The Mid-American Conference women's volleyball tournament has a new home.
All coaches, athletic administrations and MAC officials can say is that the facility, Spires Academy, in Geneva, Ohio, is fantastic. It is located 45 minutes northeast of Cleveland, but remains within reaching distance of the MAC headquarters in Cleveland. But what really made the MAC choose to leave the SeaGate Centre in Toledo for Spires Academy?
First off, this facility is massive. It has 450,000 square feet and is currently under construction to add an additional 250,000 square feet. All of which is specifically dedicated toward athletic training unlike the SeaGate Centre, which is a convention center.
"We have a huge volleyball academy here," Jeff Orloff, spokesperson for Spires Academy said. "We have over 2,000 players come through the doors and play on 26 club teams."
The facility includes state of the art playing surfaces, a banquet area, a practice facility, a weight room, and will have a food quart area as well as an Olympic-sized pool by the time the eight MAC teams invade Geneva for the tournament in November.
"The playing surface is phenomenal," Jeff Bacon, MAC assistant commissioner for championship and sport programs, said, "It is head and shoulders above anything we've had in the past facilities."
Ball State athletic director Tom Collins was not among the contingent of coaches and administrators who toured the new facility, but said the ability for teams to dine at the facility was an improvement over the set-up in Toledo. Teams would have to venture out into the city for meals rather than eating at the SeaGate Centre or hotel.
Orloff wouldn't go into details about what Spires Academy is planning for fans, parents, and teams traveling to Geneva, but was confident that the new site would be a crowd pleaser.
"We're going to be putting our best foot forward," he said. "Once fans are here, there will be plenty for them to enjoy. We have a lot to offer at Spires Academy, but what you might not realize is that we've got one of the largest win producing areas in the country.
"Geneva is a great community with a passion for volleyball and can't wait to welcome the MAC."