Urbana University volleyball has put the finishing touches on its 2016 schedule, announced Friday by second-year head coach Tim Balice. UU will play 15 home matches, including the Urbana Invitational hosted on Sept. 16 and 17 at Grimes Center.
The Blue Knights are coming off back-to-back seasons with a 13-17 record, and will open the fall slate with four matches over Labor Day weekend at the Cavalier Classic, hosted by Walsh.
Eight of the first nine matches will be played on the road. UU’s home opener is set for Tuesday, Sept. 6 at 7 p.m. against Cedarville, before the Blue Knights travel to Erie, Pennsylvania the following weekend to take on four PSAC schools – IUP and Mercyhurst; followed by 2015 NCAA Tournament participants Gannon and Edinboro.
After the early road test, UU enters a favorable lineup with 11 of the next 13 matches to be played inside the friendly confines of the Grimes Center.
The Blue Knights will open their home tournament with two matches on Friday, Sept. 16 against another NCAA Tournament squad in Armstrong at 1 p.m. and a night match versus Kutztown at 7 p.m.
Day 2 of the Invitational will feature UU against conference-foe Shepherd at noon and Malone at 7 p.m.
Conference play gets going a week later with the MEC opener scheduled for Friday, Sept. 23 against West Liberty at 7 p.m. Then, UU will have less than 24 hours to regroup as it prepares to host reigning national champion Wheeling Jesuit on Saturday, Sept. 24 at 5 p.m.
UU will travel to Fairmont State on September 30 and Shepherd on October 1 to close the month of September, and then return home for five consecutive home matches.
Former UU coach Troy Haught and the Notre Dame College Falcons visit Grimes Center Tuesday, Oct. 4. The Blue Knights will then step out of league play for a Friday night match against Northern Michigan on Oct. 7.
Homecoming week will feature three home matches, including Charleston (Tuesday, Oct. 11), UVa-Wise (Friday, Oct. 14), and Concord (Saturday, Oct. 15). The Concord match will begin at 9 a.m. on Homecoming Saturday, prior to the 1 p.m. football game on campus.
The second half of the regular season will pose another challenge with eight of the final 11 matches on the road.
Non-league matchups will take place against Central State (Away, Oct. 18 & Home, Oct. 25) and Lake Erie (Oct. 18 at Central State). The last two home matches will be played Friday, Oct. 28 and Saturday, Oct. 29, against Shepherd and Fairmont State, respectively. UU was knocked out of the MEC Quarterfinals last season by FSU in a tight contest.
UU will close out the regular season with five straight road matches, including a trip to Wheeling Jesuit on Friday, Nov. 4.
The Mountain East Conference Championship will take place Nov. 17-19, hosted by the top seed.
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