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Retrievers Unveil Challenging 2013 Volleyball Schedule
Head Coach Ian Blanchard
BALTIMORE – Before attempting to qualify for their school-record sixth consecutive trip to the America East Championships, the UMBC volleyball team will face a challenging out-of-conference slate, head coach Ian Blanchard announced on Thursday afternoon.
Ahead of league play, the Retrievers will take on foes from the ACC, Big East, Big 12, and SEC, in addition to playing matches against local rivals such as American, George Mason, George Washington, Loyola, and Towson. UMBC then jumps into over a month of conference matches with the slate expanding to 14 contests with the addition of UMass Lowell to the America East.
“It’s another challenging schedule and that is what our players have come to expect,” said head coach Ian Blanchard who will be entering his ninth year with the program in the fall. “There is not as much travel this time around because I think we were a little fatigued entering league play last year, but I promise recruits that we’re not going to back down from anyone and this schedule reflects that.”
The Retrievers will open the year with a short trip down I-95 to Washington, D.C. for the GW/Nike Invitational where they will take on the Ole Miss Rebels in the season opener on Friday, Aug. 30 before facing local foes George Washington and Maryland on Saturday.
Following the team’s home opener against George Mason on Wednesday, Sept. 4, UMBC travels across Charm City for the Marriott Greyhound Challenge hosted by Loyola. The Black and Gold will meet Delaware to start the weekend before taking the court against the host Greyhounds and LaSalle on the second day of the tournament.
UMBC returns home once again for a mid-week match, this time welcoming the Towson Tigers to the RAC Arena for a 7:00 p.m. match on Tuesday, Sept. 10. The weekend then brings the Fifth Annual Maddie Bingaman Memorial Tournament with Coppin State, St. Francis (Pa.), Howard, Loyola, and NJIT coming to Baltimore for the round-robin play.
The next weekend, Sept. 20-21, UMBC heads to the Mountaineer State for the WVU Gold and Blue Players Challenge and will take on Georgetown, Liberty, and host West Virginia. Non-League play comes to a close on Sept. 25 with another short trip south to play American.
Conference play kicks off the next weekend with the Retrievers hosting Stony Brook on Friday, Sept. 27 and continuing its home stand with two matches the following weekend against league newcomer UMass Lowell and New Hampshire.
“Last year was the most competitive the league has been in terms of parity,” Blanchard said. “Nearly every team had the ability to beat anyone else on any given night and I expect that to continue and grow even further this season.”
UMBC trades off its weekends home and away for the next five rounds of play beginning with a trip to New York to play Albany (Oct. 11) and reigning America East champion Binghamton (Oct. 13) before coming home to host Hartford (Oct. 18) and Providence (Oct. 20) at the RAC.
The second half of the conference slate starts with a Friday trip to Long Island to play Stony Brook. The Retrievers then come home for their final home weekend of the year when they play Binghamton on Friday (Nov. 1) and then Albany on Senior Day (Nov. 3).
UMBC closes out the regular season with four straight road matches, first going to New Hampshire and UMass Lowell before finishing against Providence and Hartford.
The America East Championships are set to be played Nov. 22-24 at the regular season champion’s home gym with the winner of the four-team tournament earning an automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament.