Courtesy: Western Kentucky Athletics
BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – Nine NCAA Tournament teams from a year ago highlight the 2018 WKU Volleyball schedule that features 15 matches inside the confines of Diddle Arena, head coach Travis Hudson and his staff announced Thursday. Hilltopper nation won’t have to wait long to see rematches from the NCAA Tournament First and Second Rounds as Kentucky visits The Hill for a preseason exhibition on Aug. 16 and Notre Dame comes to town on Sept. 7.
“This schedule presents a tremendous challenge for our young team,” Hudson shared. “It is a relentless stretch of high-level competition that will give our team a chance to grow prior to conference play.”
WKU’s 29-match slate includes five regular season conference champions (Kentucky, Charleston, Missouri State, Miami (OH), Austin Peay) as well as four conference tournament champions (Missouri State, Miami (OH), ETSU, Austin Peay). Of the 27 different squads the Lady Toppers will face off against, 15 owned winning records in 2017. Across the board, Hudson’s unit will face opposition from 13 different conferences including squads out of the ACC, Big 12, Pac 12 and SEC. The five NCAA Tournament squads visiting Bowling Green include: Kentucky, Notre Dame, Miami (OH), ETSU and Washington State. The four NCAA Tournament squads WKU will face away from home include: Charleston, Missouri State, Marquette and Austin Peay.
Four-time Conference USA defending champions, the Lady Toppers will kick off 2018 action with an exhibition against Kentucky on Thursday, Aug. 16, before heading to the College of Charleston-hosted tournament from Aug. 24-25. In addition to Charleston, Alabama and Missouri State will also play on the opening weekend in Charleston, S.C.
WKU will open play at E.A. Diddle Arena with a mid-week tilt on Tuesday, Aug. 28, against Belmont looking to build upon its 23-match win streak on The Hill. Following their first home match, the Lady Toppers will head up to St. Louis, Mo., for a weekend outing. In addition to the host Billikins, WKU will also take on Marquette and Kansas State across Aug. 31-Sept. 1.
For the first time in the Hudson era, WKU Volleyball will host two non-conference tournaments as the Holiday Inn-University Plaza Invitational and the WKU Tournament occupy the third and fourth weekends on the docket. Several high-profile programs will visit Diddle Arena as WKU hosts the pair of tournaments including: Chattanooga, Notre Dame, Miami (OH), ETSU, Washington State and Northern Illinois.
Just 10 wins away from the 600 career victory milestone, Hudson will coach games 8-16 of the season at home on The Hill.
2018 Western Kentucky Schedule
Aug. 16 vs. Kentucky #Exh.
Aug. 24 vs. Alabama (at Charleston, S.C.)
Aug. 25 at College of Charleston
Aug. 25 vs. Missouri State (at Charleston, S.C.)
Aug. 28 vs. Belmont
Aug. 31 at Saint Louis
Sept. 1 vs. Marquette (at St. Louis, Missouri)
Sept. 1 vs. Kansas State (at St. Louis, Missouri)
Sept. 7 vs. Chattanooga
Sept. 7 vs. Notre Dame
Sept. 8 vs. Miami (OH)
Sept. 14 vs. ETSU
Sept. 14 vs. Washington State
Sept. 15 vs. Northern Illinois
Sept. 18 vs. Cincinnati
Sept. 21 vs. Middle Tennessee*
Sept. 23 vs. Charlotte*
Sept. 27 at Southern Miss*
Sept. 30 vs. Rice*
Oct. 5 at Marshall*
Oct. 7 at Middle Tennessee*
Oct. 12 vs. UAB*
Oct. 16 at Austin Peay
Oct. 19 vs. North Texas*
Oct. 26 at UTEP*
Oct. 28 at UTSA*
Nov. 2 vs. FIU*
Nov. 4 vs. Florida Atlantic*
Nov. 8 at UAB* Birmingham, Ala.
Nov. 10 at Louisiana Tech*
Nov. 16-18 Conference USA Tournament
* – Conference USA match