NIU To Take On 10 NCAA Tournament Teams In 2017

  0 volleymob | June 15th, 2017 | College - Women's Indoor, Division I Mid-Major, News, Press Releases

With one of the most challenging schedules under the tenure of Head Coach Ray Gooden, the program’s all-time wins leader (289), NIU volleyball released its 2017 schedule on Tuesday, featuring 10 matches against 2016 NCAA Tournament participants.

In five of Gooden’s previous 15 seasons, the Huskies have taken on at least five reigning participants of the NCAA Volleyball Championship and posted 20-win seasons three times in those five years. During the 2013 and 2014 campaigns, NIU faced six teams that competed in the previous season’s tournament.

“This year’s schedule is a great opportunity for our players to grow and face new challenges as some of their roles on the team change. It will test our leadership and our toughness, but most importantly, prepare us for our grueling Mid-American Conference matches,” said Gooden. “It’s always a battle for the MAC Championship and our goal each season is to compete for the chance to play in December and I think this year’s schedule will help prepare us for those challenges.”

Nine of the Huskies first 14 matches feature said tournament opponents, starting with High Point and Dayton in the NIU Holiday Inn Express Invitational on Aug. 25. NIU will also welcome Cal Poly, which will feature six total matches at Victor E. Court.

After a midweek contest at Milwaukee on Aug. 28, Northern Illinois University will head West to Eugene, Ore. for the Oregon Invitational at Matthew Knight Arena Sept. 1-2, taking on Loyola Marymount, Texas-Rio Grande Valley and the host Ducks.

Another weekday match will open NIU’s third week of competition as it takes on Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls, Iowa on Sept. 5. The Huskies will return to Iowa on Sept. 8 for the Iowa Invitational in Iowa City, taking on the host Hawkeyes and Iowa State.

Northern Illinois’ final midweek contest versus in-state rival Illinois State (Sept. 12) will usher in its final non-conference stretch when it heads to Columbus, Ohio for the Buckeye Invitational Sept. 15-16 at Ohio State and Capital University. Once again, the Huskies will face Dayton before closing out against the host Buckeyes and Western Kentucky.

NIU will open MAC play Thursday, Sept. 21 in Kalamazoo, Mich., taking on Western Michigan. The following week, the Huskies will host their conference home opener on Sept. 29, taking on Eastern Michigan at 7 p.m.

Northern Illinois University will play six of its last eight matches of the season at home including a rematch of last year’s MAC Championship against Miami (Ohio) on Oct. 28 and the regular season finale versus Toledo on Nov. 11.

Postseason play begins Nov. 16 with the Mid-American Conference Tournament at Miami University with the championship being played on Sunday, Nov. 19.

NIU finished 25-6 last season, winning the MAC’s West Division, a share of the regular season championship and the MAC Tournament – it’s first since 2001 – to earn the program’s seventh berth to the NCAA Tournament. Eight Huskies from last year’s championship team return in 2017, including six that appeared in all 31 matches.

Season tickets for the 2017 NIU Volleyball season are on sale now and are available for $30. Fans receive admission to all 12 Huskie volleyball matches at half the price of single match prices. Call the NIU Ticket Office at (815) 753-PACK (7225) to purchase today or visit to purchase online.

Press Release courtesy of NIU Athletics.

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