LakePoint, Ga. - The 2018 ASUN Volleyball season begins at the end of this month and all nine league teams have revealed their schedule for the upcoming season. Student-Athletes have reported back to campus as preparations begin for the 2018 campaign. League teams are battling to knock off Kennesaw State, the defending tournament champ and two-time defending regular season champ. The 2018 ASUN Championship will be hosted by Kennesaw State, November 15-17th.
Kennesaw State loses some key pieces from their 2017 Championship club, but that won't stop Keith Schunzel's Owls from playing a tough slate. This season the Owls' non-conference schedule features four Power Five opponents including Clemson, Washington, Pittsburgh and Auburn. Last season, Washington won 25 games, finished second in the ever-tough Pac-12 and made an NCAA Tournament appearance. Pittsburgh won 26 games in 2017, took the regular season crown in the ACC, and also made the NCAA Tournament. KSU will also take on 2017 NCAA Tournament participants in Dayton and High Point. The Owls open up ASUN play on September 21st against NJIT.
For the second straight season Lipscomb will play one of the toughest non-conference schedules in the ASUN. The Bisons will take on five NCAA Tournament teams from a year ago in Louisville, Purdue, Northern Iowa, Creighton and Illinois. Coach Brandon Rosenthal's club will also play their traditional Battle of the Boulevard game against crosstown rival, Belmont. The Bisons open up ASUN play on September 18th against North Alabama.
FGCU's non-conference slate features two 2017 NCAA Tournament teams in Miami and Alabama State. The Eagles kick off the season in South Beach with the Sunshine State Showdown, which features games against in-state foes; Florida Atlantic, UCF and the aforementioned Hurricanes. The 2017 ASUN Player of the Year, Amanda Carroll, gets to make her homecoming this fall, as she and FGCU travel to Albuquerque, N.M. for matches against New Mexico, New Mexico State and Eastern Kentucky.
Jacksonville doubled its win total from 2016 to 2017 and they look to continue that trend this season, but it will come with a new look as first-year head coach Evan Muys takes control of the program. The Dolphins face off with three NCAA Tournament participants from a year ago in Stony Brook, High Point and National Runner-Up, Florida. JU also gets other in-state matchups in USF and FIU. Jacksonville opens up ASUN action on September 18th against Stetson.
JU won't be the only River City school to debut a new head coach this year. North Florida will have a new face roaming the sidelines in Kristen Wright. The Osprey's start their season all the way out in Laramie, Wy. for a tournament that features matches with Wyoming, Colorado and Oral Roberts. UNF heads to Knoxville for a weekend, before coming home and hosting a tournament that features New Mexico, USC Upstate and Furman.
NJIT will stay close to home in the non-conference, as 10 of their 12 opponents are from the northeast part of the country. The Highlanders will play their first-ever game in the Wellness and Recreation Center when they begin ASUN action against Kennesaw State on September 21st.
Stetson opens up their 2018 campaign with a tournament down in Miami. The Hatters then take road trips to Tennessee and Texas before rounding out the non-conference slate by hosting a tournament that features opponents such as Brown, Chicago State and Bethune-Cookman. Stetson gets Jacksonville to start ASUN play on September 18th in DeLand.
ASUN newcomer Liberty boasts a non-conference schedule that features four Power Five opponents, including an NCAA Tournament team from a year ago, LSU. The Flames also take two trips to the Lone Star state for tournaments at Rice and SMU. Liberty will get their first taste of ASUN action on September 21st against North Florida. North Alabama gets their first look at ASUN opponents on September 18th against Lipscomb, but before that the Lions have a non-conference slate to go through. They will be exclusively on the road for the non-conference, as they travel to Jacksonville State, Chattanooga and Memphis for three tournaments.
2017 ASUN Volleyball Preseason Highlights
- ASUN Conference teams combine to face 16 NCAA Tournament teams after facing 14 in 2017. Lipscomb faces the most tournament opponents with five on their 2018 schedule.
- During the non-conference schedule, ASUN Conference teams take on 16 Power Five opponents.
- Five of the nine ASUN squads host non-conference tournaments in 2018. Lipscomb opens up the season at home against SMU.
- NJIT and North Alabama are the only two squads that will be on the road for the entirety of the non-conference slate.