May 10, 2013
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - The Marshall volleyball program released the 2013 schedule on Friday and revealed 11 home matches, two matches against 2012 NCAA tournament contenders and seven new opponents in the conference slate.
"This is going to be as challenging and as fun a schedule that we have ever faced," head coach Mitch Jacobs said. "We are facing a number of NCAA teams including Final Four finisher Michigan. The new additions to the league of course present new match ups. That will be great as it adds a freshness to the schedule."
The Thundering Herd will open the season on Aug. 30 in Charlottesville, Va. with a tournament hosted by Virginia. Marshall will face the Cavaliers, along with Montana and James Madison during the event.
Following the tournament, Marshall will have a weekend series in Kentucky and face Eastern Kentucky in the first of two matches scheduled for 2013 and then continue the tradition against Morehead State, showcasing the 62nd match between the two programs.
The Herd will return to the road the weekend of Sept. 6 and travel to Chicago, Ill. for the University of Illinois-Chicago (UIC) Invitational. Marshall will face 2012 Horizon League finalists UIC, as well as Denver and Chicago State.
Marshall plays its first home match in a midweek game on Sept. 10 against 2012 NCAA tournament contenders and Atlantic Sun champions, East Tennessee State. That weekend, the Herd hosts the fifth-annual Thunder Invite and welcomes Southern Illinois and Kent State, while finishing the second match of the series against Eastern Kentucky. Marshall won all three matches last season to keep the Thunder Invite championship title.
The Herd will then travel to Ann Arbor, Mich. to play in a tournament hosted by 2012 NCAA championship finalists and Big 10 champions, Michigan. Marshall will also be playing against Maryland and regional rival, Ohio.
After the Michigan tournament, Marshall begins the Conference USA schedule which features seven fresh faces including five previous Sun Belt Conference members (Florida Atlantic, Florida International, North Texas, Charlotte, and Middle Tennessee State) and two former Western Athletic Conference members (Louisiana Tech and UTSA).
The first league match will be against Florida Atlantic on Sept. 27. The conference schedule also includes familiar opponents in Tulane, Rice, East Carolina, UAB, UTEP, Southern Miss, and three-time consecutive C-USA champions, Tulsa.
After a one year interruption in an in-state rivalry that lasted 43-straight years, Marshall will resume the Golden Ball match against West Virginia for 2013. The match will take place in Morgantown, W.Va. on Oct. 29. Head coach Mitch Jacobs is 9-1 all-time against the Mountaineers and the Herd currently holds the Golden Ball trophy after defeating WVU 3-1 in the Cam Henderson Center in 2011.
"I just can't wait to begin preseason," Jacobs continued. "I like the team we have returning and I know they understand the strong challenge in front of us. I'm looking forward to adding our freshmen class to the mix and see if they can add to the positive direction our returning group has us going."