EDWARDSVILLE — The 2013 Southern Illinois University Edwardsville volleyball schedule kicks off Aug. 30 at the Vadalabene Center with the first of four tournaments.
SIUE coach Leah Johnson, who is starting her third season at the helm of Cougar volleyball, said the schedule will challenge her youthful 2013 squad.
The schedule includes 15 home matches for the Cougars.
"A highlight for me this year is the ability to host two home tournaments," said Johnson. "Any time you get to host your athletes are in class longer and you have an extra day of preparation on your court whether it be for training, match prep, or just rest and recovery."
The season opens Aug. 30-31 with a three-team tournament. SIUE faces Indiana State Aug. 30 at 6:30 p.m. Indiana State plays Akron in an 11 a.m. matchup Aug. 31 followed by an SIUE match against Akron at 6:30 p.m.
The Cougars play a third straight home match Sept. 1 when the team entertains Auburn in a 12:30 p.m. match.
"It's a great opportunity to compete at a high level any time you can welcome an SEC team to your campus," said Johnson.
SIUE has two road tournaments this season. The first is the Omaha Classic Sept. 6-7. The Cougars face Southern Utah (Sept. 6), Omaha (Sept. 7) and Bradley (Sept. 7). SIUE travels to Evansville, Ind., the next weekend for its third tournament of the season. The Cougars match up with host Evansville (Sept. 13), Valparaiso (Sept. 14), and Memphis (Sept. 14).
UMKC comes to the Vadalabene Center Sept. 17 for a 6 p.m. matchup before the Cougars welcome three teams for the SIUE Cougar Invitational.
SIUE welcomes DePaul (Sept. 20), Arkansas-Pine Bluff (Sept. 21), and Georgia State (Sept. 21). The round robin tournament features six matches overall in the two-day tournament.
"I think we're bringing in some quality opponents," said Johnson.
The 2013 Ohio Valley Conference schedule kicks off Sept. 27 at Tennessee-Martin. That's the start of three straight OVC road contests, including Southeast Missouri (Sept. 28) and Eastern Illinois (Oct. 1).
The OVC home opener is Oct. 5 when the Cougars face off against Belmont.
"The OVC schedule is an exact flip from last year so we have a good understanding for the layout of the schedule," said Johnson. "It is hard to win on the road in our league. That's one of my favorite things about the OVC that it is a competitive league from top to bottom."
The home OVC schedule includes Murray State (Oct. 18), Austin Peay (Oct. 19), Southeast Missouri (Nov. 1), UT Martin (Nov. 2), Tennessee Tech (Nov. 8), Jacksonville State (Nov. 9), and Eastern Illinois (Nov. 12).
The road OVC schedule also includes Austin Peay (Oct. 25), Murray State (Oct. 26), and Tennessee State to close out the regular season Nov. 16.
The 2013 OVC Tournament features the top eight teams and will be played Nov. 21-25 at the site of the event's No. 1 seed.