BILLINGS – Laurie Kelly, head coach of the Rocky Mountain College volleyball team, announced the 2018 schedule for the Battlin’ Bears this afternoon. The slate has Rocky competing in three regular season tournament along with hosting eight home matches in the Fortin Education Center.
The Battlin’ Bears will open the season at the Summer Slam in Fullerton, California, where three of the four teams they face ended the year ranked in the NAIA Top 25 Coaches’ Poll. That includes matches on the first day of the season, August 15, against No. 5 Westmont and No. 7 College of Idaho.
Rocky will face two more ranked teams the following weekend at the Big Sky Classic in Butte. After playing Dickinson State and Multnomah on August 24, the schedule brings matches with No. 12 Eastern Oregon and No. 21 Northwest (Wash.) on August 25 at the Butte Civic Center.
The schedule gets tougher the following weekend at the Bellevue Labor Day Classic with matches against four ranked opponents. The Battlin’ Bears will play No. 2 Dordt and No. 11 Northwestern (Iowa) on August 31 before playing No. 16 Morningside and No. 19 Bellevue on September 1.
After playing the annual Alumni Match on September 8, the Battlin’ Bears host perennial NCAA DII power Alaska-Anchorage on September 13.
Rocky will play MSU Billings twice during the season. The crosstown rivals will meet at the Fortin Center on September 18 and then at Alterowitz Gymnasium on October 23.
The final regular season tournament for Rocky is the Grand View Tournament on October 12-13 in Des Moines, Iowa. The Battlin’ Bears will face No. 3 Viterbo and No. 10 Grand View among their four matches that weekend.
The Frontier Conference schedule has Rocky playing four of the first six matches away from home, staring in Dillon on September 14 against Montana Western. Providence is the first home conference match on September 27.
The final four matches of the conference season will all be in the Fortin Center, including an October 19 match against Carroll and October 27 against defending Frontier champion, Montana Tech.
Montana Tech is the host of the Frontier Conference Tournament with quarterfinal matches being played on November 9. The semifinals and championship are scheduled for November 10.
Rocky finished the 2017 season at 23-11 and placed second in the Frontier with a 9-3 mark in league matches. They advanced to the championship match of the conference tournament before falling to Montana Tech. The team returns nine players that saw action last season, including four starters.