Baltimore -- UMBC Volleyball head coach Cristina Robertson announced on Friday a challenging 2018 schedule which includes four non-conference matchups with 2017 NCAA Tournament participants.
UMBC opens the season by traveling north for the Penn State Invitational, where it opens the season against local rival Navy at 5 p.m. on Friday, August 24. On Saturday, the Retrievers face perennial power and defending national semifinalist Penn State at 10 a.m., before closing out the weekend against Eastern Kentucky at 4 p.m.
A trip to Nashville for the Bruiser Showcase hosted by Belmont the following weekend is next for the black and gold. The Retrievers face the host Bruins and defending Southern Conference Tournament Champion East Tennessee State on Friday, and close the weekend on Saturday morning against Tulsa.
UMBC then plays its first ever games in the brand new UMBC Event Center when it hosts Robert Morris (10 a.m.) and defending CAA tournament Champion James Madison (7 p.m.) on Friday, September 7. A match against Baltimore rival Loyola at 2 p.m. on Saturday closes weekend play.
The Retrievers then make the short trek to county-rival Towson for the Towson Invite starting with a 7 p.m. matchup with the host Tigers on Friday, September 14. Saturday matchups with Maryland Eastern Shore (10 a.m.) and La Salle (4 p.m.) conclude play for the weekend.
UMBC plays its first of two mid-week games on the season on Tuesday, September 18 when it travels to Washington D.C. to face Howard. The Bison have won three consecutive MEAC Tournament titles, and last season became the first team in 28 years to take an NCAA Opening Round set from Penn State (an eventual 3-1 loss).
America East foe Binghamton comes down to the Event Center to open conference play on Friday, September 21 at 7 p.m. The Retrievers then play their final mid-week and non-conference match of the season when they host Coppin State on Tuesday, September 25 at 7 p.m.
After a Sunday matinee at Albany on September 30, UMBC returns home on Friday, October 5 to face New Hampshire (7 p.m.) and two days later welcome UMass Lowell (1 p.m.) to the Event Center.
The Retrievers then play five of the next six matches on the road; at Hartford (10/12), at defending America East Tournament Champion Stony Brook (10/14) and at Binghamton (10/19). They then return home to host Albany (7 p.m.) on Friday, October 26, before heading to New England the following weekend to face UMass Lowell (11/2) and New Hampshire (11/4)
UMBC closes the regular season at home against Stony Brook (7 p.m.) on Friday, November 9, and then celebrates senior day against Hartford two days later at 1 p.m.
The top four teams qualify for the America East Tournament, which will be hosted by the top seed and will take place the weekend of November 16-18.