Volleyball schedule set for 2013

MT welcomes four ACC opponents to Alumni Memorial Gym

May 8, 2013 · @MTAthletics

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. - Middle Tennessee volleyball head coach Matt Peck announced the 2013 schedule on Wednesday as the Blue Raiders embark on the Conference USA era. 

This season's schedule provides a challenging non-conference slate, which includes five NCAA Tournament participants from a year ago. The Raiders will host a pair of non-conference tournaments and turn to the road for another two. MT takes on a 14 match schedule during its first year as members of C-USA.

"This year's schedule is very challenging, but I feel that's exactly what this young team needs," said Peck. "We return virtually everyone from last year and the players who were redshirted because of injury are back and healthy."

MT opens the season with San Francisco on Friday, Aug. 30 to kick off the Blue Raider Bash. MT then takes on a pair of ACC foes on Saturday, Aug. 31 with North Carolina and Notre Dame.

The annual Middle Tennessee Invitational pits Virginia Tech against the Blue Raiders in a 7 p.m. first serve on Friday, Sept. 6. Austin Peay and North Dakota close out the tournament on that Saturday, Sept. 7.

"The first two weekends at home will tell us a lot about where our team is," said Peck. "All of the matches in those tournaments will be extremely challenging."

On Tuesday, Sept. 10, the Raiders visit Southern Illinois for its first road match of the year. The focus then shifts to the Dr. Mary Jo Winn Tournament on Sept. 13-14 as the Raiders play host Missouri State, Oklahoma and Alabama A&M in Springfield, Mo.

For the final non-conference tournament on Sept. 20-21, the Raiders stay in the Show-Me state for the Mizzou Classic. MT opens with Southeast Missouri on Friday before closing out with Towson and host Missouri on Saturday.

"Our two tournaments in Missouri are very challenging as well," Peck noted. "I am happy we are able to get two weekends at home before heading out on the road with our team."

MT opens the Conference USA portion of the schedule with a visit to Rice on Sept. 27 and North Texas on Sept. 29.The home slate of C-USA matches starts Oct. 6 when Middle Tennessee welcomes UAB. The following weekend, MT hosts UTEP on Oct. 11 and UTSA on Oct. 13.

A pair of new conference additions in Louisiana Tech (Oct. 18) and Charlotte (Oct. 20) welcome the Raiders for the midway point of the conference season. The fourth ACC opponent comes to Murfreesboro on Oct. 22 when MT welcomes newest member Louisville. 

"We have some very high recognition schools coming to Murfreesboro for the first time, including Notre Dame, North Carolina, Virginia Tech and Louisville - that says something for the respect our program has achieved over the years," said Peck. 

Middle Tennessee plays four of the next six matches at home starting with Southern Miss on Oct. 25, followed by defending C-USA Champion Tulsa on Nov. 1. A short road trip match begins with the Raiders and East Carolina on Sunday, Nov. 3 and closes with a visit on Tuesday, Nov. 5 to Austin Peay. 

The final home matches of the regular season features old conference rivals FIU (Nov. 8) and Florida Atlantic (Nov. 10). MT closes out the regular season schedule with trips to Marshall (Nov. 15) and Tulane (Nov. 17).

The Conference USA Volleyball Championship will be held Nov. 21-23 at a location to be determined.

"The venture into C-USA is very exciting," noted Peck. "Our program goals are the same - compete for the conference championship and a trip to the NCAA Tournament every year."

Follow the Blue Raiders on Twitter @MTAthletics for continued updates.