RICHMOND, VA. – VCU, hot off a conference championship campaign, will take on six NCAA Tournament teams from last season in 2018, as well as multiple conference champions. The Rams will also host an appearance by Olympian Misty May-Treanor on Oct. 14. Those developments were revealed as part of the Rams' 2018 schedule, released Monday.
Under the leadership of sixth-year Head Coach Jody Rogers, VCU will look to build on last year's 30-3 campaign that included a 27-match win streak, as well as Atlantic 10 Conference regular season and tournament championships, and an NCAA berth. The 2018 schedule reflects a program with high expectations. The Rams will play five matches against teams that finished in the top 50 in RPI last season.
"This 2018 schedule is going to be extremely competitive. We feel we need to make our players uncomfortable early so we can be ready for A-10 play," said Rogers. "We've scheduled multiple top 50 RPI opponents in order to put ourselves in the best position to compete on a national scale. We want to compete against the premier teams in the country and prepare our team for the NCAA Tournament. In addition, our marketing team has initiated a fantastic strategy to boost attendance and we're looking forward to seeing the ram faithful enjoy our games in ways they never have in the past."
This year's slate will also include an enhanced promotional schedule, highlighted by an appearance by May-Treanor, a three-time beach volleyball Olympic Gold Medalist, on Oct. 14 for VCU's match with George Washington. May-Treanor will participate in a meet-and-greet for coaches, a halftime speech and a post-match demonstration.
"I am honored to be invited to join the VCU volleyball coaches, student athletes and fans at their home match on Oct. 14," May-Treanor said. "I look forward to this exciting opportunity to connect with the local volleyball community and help grow the sport in the city of Richmond."
Fans can find more information by visiting: http://www.vcuathletics.com/mistymay.
VCU kicks off its 2018 campaign with challenging road draw at N.C. State, which reached the second round of the NCAA Tournament, on Friday, Aug. 24. The Rams will meet Washington State, an 18-win club from the Pac-12 a year ago, the following day.
The Rams open their home schedule with a bang on Monday, Aug. 27 when they welcome defending AAC Champion Wichita State to the E.J. Wade Arena. The Shockers advanced to the NCAA Round of 32 in 2017 and finished the year ranked 23rd in the AVCA Coaches Top 25 Poll. Wichita State received the No. 16 overall seed in last year's NCAA Tournament field.
Hospitality will be provided to all Ram Athletic Fund members prior to the Wichita State match.
VCU's slate includes a trip to Seton Hall Aug. 31-Sept. 1, where the Black and Gold will meet the host Pirates, Oklahoma and defending ACC Champ Pittsburgh in a rematch of the Rams' NCAA First Round contest from last year. The Black and Gold will also travel to NCAA Tournament squad Florida State on Sept. 7.
The Rams will host the VCU Invitational Sept. 14-15 when they take on Virginia, Toledo and South Carolina. VCU's non-conference schedule also includes home dates with Georgetown (Sept. 4), CAA Champion James Madison (Sept. 17) and High Point (Nov. 7), which received an NCAA at-large bid in 2017.
VCU begins Atlantic 10 Conference play on Friday, Sept. 21 against La Salle at the Siegel Center. The Rams will battle Dayton, which they defeated in the A-10 Championship Match last season, on Sept. 30 in Dayton and Oct. 26 in Richmond. VCU's 14-match A-10 schedule will also feature home-and-home series with rival Saint Louis, George Mason, George Washington and Davidson.
Season tickets for the 2018 VCU Volleyball season are just $35 and include additional benefits. For more information or to purchase season tickets, visit: http://vcuathletics.com/tickets/VBTickets.
The Rams return five starters and 10 letterwinners from last year's championship squad, including All-East Region middle blocker Tori Baldwin (Liberty, N.C.) and All-Atlantic 10 honoree Vicky Giommarini (Rome, Italy).