(Editor’s note: Montana State athletics release)
BOZEMAN — Second-year head coach Daniel Jones has released the 2018 Montana State Volleyball schedule, which includes four non-conference tournaments to begin the season.
The Bobcats, who recorded a 10-16 overall mark and a 6-10 Big Sky slate last fall and were in the hunt for a Big Sky Conference Tournament berth heading into the final week of play, will open the 2018 campaign at the Cleveland State Tournament, Aug. 24-25. The Bobcats will face the Vikings, Canisius and Binghamton in the opening weekend of action.
“We put a lot of thought and study into developing our non-conference schedule,” Jones said. “I am optimistic that we have a struck a very nice balance. We have set ourselves up to grow and be stretched from week one. Cleveland State was a NCAA tournament team last year, so opening up there will be a great way to take our first steps as a new group.”
The following three weeks, the Bobcats will compete in tournaments at Portland (Aug. 30 – Sept. 1), TCU (Sept. 7-8) and Seattle U (Sept. 14-15), respectively.
“Portland will be a strong tournament with some of the top regional teams in Wyoming and Portland, along with another NCAA tournament team in LIU-Brooklyn,” Jones said. “TCU, coming out of the Big 12, is going to be tough on their home court and we’ll finish at Seattle U with two matches that will not be easy. It will be a great way to finalize things we are working on prior to conference play beginning.”
Montana State will open the Big Sky Conference season hosting Portland State on Sept. 20. MSU’s first league road match will be at Montana on Sept. 25 to kickoff the annual Brawl of the Wild series. The Bobcats will host the Grizzlies on Oct. 23 in Shroyer Gym. The regular-season will conclude at Weber State on Nov. 17.
“Big Sky Conference play this year is an extended season, as they have done away with the divisions, and have gone to a modified round robin, where we will play all opponents twice, with the exception of one travel pair who we will play once,” Jones said. “This is great for our conference as it will truly mean the top eight teams will get to compete for the Big Sky Tournament championship, which is definitely our goal this year.”
Jones will return ten players from last year’s squad, including three starters (Natalie Passeck, Kelsie White, Hannah Scott) as well as libero – Allyssa Rizzo. Aside from doubling its win total from the previous season, the 2017 edition of Bobcat volleyball was highlighted by a victory over Big Sky Conference champion North Dakota in Grand Forks to snap the Fighting Hawks’ 20-match home court win streak, and a tournament championship at Utah State with victories over the Aggies, UC Santa Barbara and Pacific. In addition, the Bobcats swept its season series with rival Montana.
Tickets for the 2018 Montana State volleyball season will go on sale July 9, with the promotional schedule being released later this summer.
2018 Montana State Volleyball Schedule
Aug. 20 Carroll College (Exhibition)
Aug. 24-25 at Cleveland State Tournament (Cleveland State, Canisius, Binghamton)
Aug. 30 – Sept. 1 at Portland Tournament (Portland, Wyoming, LIU-Brooklyn)
Sept. 7-8 at TCU Tournament (TCU, Louisiana Lafayette, SMU)
Sept. 14-15 at Seattle U Tournament (Seattle U, Tennessee Tech)
Sept. 20 Portland State*
Sept. 22 Sacramento State*
Sept. 25 at Montana*
Sept. 28 at Northern Colorado*
Oct. 4 at Northern Arizona*
Oct. 6 at Southern Utah*
Oct. 11 Idaho*
Oct. 13 Eastern Washington*
Oct. 18 at Sacramento State*
Oct. 20 at Portland State*
Oct. 23 Montana*
Oct. 26 Northern Colorado*
Nov. 1 Southern Utah*
Nov. 3 Northern Arizona*
Nov. 8 at Eastern Washington*
Nov. 10 at Idaho*
Nov. 15 Idaho State*
Nov. 17 at Weber State*
* Big Sky Conference Match