(Editor's note: MSUB Athletics release)
BILLINGS – Fifteen home games, including an exhibition against Montana State, plus hosting the ‘Jacket Volleyball Classic highlight the 2022 Montana State University Billings women’s volleyball schedule, as announced by head coach Casey Williams on Tuesday.
“My goal for the season is to find consistency,” Williams, who is entering her seventh season at the helm of MSUB volleyball, said. “I tried to find a schedule that would help set us up to be successful with that goal.”
For the second-straight season, MSUB will kick off the season by playing four home games in the ‘Jacket Volleyball Classic, held in Alterowitz Gym from Aug. 26-27. Three games in the CSC Tournament at Chadron State on Sept. 2-3 wrap up the non-conference slate before Great Northwest Athletic Conference play. All told, MSUB’s 15 home matches are the most the program has had since 2001.
All home matches will be played at Alterowitz Gym. Tickets are priced at $5 for general admission, $3 for seniors (ages 65 and up) and students in grades 7-12, and free admission for children in sixth grade and under, and all MSUB students and staff. All home games – plus the neutral-site matchups in the ‘Jacket Volleyball Classic – will be livestreamed on MSUB's YouTube channel [youtube.com]. Links to live stats for all games will be on msubsports.com.
Aside from the home-and-home series with in-city rival Rocky Mountain College, MSUB will host Montana State in an exhibition game for the first time since 1993 on Thursday, Aug. 18 at 5 p.m. The exhibition against the Bobcats will be a rare opportunity for MSUB to host, much less play against, a Division I opponent: MSUB’s last game against a D1 opponent was against Montana State.
“We are so excited to play Montana State – it’s even better that we get to play them at home,” Williams said. “I think playing great D1 competition that early in the season is going to be super helpful for us to get prepared for a tough GNAC schedule. We play MSU almost every spring season and they are a great team that will make us better.”
To officially kick off the 2022 campaign, the 'Jackets will play four games in its own ‘Jacket Volleyball Classic, which will be held from Aug. 26-27 at Alterowitz Gym. Including MSUB, six Division II schools will be attending: Chadron State College, the University of Mary, Minnesota State Moorhead, South Dakota Mines — plus fellow GNAC school Saint Martin's. Single-day passes will be available online for $8 at msubsports.com, or at the gate for $10. Tickets purchased at the gate can be done so with cash only. Children under the age of 11 or MSUB students and faculty (with valid MSUB ID) will receive free admission throughout the tournament.
A full tournament schedule is forthcoming.
Like every team in the event, MSUB will play four games in two days. The Yellowjackets' season debut will be a doubleheader against Minnesota State Moorhead and the University of Mary on Aug. 26 at 11 a.m. and 7 p.m., respectively. On the final day of the 'Jacket Volleyball Classic, MSUB squares off against Chadron State at 1 p.m. before closing out the tournament against South Dakota Mines at 6 p.m.
“We had a great start last year at our home tournament and I am excited that we are able to host again this year,” Williams said. “We had a lot of family and friends that made for a great tournament atmosphere and helped us start the season off strong last year. I am hopeful that will happen again this year. We match up really well with all of the teams coming to the tournament.”
MSUB then plays three games in two days at Chadron State College on Sept. 2-3, starting with a 5 p.m. matchup with the University of Sioux Falls on Friday, Sept. 2. A rematch with Chadron State kicks off Saturday’s doubleheader at 11 a.m., then a 1 p.m. match against Minot State concludes MSUB’s time at the CSC Tournament.
From there, MSUB will play an 18-game conference schedule. This year, the Yellowjackets will start conference play on the road at Simon Fraser on Thursday, Sept. 8 at 7 p.m. local time., then by playing the defending GNAC champions Western Washington on Saturday, Sept. 10 at 7 p.m. local time. Between the CSC Tournament and the beginning of GNAC play, MSUB will be on the road for five-straight games in September.
“Being on the road is always a battle and five matches on the road is a lot,” Williams said. “But I think our group will be well prepared for it.”
MSUB’s GNAC home opener will be against Alaska Anchorage on Thursday, Sept. 15 at 7 p.m., then Alaska will come to town on Saturday, Sept. 17 at 1 p.m. Then MSUB will hit the road to face Central Washington on Sept. 22 and Northwest Nazarene on Sept. 24.
Upon their return in Montana, the Yellowjackets will play three games in six days, starting by hosting cross-town rival Rocky Mountain College on Tuesday, Sept. 27 at 7 p.m. Last season, the ‘Jackets beat the Battlin’ Bears in straight-sets twice in a single season for the first time since 2004. From there, MSUB resumes GNAC play by hosting Saint Martin’s on Sept. 29 and Western Oregon on Oct. 1.
The 'Jackets have four-straight road games, starting at Seattle Pacific on Saturday, Oct. 8 at 2 p.m. MSUB will then make its annual Alaska trip – first by playing the Alaska Nanooks on Thursday, Oct. 13 at 4 p.m. local time, then by playing at Alaska Anchorage on Saturday, Oct. 15 at 7 p.m. local time.
The home game against Northwest Nazarene doubles as Pink Night, MSUB's annual partnership with the St. Vincent Healthcare Foundation's Eva Project to help promote breast cancer awareness. Central Washington will come to the Magic City on Saturday, Oct. 22 at 1 p.m., then the team will play its last GNAC road games at Western Oregon (Oct. 27, 7 p.m.) and Saint Martin’s (Oct. 29, 5 p.m.).
MSUB closes out the regular season on a three-game homestand, starting against Seattle Pacific on Saturday, Nov. 5 at 1 p.m. The Yellowjackets will host Western Washington on Thursday, Nov. 10 before wrapping up the regular season with Senior Day against Simon Fraser, which will be on Saturday, Nov. 12 at 1 p.m.
Should MSUB advance to the postseason, the NCAA West Region Championships will be held from Nov. 17-20 at a location that has yet to be determined.
Last season, the Yellowjackets went 12-16 and finished seventh in GNAC play with a 7-11 record.