EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. – SIUE volleyball Head Coach Leah Johnson announced a balanced 2017 schedule with a solid mix of home and away contests as well as challenging opponents.
The Cougars, which are coming off a 22-8 record overall last season and an appearance in the Ohio Valley Conference Tournament championship match, have scheduled 14 home matches for the Vadalabene Center. That includes eight OVC matches and two home tournaments with three matches in each tournament.
"We are excited to host two tournaments this year," said SIUE Head Coach Leah Johnson. "Our fan base and support is growing and hosting two home events is a great way to reward our fans, and our team. Equally important, when we spend less time on the road we allow the athletes more time at home, in class, and focused on their academics. Our schedule is built to be challenging and rewarding."
SIUE's schedule actually begins on the road at the Mastodons Invitational Aug. 25-26 in Fort Wayne, Indiana. The Cougars open the 2017 season Aug. 25 against Toledo. On Aug. 26, SIUE meets host Fort Wayne and Quinnipiac.
The Cougar Classic is set for Sept. 1-2. The Cougars face off against Wright State (Sept. 1) as well as Tulsa (Sept. 2) and UMKC (Sept. 2). The second SIUE Tournament, the Cougar Invite, is just two weeks later when the Cougars welcome Seattle (Sept. 15), Montana (Sept. 16) and UIC (Sept. 16).
Squeezed in between SIUE's two home tournaments is a trip to Chattanooga, Tennessee, for the Scenic City Showdown. The Cougars face off against host Chattanooga (Sept. 8), Georgia State (Sept. 9) and Jackson State (Sept. 9).
"We will use the strong nonconference season schedule to define our trademarks and set the tone for competition before a tough OVC schedule," said Johnson.
The OVC season begins Sept. 22 with a road contest at Austin Peay. SIUE's other road contests in the OVC are Murray State (Sept. 23), Eastern Illinois (Sept. 29), Eastern Kentucky (Oct. 13), Morehead State (Oct. 14), Tennessee State (Nov. 4), Southeast Missouri (Sept. 10) and UT Martin (Nov. 11).
SIUE's OVC home opener is Sept. 30 against Belmont. The home OVC schedule includes UT Martin (Oct. 6), Southeast Missouri (Oct. 7), Jacksonville State (Oct. 20), Tennessee Tech (Oct. 21), Murray State (Oct. 27), Austin Peay (Oct. 28) and Eastern Illinois (Nov. 3).
"The OVC is strong top to bottom, and we will have to compete night in and night out," said Johnson. "Everyone is a contender. We are excited for the challenge."
The OVC Tournament will be played at the site of the No. 1 seed. The eight-team tournament is scheduled for Nov. 15-18.