CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Head Volleyball Coach Gokhan Yilmaz has announced the 2014 volleyball schedule featuring 33 contests with a 16-game Conference USA slate. The 2014 schedule will feature a season-opening tournament at home, six in-state opponents, two NCAA tournament teams from a year ago and a visit from the reigning C-USA champs a part of four home weekends during league play.
Charlotte will begin the 2014 campaign hosting the 49er Invitational August 29-30 featuring six teams, playing nine matches in a 36-hour timeframe. The Niners’ first match will be against Morgan State at 2:30 p.m. on that Friday with a second match to follow against UNC Greensboro at 7:30 p.m.
The second day for Charlotte begins with East Tennessee State at 12 noon before wrapping up with the furthest traveling team in the tournament, Sacramento State at 7:00 p.m. The five-team invitational will begin at 9:00 a.m. on Friday with the first of five matches on the day before starting again at 9:30 a.m. Saturday with four matches.
“We are excited to play a challenging schedule in 2014,” commented Yilmaz. “We have a tough tournament at home to start the season with matches against former A-10 foe Dayton and Jacksonville who was a NCAA tournament team last season. These non-conference matches will help us play better in Conference USA as it just got tougher again with Western Kentucky entering.”
The Niners will play their first stand-alone match just days later on Tuesday, September 2nd hosting Winthrop before heading out on the road for the next three weeks.
The first weekend in September features a trip to Philadelphia to take on Princeton, host Temple and Holy Cross in the Temple Invitational before a following midweek trip to Western Carolina. Charlotte then makes its annual appearance in the Wildcat Classic hosted by Davidson taking on High Point, the hosts and UNC Wilmington. Davidson is the first rematch opponent from a year ago with the Niners fell in five on August 31st.
Tuesday, September 16th features the final non-conference rematch of last season traveling to Gardner-Webb. The Niners swept away the Bulldogs at home back on September 24th.
The final tune-up before the powerful Conference USA season arrives will be at the North Florida/Jacksonville Invitational. Day one on September 19th will features matches against Dayton and co-host North Florida. September 19th will see the Niners travel over to Jacksonville University for contests against Nicholls State and the co-hosting Dolphins. Charlotte will end non-conference play with Jacksonville who sports the best record of all non-conference opponents on the 2014 schedule. The Dolphins posted a 30-4 record from a year ago, an Atlantic Sun Championship and NCAA Tournament appearance.
For the first time since the return to Conference USA, the Niners will open up league play at home September 23rd hosting Marshall for a Tuesday night tilt at 7:00 p.m. UAB will follow on Friday to complete the first weekend of play.
October starts with the first of two, three-game road trips traveling to Southern Miss and Rice for a Friday/Sunday weekend of October before a trip and appearance with C-USA newcomer Western Kentucky two days later. Charlotte will host the two Florida schools, FIU and FAU upon returning to Halton Arena that weekend before heading to North Texas and Marshall.
Charlotte will be at home for all of the Homecoming 2014 festivities hosting Louisiana Tech on Friday, October 24th before welcoming UTSA, the C-USA champs from a year ago on Sunday, October 26th. The Roadrunners claimed the 2014 title and NCAA berth for the league falling to Texas A&M in the opening round.
The final three-game road trip of the year will be spread out over the league’s furthest opponents traveling to FAU and FIU to open up November in front of a lone match the following Sunday at UTEP in El Paso. The Niners knocked off UTEP in their only meeting last year 3-1 inside Halton Arena.
The final regular season weekend is slightly altered facing Middle Tennessee on Thursday, November 13th while the finale comes on Sunday against Southern Miss. Southern Miss will host the annual Conference USA tournament November 21-23 in Hattiesburg, Mississippi.
With the loss of Tulane and Tulsa, Conference USA will be up for grabs in 2014 as all but UTSA posted a record no better than a game over .500 in league play a season ago.
Overall, the Niners will make three separate trips to the state of Texas, play four matches in the central time zone and one in the mountain.
Fans will get their first look at the Niners on Saturday, August 23rd during the Green/White Scrimmage at 7:00 p.m. inside Halton Arena. This will mark the final tune-up before the official season-opener against Morgan State in the 49er Invitational.
Fans can keep up with the Niners volleyball program all year long by following @49erVolleyball on Twitter.
9:00 a.m. – ETSU vs. Morgan State
12:00 p.m. – UNC Greensboro vs. Sacramento State
2:30 p.m. – Charlotte vs. Morgan State
5:00 p.m. – ETSU vs. Sacramento State
7:30 p.m. – Charlotte vs. UNC Greensboro
9:30 a.m. – Morgan State vs. Sacramento State
12:00 p.m. – Charlotte vs. ETSU
3:30 p.m. – UNC Greensboro vs. Morgan State
7:00 p.m. – Charlotte vs. Sacramento State