GREENSBORO, N.C. – UNCG volleyball head coach Corey Carlin has announced the program’s 2018 fall schedule Wednesday morning. The Spartans will play 29 total matches, with 16 inside Fleming Gymnasium. This year, the Spartans will host the Southern Conference Tournament November 15-18. Last season, UNCG finished 19-12, 11-5 in league play and earned their first Division I postseason appearance, competing in the National Invitational Volleyball Championship (NIVC) at Georgia against the UCF Knights.
UNCG has finished five or more matches above .500 in each of the last four seasons and have gone 11-5 in league play the last four seasons. The 2018 squad will return 11 letterwinners from a team that finished third in league play and will return first team All-SoCon and CoSIDA Academic All-American Allison Penner and former SoCon Libero of the Year, Christina Gregory.
“In each of the past four years, we have raised the level of competition in our non-conference schedule, with this upcoming season being the toughest schedule we’ve had yet.” Carlin said, “As we continue to elevate the bar in routinely competing for Southern Conference championships, the quality of opponents we will see in the preseason is a major factor. We want to play a good mix of very talented and experienced teams in preparation for league play, which this schedule provides.”
UNCG will start the season with an exhibition match at home against the UNCW Seahawks, August 18th at 3 p.m. The regular season will open as the Spartans and Wake Forest will jointly host the second annual Spartan – Demon Deacon Classic. Friday night UNCG will face the Air Force Falcons at home at 6 p.m. and Saturday morning UNCG will welcome in the Maryland Terrapins for an 11 a.m. match. The tournament will wrap up with UNCG facing the Demon Deacons at 7:30 p.m. Saturday night in Winston-Salem.
The Spartans hit the road for the second weekend of the season, as they will head to Chapel Hill for the North Carolina Invitational. UNCG will play the host Tar Heels at 6:30 p.m. Friday, August 31st before taking on Michigan State and Maryland-Eastern Shore at 11 a.m., and 4:30 p.m., respectively on September 1st. All three matches will be played in Chapel Hill. UNCG continues its road swing with a Tuesday night match at Duke at 6:30 on September 4th.
UNCG will defend its Spartan – Aggie Invitational title over the weekend of September 7th – 8th. The Spartans will host the Winthrop Eagles Friday night at 6 p.m. before hosting Delaware State Saturday at noon and North Carolina A&T at 7 p.m.
The following weekend, the Spartans will partner with Elon and High Point for a weekend tournament. The Spartans will play at High Point on September 14th at 6 p.m. before hosting the Kansas Jayhawks at 10:30 a.m. Saturday and Elon at 7 Saturday night. This tournament marks the conclusion of the non-conference season.
“Playing half of our non-conference matches against teams that ranked in the top 100 last season, with four of them being in the top 51, is an aggressive approach.” Carlin continued, “But our players and staff are looking forward to facing the stiff challenges that this schedule will present, especially with so many of these matches being on our home court.”
The Southern Conference season will begin on the road, as UNCG will head to Charleston for a matchup with The Citadel Bulldogs September 21st at 6 p.m. The road swing will see UNCG take on the Mercer Bears Saturday, September 22nd at 3 p.m. before heading to Western Carolina for a Wednesday night match at 6 p.m.
The Chattanooga Mocs and Samford Bulldogs will be the first two SoCon opponents in Fleming Gym for the 2018 season. The match with the Mocs will be served up at 6 p.m. Friday, September 28th with Samford coming to town the following night at 5 p.m. The home stand concludes with a matchup with the 2017 SoCon Tournament Champion ETSU Bucs at 7 p.m. Wednesday, October 3rd.
The following weekend UNCG will head to the Greenville-Spartanburg area for a Friday, October 12th matchup with the Furman Paladins at 7 p.m. before taking on the Wofford Terriers the next day at 4 p.m. to conclude the first half of the SoCon schedule.
UNCG returns home for a three-match home stand, taking on Mercer October 19th at 7 p.m. and The Citadel the following day at 4 p.m. The Spartans will host the Western Carolina four days later at 7 p.m. before hitting the road.
The Spartans have a three-game road swing, taking on Samford on Friday, October 26th at 8 p.m. in Birmingham and Chattanooga the following night at 6 p.m. UNCG wraps up the road swing with a match in Johnson City against the Bucs at 6 p.m. on Halloween.
The regular season wraps up in Fleming Gym as the Spartans will host Wofford and Furman on November 9th and 10th, respectively, with each match being played at 7 p.m.
UNCG will host the Southern Conference Tournament, November 15-18th inside Fleming Gym. This is the first time since the 2014 season. The Spartans have advanced to the semifinal round in each of the last three seasons.