challenge that will take place Jan. 18-20 at Cumberland University in Lebanon, Tennessee.

“It is an honor to participate in the Grow the Game Challenge at Cumberland University in our home state,” Lincoln Memorial coach John Cash said. “It is a wonderful experience for all participants, fans, and families and is held in one of the best areas in the U.S. This a fantastic opportunity to expose the great strides the wonderful state of Tennessee has made in the growth of the game. The team, which returns nine and brings in eight, is excited for the upcoming season and we look forward to all the excitement the 2019 season will bring.”

The Grow the Game Challenge is annual event that brings regular season matches to an area of the nation that does not have a NCAA Division I-II men’s volleyball team. Lincoln Memorial is the one of two Tennessee teams participating in the 10-team tournament, which will be played in the Nashville area for the second straight year.

Lincoln Memorial opened its 2018 season at the inaugural Grow the Game Challenge with losses to McKendree and Hawai’i.

The Railsplitters, though, rebounded from these early season losses to finish with a winning record. The second-year program also defeated Queens and Coker in the IVA Tournament to win the championship event for NCAA Division I-II men’s volleyball teams without a conference affiliation.

Three All-IVA starters return for Lincoln Memorial next season, including opposite Evan Cory. Cory had career-high 26 kills in the team’s five-game victory against Coker in the IVA Tournament finals.

The Grow the Game Challenge operates as a non-profit organization and is based in Nashville. In addition, the organization is committed to helping promote the growth of college men’s volleyball throughout the United States.