Urbana University volleyball head coach Tim Balice announced the complete 2015 schedule this week. This year’s slate features 16 Mountain East Conference matchups, eight of which will be played at the Grimes Center. Altogether there are 12 home matches scheduled, including the return of the UU Tournament hosted by the Blue Knights on Sept. 11-12.
Enthusiasm surrounds the program following the hiring of Balice, as the Blue Knights are looking to continue the momentum built from their fourth-place MEC finish a year ago.
“I’m beyond excited to kick off this 2015 campaign,” Balice said. “The team and staff are both chomping at the bit to get in the gym and start training. The girls will be tested early in the season as we only play in the Grimes Center three out of 11 competition days prior to Homecoming. This will be a great opportunity to prepare for the heart of conference and build some team chemistry.”
As Balice noted, the Blue Knights will be tested early in the schedule. UU will play its season opener in Canton, Ohio at the Hall of Fame City Challenge hosted by Malone on Sept. 4-5. The Blue Knights open the tournament against the host Pioneers in the first of four matches in two days.
UU’s home opener against Ursuline College is set for the following Tuesday, Sept. 8, at 7 p.m. in the Grimes Center. The Blue Knights play the following night at Ohio Christian (Sept. 9), before returning home for the UU Tournament where the Blue Knights are slated to compete in three matches. UU takes on St. Joseph’s (Ind.) at 8 p.m. Friday, Sept. 11 and plays host to Ohio Valley (9:30 a.m.) and Walsh (3:30 p.m.) the next day.
A major test awaits the Blue Knights when they kick off a six-match road trip at defending MEC champion Wheeling Jesuit on Sept. 15 in the conference opener.
UU plays three more non-conference contests, including a road tri-match against Trevecca Nazarene and Kentucky Wesleyan (Sept. 19), and a trip to nearby Cedarville (Sept. 22) before returning to MEC action when it travels to West Liberty (6 p.m.) on Sept. 25.
The Blue Knights will play two matches in conjunction with Homecoming Weekend. UU will host Fairmont State on Friday, Oct. 2, (7 p.m.) and take on Shepherd (4 p.m.) following the home football game Saturday, Oct. 3.
MEC competition continues the rest of the way as the Blue Knights hit the road three out of the following four weekends to close out October. Back-to-back home matches appear on the schedule near the end of the month against West Virginia State (Oct. 23) and Notre Dame College (Oct. 27).
The later portion of the schedule favors the Blue Knights with four of the final five matches at home against Wheeling Jesuit (Nov. 6), West Liberty (Nov. 10), West Virginia Wesleyan (Nov. 13) and Glenville State (Nov. 14).