NIU Invitational kicks off volleyball season

By Northern Star Staff

The Volleyball team announced its 2018 schedule on Tuesday, starting the season in August by hosting a pair of invitational tournaments.

The team, which went 8-23 last year, opens the season Aug. 24 against the DePaul Blue Demons as part of the NIU Invitational.

The invitational will see the Huskies face both the Xavier Musketeers and Oklahoma Sooners in a double header Aug. 25.

The Huskies will also host the Holiday Inn Express Invitational where they will play the Nevada Wolf Pack Aug. 31 and another doubleheader Sept. 1 against the Virginia Cavaliers and the Northern Kentucky Norse.

Additionally, the team will be a part of the Hampton Inn Bama Bash starting Sept. 7 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama and the Western Kentucky University Tournament starting Sept. 14 in Bowling Green, Kentucky.

Head Coach Ray Gooden said the early season non-conference schedule will provide a good test ahead of their Mid-American Conference play.

“Our schedule has a good balance of regional and national opponents,” Gooden said in a July 12 press release from the NIU Athletic Department. “The opponents we have lined up for this season will be a good test for our team leading into an always competitive MAC schedule.”

Their first game of conference play is Sept. 21 in DeKalb against the Toledo Rockets. They also play the reigning West Division champions, the Ball State Cardinals, Sept. 22.