SEWARD, Neb. â€“Â The Concordia University volleyball program unveiled another demanding slate of matches, as announced on Tuesday (May 30). The 2017 season is set to beginAug. 19 when head coach Scott Matteraâ€™s squad hosts Heart of America Athletic Conference member Baker University. The regular season schedule includes a total of 28 matches, including 10 against teams that were nationally ranked in the 2016 postseason coachesâ€™ poll.
The GPAC schedule alone will provide plenty of challenges. GPAC squads made up the top three spots of last seasonâ€™s final top 25 poll. This seasonâ€™s schedule also features nonconference dates with No. 17 MidAmerica Nazarene University (Kan.) (Aug. 26) and instate foe No. 23 Bellevue University (Aug. 30).
â€śWe believe very strongly that, as a nationally relevant program, we should be playing a tough schedule,â€ť Mattera said. â€śThe GPAC is the top volleyball conference in the country, but weâ€™ve also got some really nice out of conference matches as well.â€ť
For the third year in a row, Concordia will host the Bulldog Bash. This yearâ€™s event is slated for Sept. 1-2 and will be made up of 13 matches, including seven on the opening day of the Bulldog Bash. Among the invitees are NCAA Division II schools Chadron State College (Neb.) and Missouri Southern State University and University of Mary (N.D.).
The early season nonconference slate will have Concordia headed to the Kansas City area after playing two matches on Aug. 25 at Missouri Valley College. After finishing up action with MidAmerica Nazarene, the Bulldogs plan to complete their weekend by visiting one of the famed Kansas City barbecue joints.
With last yearâ€™s national rankings serving as a guide, the marquee home dates will be Sept. 20 versus defending national champion Hastings, Oct. 6 versus rival Doane (12th in final 2016 poll) and Nov. 1 for the regular-season finale when 2016 national semifinalist Midland visits Walz Arena.
*Based on 2016 postseason poll
(1) Hastings (twice)
(3) Midland (twice)
(12) Doane (twice)
(17) MidAmerica Nazarene (Kan.)