GREENSBORO (May 10, 2018) – The North Carolina A&T volleyball program’s 2018 schedule features eight home matches at Moore Gymnasium including five Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) and three non-conference matchups. N.C. A&T’s 26-match regular season schedule stars in Atlanta, Ga., at the ISTAP Collegiate Cup, co-hosted by N.C. A&T and Alabama State.
“Our 2018 schedule is going to be very challenging,” said N.C. A&T coach Hal Clifton. “However, I feel that our program is at a point where we can handle these types of matches. We have a number of tournaments that will challenge us in very different ways. Our players will have to be ready to go every time we step on the court.”
The Aggies will open the regular season with a doubleheader against Southwestern Athletic Conference foes Alabama A&M and Alabama State on Friday, Aug. 24. The tournament concludes for N.C. A&T with two more SWAC opponents with matches against Jackson State and Mississippi Valley State on Saturday, Aug. 25. The Aggies are 3-4 in the previous two ISTAP Collegiate Cups.
“The ISTAP will be a lot of fun as it pits MEAC against SWAC schools,” said Clifton. “This is the third time we've competed in this tournament and it's a lot of fun. The two best HBCU conferences in the nation battling it out.”
N.C. A&T remains on the road for their next two matches. A trip to nearby Elon on Tuesday, Aug. 28 is up first for the Aggies. A week later, the Aggies head to Spartanburg, S.C., on Wednesday, Sept. 5 for a meeting with USC Upstate.
“Our match at Elon will be exciting,” Clifton said. “We will be a part of history, as it's the first sports competition being held in their new convocation center. I want our team to get used to being on a big stage and having to perform.”
The Aggies home opener will be a part of the annual Spartan-Aggie Invitational co-hosted with UNC Greensboro, Sept. 7-8. N.C. A&T will face fellow Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference member Delaware State to open the invitational in a non-conference match. The Aggies will also face Winthrop at Moore Gym before a showdown with UNCG in Fleming Gymnasium during the invitational.
N.C. A&T will remain in Greensboro to face Gardner-Webb at Moore Gym on Sept. The Aggies will then return to Spartanburg for the Wofford Invitational, Sept. 14-15, at Richardson Indoor Stadium. N.C. A&T will face GWU again on Sept. 15. They will also face host Wofford and Middle Tennessee State during the invite.
N.C. A&T’s final non-conference tournament, the MEAC North-South Challenge in Baltimore, Md., will have the Aggies going against Norfolk State on Friday, Sept. 21 and Coppin State on Saturday, Sept. 22. Their last non-conference match is a trip to Washington, D.C., to face Howard, the defending MEAC tournament champs, on Sunday, Sept. 23.
The Aggies begin their MEAC schedule by hosting Florida A&M and Bethune-Cookman on Sept. 28 and Sept. 30. N.C. A&T hits the road for matches at South Carolina State on Oct. 5 and Savannah State on Oct. 7. A home match against rival N.C. Central on Oct. 12 will precede a road trip to Florida to face FAMU on Oct. 26 and B-CU on Oct. 28.
N.C. A&T will close out their home schedule with matches against S.C. State on Nov. 2 and SSU on Nov. 4. The regular-season ends with a trip to Durham to face NCCU in a rematch on Thursday, Nov. 8.
“We have a non-conference schedule that will prepare us for conference play,” said Clifton. “That's the goal. Get prepared to compete and win the Southern Division. Then head into MEAC's with confidence. It will take a lot of hard work and dedication but this team can do it.”