Coming off of a seventh straight 20-win campaign, Valparaiso volleyball head coach Carin Avery announced today the squad’s schedule for the 2009 campaign, which features 11 matches at the Athletics-Recreation Center.
The Crusaders kick off the 2009 season on August 28 as they face Colorado at a tournament hosted by Florida. Valpo will also take on UNLV in Gainesville before moving on the next weekend to the Drake Invitational, where it will match up with Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, South Dakota and Centenary in addition to the host Bulldogs.
The second weekend of September brings a challenging test for the Crusaders as they travel to Carbondale, Ill. to compete in the Saluki Invitational. The tournament kicks off with Murray State, which advanced to the OhioValley conference championship match last season, and continues with UAB, which won 27 matches out of Conference USA and earned an at-large berth to the NCAA Tournament, advancing to the second round. Valpo will also take on host Southern Illinois.
The Horizon League double round-robin slate kicks off for Valparaiso September 18 as the Crusaders play at Youngstown State. After facing the Penguins, Valpo heads further east to play a pair of matches at Pittsburgh, taking on the host Panthers as well as Maryland Eastern Shore, which won 25 matches and went undefeated in MEAC play last season.
Play at home at the ARC, where the Crusaders have won 83.3% (65-13) of the time in Avery’s seven years, begins September 25 against Wright State, kicking off a string of five straight home matches. Interspersed throughout the league double round-robin schedule are non-league tilts at home against Indiana State, Oakland and Chicago State and a road match at IUPUI.
The final home weekend of the season will be November 6-7, when the Crusaders host league foes UIC and Loyola, while the final match of the year at the ARC will be November 10 against Chicago State. The league slate concludes November 14 at Green Bay, with the Horizon League Championships being contested the next weekend. One last regular season contest looms November 28 at Western Michigan, where the Crusaders went and swept the Broncos immediately preceding WMU’s Sweet 16 run last season.
Valparaiso enters the 2009 campaign coming off of a 25-7 season in 2008, the program’s seventh consecutive slate with at least 20 victories. The Crusaders went 12-4 in Horizon League play, finishing just one game out of the league championship. Valpo welcomes back ten returnees from last year’s squad, highlighted by two-time Honorable Mention All-American and 2008 Horizon League Player of the Year Angie Porché (Lynwood, Ill./Thornton Fractional South), while also bringing in three newcomers.