The UTEP volleyball team announced its tentative 2017 fall schedule. Thirteen home matches, including two home tournaments, will take place in Memorial Gym this fall. UTEP will open the year with 14 non-conference matches, including Texas Tech and New Mexico, before Conference USA play begins September 22.
“There’s a couple teams we saw last year,” head coach Holly Watts said. “We played at North Dakota and we played against Samford and to have them play here at our home court will be nice. They were both tough matches last year, but tough matches that we played well.”
The fall schedule kicks off August 25-26 in a rotating tournament in San Antonio, Texas, when the Miners take on Lafayette, Tulane, and UIW. The Miners will return home on Aug. 30 to take on Big 12’s Texas Tech in Memorial Gym.
The Miners will also host two tournaments in as many weeks, beginning with the Glory Road Invitational, which will bring New Mexico, Youngstown, and North Dakota, Sept. 1-2 and ending with the Borderland Invitational featuring Samford, Delaware State, and Abilene Christian Sept. 8-10.
“It’ll be great to have two tournaments, two weekends back to back right here at home,” Watts said. “It’ll give our fans something to watch early in the season so they’ll be excited to come back and watch more as the season goes on.”
A trip to Portland, Oregon, for the Portland Tournament Sept. 15-16 will round out tournament play for the Miners before the Interstate 10 rivalry match against NM State Sept. 19 in Las Cruses, N.M.
Conference USA play will begin with a two game home stand beginning with a Sept. 22 meeting with Rice and ending with a Sept. 24 match against UAB.
The Miners will then hit the road Oct. 1-8 for three matches against UTSA, Charlotte, and Southern Miss.
“That’s probably our toughest road trip in terms of logistics and getting to those campuses,” Watts said of the October weekend. “I’m glad that’s early in the season as far as the conference play goes, but really, we flip back and forth every weekend except for that stretch of three matches. We don’t have a game on the Friday before that Sunday away so I think its going to work out.”
The team will play host to North Texas Oct. 13 and have a rematch with UTSA at Memorial Gym that Sunday. The Miners will go to Bowling Green, KY, to face WKU, then meet with Rice again in Houston.
LA Tech and Middle Tennessee will battle the Miners Oct. 27 and 29, respectively, at Memorial Gym before the Orange and Blue make a trip to Florida to face FIU and FAU. Conference USA play will end with Marshall on Nov. 8 in Memorial Gym.
The Miners will face New Mexico in a non-conference matchup in Albuquerque before the Conference USA Tournament hosted by WKU beginning Nov. 17.
“We are playing some teams that have been to the NCAA Tournament recently so theres a level of teams that would be good wins,” Watts said. “At the same time, there’s some opportunities to win quite a few matches, so hopefully we’ll take care of business and get some wins.”