Six 20-win teams from a season ago highlight the 2008 Valparaiso volleyball schedule as released today by Crusader head coach Carin Avery.
The Crusaders will open the 2008 season at the Shamrock Invitational, hosted by Notre Dame, from August 29-31. Valpo will kick off tournament action against Nevada on Friday the 29th before facing IPFW on the 30th and Notre Dame on the 31st.
From there, Valpo heads to the adidas Classic in Bloomington, Ind., hosted by Indiana, September 5-6. Besides the host Hoosiers, the Crusaders will also face Louisville and Wake Forest at IU. Valpo concludes the pre-league tournament slate the next weekend at Western Kentucky, taking on Tennessee Tech and Furman in addition to the hosts.
“This is by far the toughest pre-conference schedule we’ve played in my years here,” said Avery. “Hopefully these matches will prepare us well for the rigors of Horizon League play.”
The Horizon League slate, a double round-robin schedule, opens up on Friday, September 19 at Butler. Valpo’s first three league matches will be contested on the road before the Crusaders open up the home schedule at the Athletics-Recreation Center against Cleveland State on October 3. Non-league matches interspersed through the league slate include hosting IUPUI and traveling to Bradley, DePaul and Chicago State.
The 16-game league schedule concludes Saturday, November 15 when the Crusaders host Wright State on Senior Day. The Horizon League Championship will be held from November 20-23 and will be hosted this year by Cleveland State. The league champion will receive an automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament.
“We are excited entering this year because we are more familiar with the Horizon League,” said Avery. “Last year was a transition year for the program entering the new league, and we’re looking forward to take the knowledge we gained last year and challenge for a league championship this coming season.”
Valparaiso registered its sixth consecutive 20-win season last year, finishing the 2007 campaign with a 21-12 record, and advanced to the championship match of the Horizon League Championship. The Crusaders return 11 letterwinners from last year’s squad and add three freshmen to the mix.