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2017 Ohio Volleyball Schedule
ATHENS, Ohio -- The Ohio volleyball program revealed its 2017 schedule on Thursday (May 25), as announced by fourth-year head coach Deane Webb. The Bobcats' 30-match regular season slate is highlighted by four non-conference tournaments, 12 home matches at the Convocation Center and 16 Mid-American Conference matchups.
The Bobcats will battle five teams that ranked in the top-100 of the Ratings Percentage Index (RPI) in 2016 and eight 2016 NCAA Championship qualifiers.
"I'm looking forward to the opportunities we have to compete this fall," said Webb. "We have a number of competitive teams on our schedule that will prepare us for another season of MAC play. It will be important that we learn from each of those opportunities and see tangible progression throughout the non-conference portion of our schedule."
The Bobcats are coming off of a 2016 season that saw Ohio go 16-14 -- including an 11-5 mark in MAC play. Ohio earned the No. 3 seed in the 2016 MAC Championship and a bye to the tournament quarterfinal. The Bobcats swept No. 6-seeded Toledo, then fell to the No. 2-seed and eventual tournament champion Northern Illinois in the league semifinal. Ohio advanced to the conference tournament semifinal for the 15th year in a row.
Ohio opens the new season in Birmingham, Ala., at the Courtyard By Marriott Invitational (Aug. 25-26) and will take on two NCAA Championship participants right off the bat. The Bobcats face Murray State in their first match of 2017. The Racers went 23-9 last year and won the Ohio Valley Conference tournament before falling to No. 10-ranked UCLA, 3-1, in an NCAA Championship First Round matchup. Ohio closes the first day of the season by squaring off against host Samford. The Bulldogs finished 21-14 en route to capturing the Southern Conference tournament crown. Samford's season ended with a 3-0 loss to No. 4-ranked Kansas in the NCAA Championship First Round. Ohio closes out their stay in Birmingham by clashing with Southeastern Louisiana the following day.
Ohio returns to the friendly confines of the Convo to play host to the annual Bobcat Invitational, which features two Power Five conference opponents and another 2016 NCAA Championship qualifier. The Bobcats face off against Southeastern Conference opponent Georgia and Big 12 Conference opponent Oklahoma on Sept. 1, then close out their home tournament with a matchup against High Point on Sept. 2. The Panthers won the Big South Conference tournament after going 23-10 in the regular season last year. High Point fell to No. 7-ranked North Carolina, 3-0, in NCAA Championship First Round action. Ohio has never faced Georgia and will be playing Oklahoma for a second year in a row after meeting for the first time ever in the NIKE Invitational last September in Norman, Okla.
The Bobcats then make the trek to Charlottesville, Va., for the Jefferson Cup presented by Fairfield Inn & Suites. Another 2016 NCAA Championship qualifier awaits Ohio on Sept. 8 as Howard won the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference tournament before being defeated by No. 3-ranked Wisconsin, 3-0, in the first round of the national postseason tournament. The Bobcats close out the weekend by facing both VCU and host Virginia on Sept. 9. Ohio will take on VCU for a third time in the last four seasons.
Ohio's final non-conference tournament features one of the great atmospheres in all of college volleyball -- Rec Hall in University Park, Pa. The Bobcats will meet Wake Forest on Sept. 15 before battling both Yale and host Penn State the following day in the Penn State Classic. The Nittany Lions went 24-10 last year and advanced all the way to the NCAA Regional Semifinals. Penn State swept LIU Brooklyn, 3-0, and knocked off Pittsburgh, 3-1, before being edged by Nebraska, 3-2, in the third round of the national postseason tournament. The Bobcats have faced the seven-time national champion Nittany Lions just once before in program history -- a 3-0 loss on Aug. 31, 2008, in the Hawaiian Wahine Classic in Honolulu.
In addition to the four pre-conference tournaments, Ohio is set to play two non-conference matches against regional rivals. The Bobcats will visit in-state rival Dayton on Aug. 29. The Flyers finished 30-2 and won the Atlantic 10 Conference Championship before their season came to an end in a 3-1 loss to Pittsburgh in 2016 NCAA Championship First Round action. Ohio will also play host to longtime rival Marshall on Sept. 5 at the Convo. The Bobcats last hosted the Thundering Herd on Sept. 10, 2011 -- a 3-0 sweep in the Baymont Inn & Suites Invitational.
Ohio, which has won nine league regular season crowns and three in the last five years, begins its 2017 MAC schedule with a pair of road matches against East Division rivals Buffalo (Sept. 22) and Akron (Sept. 23). The Bobcats swept the regular season series from both teams in 2016, marking the sixth-straight season Ohio has achieved the feat.
The Bobcats then head back to the Convo for a showdown against archrival Miami (Sept. 29). The RedHawks swept the 2016 regular season series from Ohio en route to winning the MAC regular season title. Miami was swept by Northern Illinois in the MAC tournament title match last year but still earned an at-large bid to the 2016 NCAA Championship, where it fell to Oregon, 3-1, in the first round. Ohio closes out the second weekend of league play by playing host to Bowling Green (Sept. 30). The Bobcats have swept the Falcons in each of the last four seasons. It took an exciting five-set win in Athens for Ohio to seal the season sweep last year.
Ohio then heads north to take on rival Kent State (Oct. 5) at the M.A.C. Center. The Bobcats swept last year's series with the Golden Flashes thanks to a pair of 3-1 wins. The third weekend of conference play ends in Ypsilanti, Mich., with a matchup against Eastern Michigan (Oct. 7). The Bobcats rallied from a 2-1 deficit to beat the Eagles in five sets last year in Athens.
The Bobcats return to Athens to play host to a pair of MAC West Division foes on the fourth weekend of the league schedule. Ohio first welcomes Toledo (Oct. 13) with its sights set on avenging a tough 3-1 loss to the Rockets on the road last year. The Bobcats will then square off with Ball State (Oct. 14) the following day. The signature win of the 2016 season came over the Cardinals in Muncie, Ind., as Ohio rallied from a 2-1 match deficit and a 17-12 deficit in the fourth set, forcing a fifth set with a 32-30 win and closing out the rally with a 15-11 victory in the fifth. In Ball State's last visit to Athens, Ohio prevailed in five sets in 2015.
Ohio continues its stretch of matches against MAC West teams by visiting Northern Illinois (Oct. 20) and Western Michigan (Oct. 21). The Bobcats lost a tough 3-2 battle to the Huskies last regular season in Athens before being swept by Northern Illinois in the league semifinals. After sweeping Miami in the MAC tournament title match last season, Northern Illinois was swept by No. 15 Missouri, 3-0, in 2016 NCAA Championship First Round action. Ohio has taken two straight from the Broncos -- including a 3-1 win in 2015 in its last trip to Kalamazoo, Mich.
The Bobcats will then play all five MAC East Division rivals again. Ohio hosts both Akron (Oct. 27) and Buffalo (Oct. 28), then hits the road for the final time in the regular season to visit Bowling Green (Nov. 3) and Miami (Nov. 4) before making its way back to the Convo to battle Kent State (Nov. 9).
Ohio's 2017 regular season schedule concludes with a contest against MAC West Division foe Central Michigan (Nov. 11) on Senior Day. The Bobcats will be looking to avenge a 3-2 loss to the Chippewas last year in Mount Pleasant, Mich.
Ohio will then take aim at winning its second MAC Championship title in three years and 10th in program history. The 2017 league tournament will be held Nov. 16-19 at Millett Hall in Oxford, Ohio, by virtue of Miami capturing the 2016 MAC regular season championship. The winner of the 2017 MAC Championship will secure the league's automatic bid to the 2017 NCAA Championship.
The 2017 NCAA Championship begins with first and second-round action (Nov. 30-Dec. 2) at campus sites. The regionals will be held Dec. 8-9 at campus sites. The 2017 NCAA Championship will take place at Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo., with the semifinals being held on Dec. 14 and the title match taking place on Dec. 16. Stanford enters the 2017 season as the defending national champion. The Bobcats are looking to make their 11th trip to the national postseason and second in a row. Ohio is 5-10 (.333) all-time in NCAA Championship play and advanced to a regional semifinal in 2005.
The Bobcats have gone 64-28 (.696) in three seasons under the direction of Webb -- including 40-8 in the MAC play. Ohio won a MAC regular season title with a perfect 16-0 (1.000) league year in 2014, then captured the conference tournament title in 2015.