MACOMB, Ill. - Second-year head volleyball coach April Hall announced the 2013 Western Illinois volleyball schedule Wednesday (June 12). The Fighting Leathernecks will play eight matches at home, and participate in four nonconference tournaments prior to kicking off Summit League action during the last weekend in September.
Coach Hall expressed her excitement for the schedule, as well as her team's improvement since last season.
"I'm unbelievably excited about our schedule this year," stated coach Hall. "Our pre-conference matches are challenging and will prove to be a true indicator of the team we are going to be. We've taken our tournaments to a whole new level, scheduling two Big Ten teams (Minnesota and Iowa), as well as facing two MAC members (Northern Illinois and Ball State) and an ACC opponent (Duke). Our tournament debut begins close to home at Bradley where the competition will be fierce, and we hope some of our fans will be able to venture up to Peoria to support us. Our next tournaments at Minnesota, Iowa and Northern Illinois will all follow suit in regards to intense competition."
Western will open the season at Bradley on August 30, and then play UT-Martin and Maryland-Eastern Shore the following day to conclude action in Peoria before facing Northern Illinois on the road for a nonconference tilt on September 4.
The Leathernecks then play in two Big Ten tournaments, first at Minnesota (Sept. 6-7) where they will face the the Golden Gophers along with Duke and Ball State.
Before heading to Iowa's tournament (Sept. 13-14), Western will play host to Chicago State in its home opener on Tuesday, September 10. Besides facing the Haweyes in Iowa City, WIU will also play in-state foe UIC, Ball State for the second time in a week, and Drake.
Western then heads to Chicago to wrap up its home-and-home with Chicago State on September 17.
The Leathernecks finish their nonconference schedule the following Friday (Sept. 20) at the Northern Illinois Tournament where they have matches with George Washington and former Summit League member Oakland.
The league schedule opens on the road for Western, playing matches at Omaha (Sept. 28), at IUPUI (Oct. 4) and Fort Wayne (Oct. 5).
Friday, October 11, and Sunday, October 13, will see North Dakota State and South Dakota State visit Macomb, respectively.
A week later WIU travels to South Dakota to face the Coyotes (Oct. 18), and Colorado to battle the conference's newest member, the Denver Pioneers (Oct. 20).
The Leathernecks then play five of their last seven games at home, all Summit League contests, beginning with a Saturday match versus Omaha on October 26. Western then plays host to Fort Wayne and IUPUI the following Friday (Nov. 1) and Sunday (Nov. 3).
After playing at North Dakota State (Nov. 8) and South Dakota State (Nov. 9), WIU concludes its regular season schedule in Macomb versus Denver (Nov. 15) and South Dakota (Nov. 17).
The Summit League tournament will take place on November 21-24 at a site yet to be determined.
"We have grown so much in the year that I've been here, and I feel confident in the training and development our athletes have undergone," continued coach Hall. "We deemed ourselves the 'road warriors' in 2012, and it is without a doubt in my mind that we will continue our success on the road in 2013. Beyond the road games, however, we're most looking forward to playing at home in front of our friends, family and beloved fans. We have a lot to prove on our home turf from last year. The team is greatly anticipating the start of season and we hope to see all of our fans at our games."
To view the schedule in its entirety, visit the related links section of this article.