LakePoint, Ga. - The 2017 ASUN Volleyball season begins at the end of this month and all eight league teams have revealed their schedule for the upcoming season. Student-Athletes have reported back to campus as preparations begin for the 2017 campaign. League teams are battling to knock off Lipscomb, the two-time defending tournament champions. The 2017 ASUN Championship returns to Allen Arena in Nashville, Tenn. on November 16-18.
Lipscomb and Kennesaw State shared the 2016 ASUN Volleyball regular season title, and both squads have challenged themselves in the non-conference portion of their schedules as they look to repeat their regular season success.
The Bisons have once again scheduled a tough non-conference slate that includes matches against eight 2016 NCAA Tournament teams. Lipscomb faces Arizona at home on the opening weekend of the season, one of three opponents that advanced to last years Sweet 16. Head Coach Brandon Rosenthal also takes his team to Madison, Wisc. to take on the Badgers, an Elite 8 participant a year ago, and Texas A&M on Sept. 7-8. The Bisons open ASUN play on the road at Kennesaw State on September 22.
The Owls are coming off a 12-2 conference record last season, and a share of their first ASUN Volleyball regular season title. Head Coach Keith Schunzel has put together his toughest non-conference schedule to date, which features five contests against Power Five conference opponents. Kennesaw State welcomes Georgia and Tennessee to the Convocation Center while taking on Clemson, Louisville and Kentucky on the road before conference play begins.
Coming off a 27 win season, FGCU has unveiled a tough non-conference schedule which features two NCAA Tournament opponents from last year and four matches against top-100 RPI ranked squads. The Eagles return a core group and take on Miami (ACC), Indiana (Big 10) and Georgia (SEC) from Power Five conferences. The Eagles have scheduled two home tournaments to start the year, highlighted by an in-state showdown with UCF (61 in RPI).
Jacksonville, North Florida and USC Upstate each face one NCAA Tournament team from last season on this year's schedule. The Dolphins take on Purdue out of the Big 10 as part of the team's trip out west to Wyoming. It marks the first trip out West for the Dolphins in 46 years, as they face Wyoming and Eastern Michigan in addition to Purdue. Jacksonville's first conference match features a cross-town trip to UNF Arena to face North Florida.
The Ospreys have four road trips scheduled for the opening month of the season as Coach Loeswick and his team look to test themselves early on. They play weekend tournaments at South Carolina, Georgia Southern, Georgia Tech and Tulane, with two home contests scheduled during mid-week. This year's North Florida schedules features six teams that recorded 20 or more wins last year.
USC Upstate has scheduled four road non-conference tournaments to open the season as head coach Jennifer Calloway enters her 22nd year at the helm of the program. The Spartans, who made their first ASUN Championship appearance last year, take on Denver (2016 NCAA Tournament team), Wake Forest (ACC) and Tennessee (SEC) to highlight their non-conference slate in 2017.
Stetson opens a new era as head coach Deng Yang takes over the Hatters in 2017. Hatter fans will get an early look at Coach Yang and her squad as Stetson hosts two weekend tournaments to begin the 2017 campaign. NJIT has scheduled 11 home games for the 2017 campaign, with the home opener slated for September 19th. The Highlanders improved from six wins in 2015 to 11 wins last year and look to continue that trend in the team's third season in the ASUN.
Conference play opens on September 22nd with a showdown of last year's top-two seeds as Kennesaw State welcomes Lipscomb, while North Florida hosts Jacksonville in the River City Rumble. All eight teams will be in action that weekend.
2017 ASUN Volleyball Preseason Highlights
- ASUN Conference teams combine to face 14 NCAA Tournament teams for the second-straight season. Lipscomb faces the most tournament opponents with eight on their 2017 schedule.
- During the non-conference schedule, ASUN Conference teams take on 18 Power Five opponents. Five of the eight league teams face two or more Power Five squads.
- FGCU, Lipscomb and Stetson all host on the opening weekend of the season. The Eagles and Hatters are scheduled to host back-to-back non-conference tournaments to open the 2017 schedule.
- Jacksonville, NJIT and USC Upstate are each on the road for the opening nine games of the season. The Highlanders' home opener is scheduled on September 19th, while the Spartans won't play a home match until September 29th.