EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WFIE) -University of Evansville volleyball coach Fernando Morales has announced the Purple Aces 2019 schedule.
Highlighting the slate is a trip to the Puerto Rico Clásico where the Aces open the season on August 30 and 31 against Providence and East Carolina. It will be held in Bayamoun, Puerto Rico, which is just outside of San Juan.
"Giving our girls from Puerto Rico the opportunity to play in front of their family and friends will be a great booster to start our season,” Morales said.
Following the season-opening trip, the Aces stay close to home for the next three weeks of non-conference play. On September 6 and 7, UE heads to the Redhawks Invitational, hosted by Southeast Missouri State. Following matches against Western Illinois and Jackson State, the Aces face SEMO, who picked up 16 wins last season.
Evansville heads to Tennessee State for a Sept. 10 matchup before opening its home schedule with the Dunn Hospitality Tournament. Making the trip to Meeks Family Fieldhouse will be Purdue Fort Wayne, Middle Tennessee State and Eastern Illinois. The tournament is set for Sept. 13-14. Home play continues on the 17th with a game against Tennessee Tech before the Aces travel to Martin, Tenn. for its final non-conference event. UE faces UTM, Arkansas Little Rock and Mercer.
“After the Puerto Rico trip, we have a tough pre-season schedule to prepare us for the MVC season,” Morales continued. “We have a young and talented team so it is going to be an exciting season for everyone."
Valley play opens with a trip to Iowa to face UNI and Drake. The Panthers are the defending MVC Tournament Champions and played in the NCAA Tournament, falling to Pepperdine in their opener. Evansville split the season series against the Panthers in 2018, earning their second-ever win over the program. Drake earned a berth in the National Invitational Volleyball Championship (NIVC). The Bulldogs are one of four UE foes to play in the event in 2018, joining UALR, Bradley and Valparaiso. UNI won 24 matches last year, including a 16-2 MVC record while Drake went 21-15.
Illinois State will mark the first home MVC contest on Sept. 30. The Redbirds were 25-8 last season and went 16-2 on their way to an at-large berth in the NCAA Tournament where they were defeated by Cincinnati in their first match. A 3-match home stretch continues into October when UE welcomes Valpo and Loyola on Oct. 4-5. Next up is an Oct. 11 game at Indiana State before road matches at Southern Illinois and Missouri State on Oct. 18-19.
UE completes the month with home matches against Drake and UNI (10/25-26) before beginning November with road matches at Loyola and Valparaiso. The Aces then return home for its final four home matches. Evansville welcomes Bradley on Nov. 4 and Indiana State on the 8th before taking on Missouri State and SIU in the final home weekend on Nov. 15. Regular season play wraps up on the road with a Nov. 22 contest at Bradley followed by a visit to the Redbirds on the 23rd in Normal. The MVC Tournament is set for Nov. 28-30 in Cedar Falls, Iowa.
Courtesy: UE Athletics