Utah Valley University women's volleyball coach Sam Atoa has announced the 2016 schedule, and it features 15 home matches, which includes a pair of preseason tournaments in Orem as well as contests against four in-state foes.
"We're excited for this year's schedule. We have a number of home matches, which will be great for our fans and for our program," Atoa said. "We have some challenges though with our court under construction until the end of September, but we're looking forward to the opportunity of playing in the UCCU Center for the first time and the schedule as a whole."
Three of the four in-state foes on UVU's schedule will visit Orem this season, as rivals Utah State, Southern Utah and Weber State will take on the Wolverines in Utah County.
"It's always great to be able to play our in-state teams. I think that it's good for volleyball in the state of Utah as well as for each respective program," Atoa said. "We're looking forward to hosting three of the four this season and hoping that we can take advantage of being at home."
Following the annual Green and White exhibition scrimmage on Aug. 23, the Wolverines officially open their season at neighboring rival BYU on Aug. 26, as part of the BYU Invitational. After an opening match between Utah Valley and Brigham Young, the Wolverines conclude the tournament by taking on both Cal Poly and Rice on Aug. 27.
UVU then welcomes Idaho State to town for its 2016 home opener on Aug. 30, before hosting North Texas, SUU and San Jose State that weekend (Sept. 2-3) for the Wolverine Invitational. Following the Wolverine Invite, Utah Valley then travels to Hawai'i to compete at the Hawai'i Outrigger Resorts Volleyball Challenge on Sept. 8-10. While in Honolulu, UVU will take on a pair of 2015 NCAA Tournament teams in the host Rainbow Wahine and the Washington Huskies before wrapping up the weekend against Northern Illinois.
The Wolverines then return to Orem the following week for a trio of home matches, as they welcome Utah State to town on Sept. 13, before taking on UNLV and CSUN as part of the UVU/BYU Challenge on Sept. 16 and 17, respectively. All three home contests, along with the Wolverine Invitational, the Idaho State match and the Green and White scrimmage are scheduled to be contested in the UCCU Center due to ongoing renovations to the PE Building.
A year removed from tying for third place in league play with a 9-5 conference record, Utah Valley then begins its fourth season of Western Athletic Conference play on Sept. 22, at UT Rio Grande Valley. While on the trip, the Wolverines will also face defending conference champion New Mexico State on Sept. 24, before returning to Orem for their 2016 WAC home opener against Chicago State on Sept. 29. The Chicago State match is slated to mark Utah Valley's first contest of the season to be held in the newly renovated PE Building. During the home stand, UVU will also welcome conference foes Missouri-Kansas City (Oct. 1) and Seattle U (Oct. 8) to town before returning to the road to face CSU Bakersfield on Oct. 13 and Grand Canyon on Oct. 15.
Conference play continues for the Wolverines the following week when NM State and UTRGV come to Orem on Oct. 20 and 22, respectively. UVU then heads to Kansas City and Chicago the Oct. 27 and 29, for respective matches against UMKC and CSU, before returning home on Nov. 1 for its final non-conference contest of the year against fellow in-state foe Weber State.
After the final road contest of the regular season at Seattle U on Nov. 5, Utah Valley returns home for the final time on Nov. 10 and 12, when GCU and CSUB come to town for the final conference matches of the season.
The Wolverines then look to win their first WAC Tournament championship the following week, Nov. 17-19, when they head to Las Cruces, New Mexico, for the 2016 WAC Tournament. UVU, which went 14-14 overall a season ago, faces off against a total of four teams that made the 2015 NCAA Tournament this season as well as foes from the Pac-12, Conference USA, Mountain West, West Coast, Big West, Big Sky, MAC and WAC.
James Warnick is an assistant sports information director at Utah Valley University. For more information about Wolverine athletics, visit WolverineGreen.com.