After three straight Mid-Continent Conference Championships, the 2006 Valparaiso University volleyball team will begin their quest for a fourth consecutive title August 25 with a schedule that includes four NCAA Tournament teams from 2005 and 10 home matches at the Athletics-Recreation Center.
Head Coach Carin Avery
announced the 32-match schedule today, a lineup that begins at the Chicagoland Classic, one of five in-season tournaments on the slate. UIC will host the four-team tourney that includes DePaul and Loyola (Chicago). Both UIC and Loyola, the defending Horizon League Tournament Champions, will become part of Valpo's conference schedule in 2007 when the Brown and Gold join the Horizon League.
On September 1, the Crusaders will make the short trip to South Bend for the prestigious Shamrock Invitational featuring 2005 NCAA Tournament Sweet Sixteen teams Missouri and host Notre Dame.
One week later the Brown and Gold will take part in the Cyclone Classic, battling Iowa State, Drake and South Dakota State in Ames and Des Moines, Iowa. Valpo then finishes their season-opening stretch of tournaments September 15-16 in Cullowhee, N.C. at the Catamount Clash V Tournament, hosted by Western Carolina.
Other non-conference opponents during the regular season include DePaul, Illinois State, Chicago State and IPFW at the Athletics-Recreation Center and a meeting with 2005 NCAA Tournament qualifier Missouri State on the road October 29.
The Crusaders' final season in the Mid-Continent Conference begins September 22 against Oakland, the first of three straight conference matches at the ARC. The Mid-Con slate concludes on Valpo's senior day, Saturday, November 4 at 5:00 p.m. against Western Illinois.
Oral Roberts will host the 2006 Mid-Continent Conference Tournament at the Cooper Aerobics Center in Tulsa, Okla., November 17-18. Following the conclusion of the conference tournament, the Crusaders will head to Oxford, Ohio to battle Miami and Akron at the Miami Thanksgiving Invitational.
Avery's 2006 Crusaders return only nine letterwinners and two starters from last season's 27-8 squad, but have won 29 of their last 30 Mid-Con regular season matches and 23 straight overall at the ARC.