By: Kenny Bybee (firstname.lastname@example.org)
2017 Rice Volleyball Schedule
HOUSTON -- The Rice University volleyball program has announced its 2017 schedule, featuring 28 regular season matches, including 14 at Tudor Fieldhouse. Times for all contests and television/streaming information will be made available at a later date.
"The 2017 schedule is going to be full of competitive matches in the preseason that will be challenging and beneficial for our team to prepare for C-USA," Rice head coach Genny Volpe said. "We're excited to play some old rivals again like SMU and TCU, as well as a couple of Pac-12 opponents. We'll compete against several teams that I believe will do well in the 2017 season. There's a lot of talent returning from many C-USA schools, so I think the conference overall will be stronger and more competitive. We will be young in some spots, but veteran in others, and I'm excited to get back into the gym in a couple months to get to work."
Rice will face four teams that competed in the 2016 NCAA Championships, three of which will occur in the first four matches of the season. The Owls will open the 2017 campaign at the SMU Doubletree Invitational, Aug. 25-26, which will feature host SMU, Mississippi St., and Texas A&M-Corpus Christi. The Mustangs went 26-8 in 2016 and advanced to the NCAA Tournament as did the Islanders (24-8). The Owls will then play a single match in Fort Worth at TCU on Aug. 27, who also qualified for last year's NCAA Tournament.
The Owls head west Sept. 1-2 to play in a tournament at Colorado, facing Wake Forest, Abilene Christian and host Colorado. Rice then returns to Houston Sept. 8-9 for their first home matches of the season as part of the Rice Invitational I. The Owls will host Cal Berkeley, Louisiana, and Incarnate Word.
After a single home match against Houston Baptist on Sept. 12, Rice will host their second home tournament (Sept. 15-16) of the non-conference season when they welcome in Georgetown, Arkansas St. and Stephen F. Austin. The Red Wolves (25-8) and Ladyjacks (20-11) are two of the eight 20-win teams from 2016 that Rice will face this season.
The Owls will embark upon the C-USA season beginning on Sept. 22 when they travel to UTEP, followed by a road match at Louisiana Tech (Sept. 24). Rice will then play three straight home matches versus Middle Tennessee (Sept. 29), Florida Atlantic (Oct. 6) and FIU (Oct. 8). After two road matches at Marshall (Oct. 13) and UAB (Oct. 15), the Owls return home for a pair of matches against UTSA (Oct. 20) and UTEP (Oct. 22).
Following road matches at North Texas (Oct. 27) and Charlotte (Oct. 29), the Owls return to Houston for their final two home matches of the year. Rice will host last year's C-USA champion WKU on Nov. 3, followed by Southern Miss on Senior Day on Nov. 5. This year's C-USA Tournament will be hosted by WKU, Nov. 17-19 in Bowling Green, Ky.
Season ticket members from 2016 can renew their tickets now by logging on to RiceOwls.com/myaccount while new season ticket sales will go on sale in mid-July.