Baltimore, MD – UMBC Head Volleyball Coach Ian Blanchard revealed the team's 2017 schedule this week as the Retrievers will look to improve on their third-place finish and advance to the America East Conference Tournament again for the ninth time under his tutelage. This year's schedule features eight home games, including six against conference opponents.
"We have put together one of the most challenging schedules we have ever had here," said Blanchard.
The Retrievers will begin the season during the final weekend of August, taking part in a tournament hosted by University of Maryland. UMBC will open the tournament and season with a game against the hosts on Friday, Aug. 25th at 7:00 PM, and will then take on Temple and Northeastern on Saturday at 1:00 PM and 4:00 PM. Maryland finished 12th in the Big Ten last season, while Temple finished third in the American Athletic Conference, and Northeastern finished fourth in the CAA.
"We start off with Big Ten competition to open the season at Maryland, where we will face Temple and Northeastern, teams that have always been at the top of the American and CAA," said Blanchard.
UMBC will then travel to Nebraska to take part in the Ameritas Players Challenge, facing the 2015 NCAA Champion Nebraska on Friday, Sept. 1st, and then Oral Roberts and St. Mary's on Saturday. Nebraska finished in second in the Big Ten last year with a 32-4 record, Oral Roberts finished fifth in the Summit League, and St. Mary's finished ninth in the West Coast Conference.
"Nebraska is a perennial top five team, and should be again" said Blanchard, "St. Mary's is always one of the top teams in the West Coast Conference, and Oral Roberts is a strong mid-western program."
The Retrievers will then play their season opener against Coppin State on Tuesday, Sept. 5th at 7:00 PM before traveling to local rival Loyola to play in another tournament. The Retrievers will take on Morgan State and Presbyterian College on Friday, Sept. 8th at 12:30 PM and 5:00 PM respectively, and then Loyola on Saturday at 3:00 PM. The Bears went 7-21 last season, the Blue Hose went 5-26, and the Greyhounds went 6-21.
"The Loyola tournament is great because we get to play local competition like Morgan State and Loyola," said Blanchard, "Plus Presbyterian College, who we've never played before."
The next Friday, (Sept. 15th) the team will travel to D.C. to play in the George Washington hosted GW Invitational. They will take on Delaware (12:00 PM) and Holy Cross (4:30 PM) on Friday, and George Washington on Saturday (2:30 PM). The Blue Hens finished sixth in the CAA, the Crusaders took sixth in the Patriot League, and the Colonials took eighth in the Atlantic 10 Conference last season.
"The George Washington tournament will be great because we will play Holy Cross, and a very good Delaware team," said Blanchard, "Playing Holy Cross has special significance to me. I was born in Worcester, Ma. and can still remember watching football games there as a small child. That school has long and deep history of outstanding academics and athletics. I am excited to compete against one of the school's I grew up admiring."
Next, the Retrievers will take on back-to-back defending MEAC champion Howard in a mid-week game at the RAC at 7:00 PM on Tuesday, Sept. 19th. UMBC will then travel to Hartford that Friday to open America East Conference play against the Hawks, who finished in sixth in the conference last season.
Nine days later, the Retrievers will remain on the road to take on Stony Brook on Sunday, Oct. 1st at 1:00 PM. The Seawolves finished fifth in the conference with a 4-8 conference record.
UMBC will return home to the RAC for two conference games the next weekend against Binghamton on Friday, Oct. 6th at 7:00 PM, and Albany on Sunday at 1:00 PM. The Bearcats are coming off a fourth-place finish in the conference while Albany is coming off a second-place finish. UMBC will look to avenge their conference tournament loss to Albany a year ago.
The Retrievers will then travel to New Hampshire to take on the defending America East Champion Wildcats on Friday, Oct. 13th at 7:00 PM. The team will remain on the road on Sunday to take on UMass Lowell at 1:00 PM to close out the first half of conference play. The River Hawks are coming off a last place finish last season.
Two conference home games will be played the next two Friday nights (20th and 27th) at 7:00 PM against Hartford and Stony Brook. In between these games will be a midweek tilt at Delaware State to take on the Hornets for their final non-conference match of the year.
The final road trip of the season will come next weekend, as the Retrievers have two games in New York with one at Albany and one at Binghamton. The Albany game is at Friday night (Nov. 3rd) at 7:00 PM and the Binghamton matchup is on Sunday afternoon (Nov. 5th) at 1:00 PM.
The season wraps up at the RAC with a match against UMass Lowell on Friday, Nov. 10th at 7:00 PM and then the regular season finale against New Hampshire on Sunday at 1:00 PM.
"The America East has shown so much parity and competitiveness over the last several seasons, and I expect nothing different, and maybe even more, this year," said Blanchard.
Series History vs Opponent: Last Meeting Date (Location), Result:
Maryland: 1-10, 8/31/2013, (N), W 3-0
Temple: 0-4, 9/17/2005, (N), L 3-1
Northeastern: 1-8, 9/18/2010, (N), L 3-0
Oral Roberts: 0-0
St. Mary's: 12-2-1, 1983, (n/a), W 2-0
Coppin State: 15-2-1, 9/12/15, (H), W 3-0
Morgan State: 41-2, 9/9/16, (H), W 3-0
Presbyterian College: 0-0
Loyola (MD): 48-14-1, 9/2/16, (H), W 3-0
Delaware: 8-26, 9/6/2013, (N), L 3-1
Holy Cross: 1-0, 9/16/2006, (N), W 3-1
George Washington: 1-22, 10/26/16, (A), L 3-2
Howard: 21-5, 8/30/2016, (A), L 3-1
Hartford: 25-5,11/12/2016, (H), L 3-1
Stony Brook: 14-15,10/21/16, (A), W 3-2
Binghamton: 14-19, 11/4/2016, (A), W 3-1
Albany: 8-27, 11/18/2016, (N), L 3-0
New Hampshire: 9-20, 10/30/2016, (H), L 3-1
UMass Lowell: 8-0, 11/11/2016, (H), W 3-0
Delaware State: 4-1, 9/3/2016, (H), W 3-1
2017 UMBC Volleyball Schedule
Fri. 25 at Maryland
Sat. 26 Temple (N)
Fri. 1 at Nebraska
Sat. 2 Oral Roberts (N)
St. Mary's (N)
Tues. 5 Coppin State
Fri. 8 Morgan State (N)
Presbyterian College (N)
Sat. 9 at Loyola
Fri. 15 Delaware (N)
Holy Cross (N)
Sat. 16 at George Washington
Tues. 19 Howard
Fri. 22 at Hartford*
Sun. 1 at Stony Brook*
Fri. 6 Binghamton*
Sun. 8 Albany*
Fri. 13 at New Hampshire*
Sun. 15 at UMass Lowell*
Fri. 20 Hartford*
Tues. 24 at Delaware State
Fri. 27 Stony Brook*
Fri. 3 at Albany*
Sun. 5 at Binghamton*
Fri. 10 UMass Lowell*
Sun. 12 New Hampshire*
All home games in Bold
*- America East Conference game