HIGH POINT, N.C. – High Point University volleyball head coach Tom Mendoza has released the program’s slate for the 2016 season, which features 24 matches in the Carolinas.
The Panthers will take part in non-conference tournaments at Clemson, North Carolina State and Wake Forest while also co-hosting a tournament with Triad rivals Elon and UNCG. Last season, HPU went 13-4 against the opponents that are back on the schedule for the 2016 season.
“Our non-conference schedule gives us the opportunity to play top-level competition within our region,” head coach Tom Mendoza said. “We believe that will prepare us for what we are aiming to achieve in the conference season. I think there is the balance of pushing our team, while also providing the opportunity for success. As we gear up for the season, we are looking to put together systems that give us a chance at success early, but that will allow us to peak in November for the conference tournament and hopefully the national tournament.”
HPU opens the season at Clemson Invitational against the Tigers on August 28. The next day the Panthers will take on Wofford and William & Mary to wrap up the opening weekend. HPU bested the Terriers in the final match of the season-opening tournament in Georgia last season.
The next weekend the squad will return to the Millis Center where it went 11-5 in 2015. Mendoza’s first outing in front of the home crowd will come at 6 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 2 against intra-Triad rival UNCG. The Panthers then bounce back for a busy Saturday when they travel to Elon at 11 a.m. before driving back home to host Youngstown State at 7 p.m. on the same day.
The following Tuesday (Sept. 6) the Purple & White will play their only non-conference midweek match of the season at VCU.
After that match, High Point will head to Raleigh to play N.C. State on Friday, Sept. 9 before taking on SMU and Delaware the following afternoon. From there, the non-conference schedule wraps up in Winston-Salem, N.C. against UNC Charlotte (Sept. 16) and Wake Forest and Wofford (Sept. 17).
“The conference schedule is different this year with us getting a full double round robin, which will be great for producing a true league champion,” Mendoza said of the Big South’s changes. “Starting this year, there will only be six teams in the conference tournament with the top two seeds getting a bye. So there’s an added importance on each match since it’s not only harder to make the tournament but teams will also try to position themselves to get a bye into the semifinals.”
With Coastal Carolina’s departure from the Big South, the conference slate is now 16 matches with two against each league foe. The conference also has added Tuesday night matches to the rotation for 2016.
The Panthers finished second in the league in 2015 with two of their three loses coming to the non-departed Chanticleers. The other regular season setback came at Liberty where the 2016 Big South Tournament will be held from Nov. 18-20.
Big South Conference Slate:
Conference Opponent 2015 Big South Record Home Date Away Date Campbell 6-8, 7th Tues., Oct. 18 Tues., Oct. 4 Charleston Southern 4-10, 8th Fri., Oct. 7 Sat., Oct. 22 Gardner-Webb 3-11, 10th Fri., Nov. 11 Fri., Oct. 14 Liberty 9-5, 3rd Fri., Sept. 23 Sat., Nov. 5 Presbyterian College 2-12, 11th Sat., Nov. 12 Fri., Oct. 21 Radford 7-8, 6th Tues., Nov. 1 Fri., Sept. 20 UNC Asheville 8-6, 4th Sat., Sept. 24 Sat., Oct. 15 Winthrop 7-7, 5th Sat., Oct. 29 Sat., Oct. 1