The full picture became clear for the defending OUA men’s and women’s volleyball champions from McMaster Wednesday, with the release of their conference schedules and corresponding announcement of non-conference dates.
Having previously announced the return of the two-time defending NCAA champions, the Ohio State Buckeyes, to the Burridge Gym for a two-match slate in October, the McMaster men revealed that another 2017 NCAA semifinalist, Long Beach State, is headed to Hamilton on December 29 and 30.
The 49ers were the second seed in the 2017 NCAA National Championship tournament, and concluded the season with the third spot in the national coaches’ poll.
“We’re really excited for our student athletes to have an opportunity to host one of the premier programs in the NCAA,” said McMaster head coach Dave Preston.
“This is a great chance to showcase our game to our home fans, ready ourselves for the second half of the season and prepare ourselves to host the U SPORTS championship in March.”
Things heat up quickly for the five-time defending OUA champions when conference play gets underway on October 27, as the Marauders play all three of their fellow Final Four teams from the 2017 tournament to begin the season.
Opening at home against the Ryerson Rams, the Marauders then play host to an OUA final rematch on November 4 against the Waterloo Warriors and travel to Guelph to battle the Gryphons on November 5.
No matter what the OUA season and playoffs bring, volleyball will feature at the Burridge Gym well into March, with the U SPORTS Men’s Volleyball Championship due to return to Hamilton between March 16 and 18.
Before the defending OUA champion Marauders women open their conference season, they will travel to tournaments in Edmonton (September 14-17) and Ottawa (September 28-30) for a flurry of non-conference interlock play.
They open their regular season with a rematch of their conference semifinal against the Ryerson Rams, and face a difficult divisional test on the road in Guelph on November 5.
Fans will have to wait until the penultimate weekend of the season for a home tilt between the 2017 OUA finalists, as Western visits McMaster on February 17.
Source: Fraser Caldwell