CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Charlotte volleyball will play 30 matches this fall as the 2016 schedule was announced by Head Coach Karen Weatherington on Wednesday morning. The 49ers will open the season with their annual Charlotte Invitational, play 14 Conference USA matches and have a total of 12 matches inside Halton Arena.
“We are very excited to announce our fall schedule,” commented Weatherington. “We’ve put together a very competitive schedule that will prepare our team for C-USA play. We will be facing some good non-conference teams that will challenge us in different ways.”
The Niners will begin Weatherington’s second season at the helm hosting the Charlotte Invitational on August 26-27 featuring Campbell, Elon, Mercer and South Florida. Charlotte will open up day one taking on Elon and Mercer before battling Campbell and USF on day two.
“The opportunity to open is exciting. We are glad to welcome teams from solid conferences,” continued Weatherington. “It gives us a chance to compete and host a great event. We will travel regionally the two following weekends and face ACC foe Wake Forest. This will also give us a great chance to develop a lot of newcomers and test us for a tough C-USA schedule ahead.”
The usual trend of weekend invitationals will continue during Labor Day weekend as the Niners participate in the Jacksonville Invitational with Presbyterian, Illinois-Chicago and the host Dolphins. The following weekend, September 9-10, Charlotte will travel up to the William & Mary Invitational with Coppin State and Western Carolina.
The first rematch from 2015 will take place on Tuesday, September 13, when the Niners play at USC-Upstate in Spartanburg. The senior led Spartans swept last season’s meeting inside Halton Arena.
Wake Forest’s Invitational will be the final weekend tournament of the season for Charlotte as Wofford and High Point join the 49ers in Winston-Salem before one non-conference match with Furman on September 20 becomes the final tune-up before C-USA play begins. The Paladins topped the Niners 3-1 last season on their way to winning the Southern Conference title and an NCAA bid.
“We will face SoCon champion Furman and runner-up UNCG,” said Weatherington. “There are so many great competitive teams within a few hours and the ability to build rivalries and face top notch talent is certainly a plus.”
The grind of Conference USA play will begin on the road the weekend of September 23 as the Niners open with rival Marshall before traveling to defending league champs in WKU. The 49ers split with the Herd last season while WKU headed to NCAA play before being swept by regional host BYU.
UAB and Florida Atlantic will be the league home openers for Charlotte the weekend of September 30 and October 2. The 49ers topped UAB 3-0 last season. After a lone trip to UTEP on Friday, October 7, the Niners will again return home for what will be five matches in a six-contest stretch to be played inside Halton Arena.
FIU and Middle Tennessee will open up the third weekend in October before UNC Greensboro makes the short trip south for the final non-conference match of the season.
A tough stretch of three-straight road games will take Charlotte to North Texas, Southern Miss and Rice before a stretch of three back inside Halton Arena with Louisiana Tech, Marshall and UTSA rounds out the home slate. Charlotte’s final regular season contest will take place on Saturday, November 12 before the Conference USA Championships, hosted by Rice, kickoff on November 17.
“Conference USA will be a battle this year,” wrapped up Weatherington. “We expect a tough match every time we face a C-USA team. Now that we have a season under our belt and know what to expect, we are excited to compete and build on the foundation we began last year.”