The UTRGV Department of Athletics released the official 2019 volleyball schedule Wednesday. The defending WAC regular-season champions will face a difficult 30-game slate featuring four contests against squads that reached the NCAA Tournament a year ago.
The team will open the regular season with a bevy of weekend tournaments against a tough lineup of nonconference opponents. For the first three weeks of the season, UTRGV will travel throughout the Lone Star State participating in the Houston Baptist Tournament (Aug. 30-31), the UTSA Classic (Sept. 6-7) and the Texas A&M Invitational (Sept. 12-13).
UTRGV will have to hit the ground running against a slew of stiff competition, including Big South conference runner-up Radford (Aug. 30), a talented Maryland squad (Sept. 6) and the defending Sun Belt champion Texas State Bobcats (Sept. 13), who advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament in 2018.
“We have another challenging preseason schedule, and top-to-bottom it might be even more difficult than last year,” UTRGV coach Todd Lowery said in a news release. “We’re going to be tested every weekend during non-conference play. There will be a lot of big challenges to prepare us for the WAC.”
UTRGV will also face rival Texas A&M-Corpus Christi twice as part of the South Texas Showdown, with the first meeting between the two in Corpus Christi on Sept. 3 and the second — the first home game of the season — falling on Sept. 17 at UTRGV Fieldhouse in Edinburg.
The highlight of the UTRGV’s season, however, will come when it hosts Houston Baptist, Texas Southern and Washington State for the UTRGV Tournament on Sept. 20 and 21.
The Washington State Cougars, who finished last season ranked No. 16 by the AVCA poll, advanced to the Sweet 16 round of the NCAA Tournament before losing to top-ranked and eventual national champion Stanford. The Cougars will be the second-ever Pac-12 volleyball program to be hosted by UTRGV and the first since 2001.
“It’s exciting to bring a Pac-12 school to the Fieldhouse after bringing Texas Tech, another power 5 school, last year,” Lowery said in a news release. “To have a top 25 program come down here and give us a shot on their home floor is exciting and really shows the growth of the program over the last four or five years. With the program going in the direction that it is, those teams want us on their schedule and we want to play those teams and take our shot at them. The matchup is a tall task, but sometime volleyball is a little bit about matchups, and we’ll take our chances.”
Conference play will kick off Sept. 26 with a road contest against the Seattle University Redhawks. After completing a four-game road stretch, UTRGV will host its first back-to-back WAC games of the season against Grand Canyon University and Cal State Bakersfield on Oct. 10 and Oct. 12, respectively.
The regular season will wrap up with a pair of home games against conference foes UMKC on Nov. 14 and Chicago State on Nov. 16. The 2019 WAC Conference Tournament will be played Nov. 21-23 in Orem, Utah.
“The WAC was extremely competitive last year and the overall quality of the conference continues to increase,” Lowery said. “Our goal is to go out there and prove ourselves every single night and then make a run at the end of the year.”
Season tickets can be purchased online at UTRGVTickets.com, or by contacting the UTRGV Fan Relationship Management Center team of Anaclaudia Cervantes (956-665-3415) and Carlos Muñoz (956-665-3747) via phone or email at email@example.com.