Volleyball — In-state rivals highlight 2017 NSU schedule

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NATCHITOCHES – The 2017 Northwestern State volleyball schedule has plenty of Louisiana flavor.

The Lady Demons will face seven in-state opponents a total of nine times in the 30-match schedule announced by head coach Sean Kiracofe on Wednesday afternoon.

Among the Louisiana schools on NSU’s 2017 schedule are UL Monroe, UL Lafayette, Tulane, McNeese, Nicholls, Southeastern Louisiana and New Orleans. The Lady Demons will face McNeese and Nicholls twice apiece and will see UL Lafayette and Tulane in tournament action.

“We’ve been talking specifically with (coach) Patrick (Hiltz) at Monroe about having a home-and-home series, playing on a regular basis,” said Kiracofe, whose third season will begin Aug. 25 in a tournament at Oklahoma. “It’s good for the state to have continual rivalries and to play on a season-by-season basis.”

The Aug. 25-26 tournament hosted by Oklahoma is one of four in which NSU will participate. The Lady Demons head to Troy (Sept. 1-2), Ole Miss (Sept. 7-8) and Tulane (Sept. 15-16) during tournament play.

UL Lafayette joins NSU at the Ole Miss Tournament while a matchup with Tulane marks the first time the Lady Demons and Green Wave will square off since 2000.

“We were looking, again, for an in-state rivalry and being closer to home before conference play starts,” Kiracofe said. “It worked out well that Tulane was hosting that weekend. It just fit. As always, we schedule tough (in tournaments) to give us an idea of what to strive for. There’s good competition across the board in those tournaments.”

Before Southland Conference play begins Sept. 21, Northwestern State will play a pair of mid-week contests at Alcorn State (Aug. 30) and ULM (Sept. 12). NSU will host Alcorn State Sept. 28 in a mid-week matchup that serves as its home opener.

“The mid-week at Alcorn State worked out perfectly,” Kiracofe said. “It was presented as an option after we had agreed to play at Troy. It’s basically a match on the way to Troy. Things just fell into place with that one.”

Northwestern State opens Southland Conference play with a pair of road matches Sept. 21 and 23 at Lamar and Stephen F. Austin, respectively. After facing Alcorn at home, NSU heads back on the road for a Sept. 30 match at Central Arkansas to conclude a three-match road swing to start league play.

NSU plays its first home SLC match Oct. 5 when it hosts Incarnate Word. The Lady Demons also host Texas A&M-Corpus Christi (Oct. 7), Sam Houston State (Oct. 26) and Abilene Christian (Oct. 28) in SLC play.

Northwestern State has home-and-home Southland series with Central Arkansas, McNeese, Nicholls and Houston Baptist. NSU’s other road opponents in conference play include New Orleans and Southeastern Louisiana.

Aside from opening the conference schedule with three road matches, the Lady Demons do not play more than two straight away from home the rest of conference play.

NSU has one three-match homestand in conference play, hosting Sam Houston (Oct. 26), Abilene Christian (Oct. 28) and Central Arkansas (Oct. 31). Five of NSU’s final six matches are at home.

“It’s going to be a good schedule for us – a nice, balanced schedule to where we’re home and away for a reasonable amount of time,” Kiracofe said. “It’s a schedule filled with good competition.”

2017 Northwestern State Volleyball Schedule
Date Opponent Location
Aug. 25-26 Oklahoma Tournament Norman, Okla.
Aug. 30 Alcorn State Lorman, Miss.
Sept. 1-2 Troy Tournament Troy, Ala.
Sept. 7-8 Ole Miss Tournament Oxford, Miss.
Sept. 12 ULM Monroe
Sept. 15-16 Tulane Tournament New Orleans
Sept. 21 Lamar* Beaumont, Texas
Sept. 23 Stephen F. Austin* Nacogdoches, Texas
Sept. 28 Alcorn State Natchitoches
Sept. 30 Central Arkansas* Conway, Ark.
Oct. 5 Incarnate Word* Natchitoches
Oct. 7 Texas A&M-Corpus Christi* Natchitoches
Oct. 12 McNeese* Lake Charles
Oct. 14 Nicholls* Thibodaux
Oct. 17 Houston Baptist* Natchitoches
Oct. 19 New Orleans* New Orleans
Oct. 21 Southeastern Louisiana* Hammond
Oct. 26 Sam Houston State* Natchitoches
Oct. 28 Abilene Christian* Natchitoches
Oct. 31 Central Arkansas* Natchitoches
Nov. 4 Houston Baptist Houston
Nov. 9 Nicholls* Natchitoches
Nov. 11 McNeese* Natchitoches

* — Denotes Southland Conference match

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