Head coach Travis Hudson and his staff have released the 2017 WKU Volleyball schedule featuring matchups with seven NCAA Tournaments teams from a season ago. A preseason exhibition with in-state rival Kentucky, as well as four more regular-season matches against Power 5 programs are on the horizon for the upcoming year.
“We understand the challenge ahead of us with this schedule,” Hudson shared. “We’ve been ranked at some point in each of the past six seasons and we want to continue to give our players the chance to compete at the national level and be challenged.”
WKU’s 30-match slate includes five regular-season conference champions as well as three conference tournament champions. Additionally, 14 of the Lady Toppers’ 2017 opponents notched 20+-win campaigns a year ago.
Three-time Conference USA defending champions, the Lady Toppers will kick off 2017 action with an exhibition at Kentucky on Wednesday, August 16, before heading to the Miami (OH)-hosted tournament from August 25-26. In addition to Miami (OH), Southern Illinois and Northern Arizona will also play on the opening weekend in Oxford, Ohio.
WKU will open play at E.A. Diddle Arena with a mid-week tilt on Tuesday, August 29, against Tennessee State. The Tigers are one of 19 squads on WKU’s schedule that posted winning records in 2016.
Following their first home match, the Lady Toppers will stay in Kentucky and head down the road to Louisville for a weekend outing. In addition to the Cardinals, WKU will also take on Illinois and Kent State across September 1-2.
After another Tuesday mid-week match as the Red and White take on Belmont in Nashville, the squad will host its annual Holiday Inn-University Plaza Invitational. WKU will play host to East Tennessee State, Pitt and Saint Louis from September 8-9.
Starting on September 12, the Lady Toppers will commence a six-match stretch on the road, which will begin in Nashville at Lipscomb. WKU will close regular-season tournament play with an appearance at Ohio State from September 15-16. In Columbus, Hudson’s crew will take on the Buckeyes as well as Dayton and Northern Illinois. All four teams at the weekend event appeared in last season’s NCAA Tournament and posted a combined 2016 record of 107-24.
WKU will open Conference USA play on the road at Florida Atlantic on September 22 before taking on Charlotte in North Carolina two days later. Finally returning home, the Lady Toppers will open 2017 C-USA action from The Hill on September 29 when Louisiana Tech comes to town.
In total, WKU will play 12 regular-season home matches and will look to extend its current 45-match home conference win streak dating back to the 2011 campaign.
For the first time in Conference USA volleyball history, the Lady Toppers will host the postseason tournament. The last time that WKU hosted a league tournament was in 2012, when Hudson and company came away with the Sun Belt tournament championship. C-USA action from Diddle Arena will take place November 17-19 with the top eight teams in the regular-season standings earning spots in the field. The Red and White will look to secure their fourth-consecutive league tournament championship since joining C-USA.
How to Follow the Lady Toppers: For complete information on WKU Volleyball, follow the team on Twitter at @WKUVolleyball and head coach Travis Hudson at @TravisHudsonWKU.