CHICAGO, Ill. – The Illinois Tech women's volleyball team has released its 2017 schedule. It features 33 total matches, 14 home matches, and eight matches against United States Collegiate Athletic Association schools.
Of the 33 matches, 20 of them will take place in September. Head Coach Katie Reifert believes the way the schedule is constructed will help a team with a large incoming group of student-athletes mesh together, a key factor in Tech's chances to qualify for the USCAA Tournament for a second straight season.
"Our schedule presents some challenging USCAA and NCAA competition early in the season," said Reifert, who is entering her fourth season at the helm of the women's volleyball program. "With our team's makeup being so different than years past, focusing on team cohesion will be vital to overcoming a grueling September to put us in good USCAA standing early in the season."
The September marathon will begin in Atlanta, as the Scarlet Hawks will head to Oglethorpe University for four total matches over a two-day span (September 2-3). Opponents for the season-opening tournament are to-be-determined. Upon returning from Georgia, the Scarlet Hawks will take on some regional NCAA competition, playing at North Park University on September 8 before facing Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference schools Alverno College and Milwaukee School of Engineering at MSOE on September 9.
Keating Sports Center will host its first match of the season on Tuesday, September 12 at 7:00 p.m. The Scarlet Hawks will oppose another future conference opponent, as the NACC's Concordia University Chicago will visit 31st and State.
An important early-season test awaits the Scarlet Hawks following the home opener. On September 15 and 16, Tech will travel to Indiana to compete in the St. Mary of the Woods Tournament, opposing four USCAA schools: Florida National, UC Clermont, Florida College, and St. Mary of the Woods. Florida College, SMOW, and Florida Nationals were the top three finishers in the USCAA Championships last season.
Upon returning from Indiana, the Scarlet Hawks will host Mount Mary on Thursday, September 21 at 7:00 p.m. Tech will then oppose Maranatha Baptist and Rockford University on September 23 in Rockford before playing at Lake Forest College on September 26.
The hectic September closes out with the Scarlet Hawk Invite, as six teams will visit the Keating Sports Center for a two-day, two-court tournament on from September 29-30. UC Clermont, Anderson, Albion, and Olivet will oppose Tech over the two days.
After October starts with a road match at Alverno on October 3, the Scarlet Hawks will play eight straight matches at home. Single matches with Alma College (Saturday, October 7, 1:00 p.m.), Dominican University (Tuesday, October 10, 7:00 p.m.), and Moody Bible Institute (Friday, October 13, 7:00 p.m.) begin the long homestand.
On Saturday, October 14, the Scarlet Hawks will host a tri-match with Wisconsin Lutheran College (11:00 a.m.) and Kalamazoo College (3:00 p.m.). Following the tri-match, Tech will host the USCAA Quad on Friday, October 20 and Saturday, October 21. The Scarlet Hawks will host SMOW on the 20th at 7:00 p.m., which will also serve as Senior Night. Silver Lake (11:00 a.m.) and Robert Morris-Springfield (3:00 p.m.) will oppose Tech on the 21st.
Tech will then have four matches away from home to close out the regular season schedule. The Scarlet Hawks will play at Moody Bible (October 24), oppose Earlham College and Bluffton University in Bluffton, Ohio (October 28), and at St. Mary's College in Notre Dame, Indiana (October 31).
The goal of the regular season is to earn a spot in the USCAA Championships for a second straight year. The tournament will take place from November 9 through November 13 in Virginia Beach, Virginia.
"I am very excited how this year's schedule shaped up and the team we have coming in this fall," said Reifert. "We have a dedicated, focused group of returners itching to get back into the gym as well as a large talented freshmen class.
All home matches this season for the Scarlet Hawks will have live audio, video, and stats provided. The live audio will be powered by Illinois Media School.