VERMILLION, S.D. – A home match with Iowa and seven other teams that finished the 2018 season in the top 100 of the NCAA RPI rankings highlight South Dakota volleyball’s 2019 schedule released Monday by head coach Leanne Williamson.
The Coyotes will host a tournament inside the Sanford Coyote Sports Center for the second-straight season. Three road tournaments and a nonconference match against Iowa State, the 2018 National Invitational Volleyball Championship champions, precedes the 16-game Summit League slate.
“We are very excited for this schedule!” said Williamson. “We have a range of teams that will challenge us from the start and help build our program each week.
“A highlight is once again hosting a tournament in the Sanford Coyote Sports Center in front of our home fans. The three teams that we were able to bring in will provide great matches for our Coyote fans to enjoy!”
Two of the three teams coming for the South Dakota Classic on Sept. 13-14 had RPI’s inside the top 100 in Iowa and Wyoming while UC Davis completes the field. South Dakota will face Wyoming and UC Davis on Friday while taking on Iowa on Saturday evening. The Hawkeyes become the first Big Ten team to visit Vermillion while the match marks the eighth time that USD will face a team from the Big Ten.
South Dakota, coming off a 21-10 season, will begin the 2019 campaign in Indianapolis to participate in the IUPUI Classic where the opponents will be former Summit League member IUPUI, Valparaiso (a NIVC participant in 2018) and NCAA Tourney participant Murray State, the Ohio Valley Conference tournament champs in 2018. Valparaiso and Murray State each won over 20 matches in 2018 and had RPI’s inside the top 100.
The Coyotes will travel to take on Iowa State, who had a 60 RPI, the lowest among the nonconference opponents, on Sept. 3. The Cyclones won five matches, all at home, to claim the title of the NIVC and post a 20-plus win season.
A trip to Kansas City, Missouri, to participate in the UMKC tournament will be followed by the final tournament in Peoria, Illinois, at the Bradley Classic. Bradley is one of four teams that played in the NIVC in 2018 on the USD schedule.
“The remaining three tournaments all provide opportunities to see what we can do against opponents that we do not see yearly,” said Williamson. “Although we will have a large group of new faces, I am excited to see how this team tackles the challenges in front of us.”
South Dakota, the defending Summit League Tournament champion, will open league play with home matches on Sept. 27 against Oral Roberts and Sept. 29 against North Dakota.
“Once we get into Summit League action, we will once again be tested, said Williamson. “I believe that there are no clear cut favorites, which will bring out some great volleyball during the season.
“I know our team is looking forward to starting the season fighting for that top spot in the Summit League, but no match will be easy. I am looking forward to a year filled with great matches and opportunities.”
The South Dakota Showdown Series will see matches against South Dakota State on Oct. 8 in Brookings and Nov. 5 in Vermillion.
The Coyotes’ first match against Denver, the Summit League regular season champs in 2018, will be Oct. 6 in Denver. The Pioneers come to Vermillion on Nov. 3.
South Dakota will also play a match inside the Sanford Pentagon in Sioux Falls, taking on Purdue Fort Wayne on Oct. 20.
The Summit League Tournament will be held November 22-24 in Denver, Colorado.
Season tickets for Coyote volleyball are available online at GoYotes.com, or by calling the USD ticket office at 605-677-5959.