EAST GREENSBORO – North Carolina A&T volleyball released a 2019 schedule on Friday that includes plenty of road matches and a new twist to the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) schedule.
N.C. A&T is scheduled to play 28 regular-season matches in 2019. Twenty-one of those matches will be played away from the Aggies home facility, Moore Gymnasium. The schedule also includes four regular-season tournaments and matches against teams from the MEAC Northern Division that will count toward the Aggies conference record.
“It is a tough schedule that will challenge us in many ways,” said N.C. A&T coach Hal Clifton who will enter his ninth season in 2019. “We will be on the road quite a bit which always creates challenges, but we have to learn how to compete on the road in hostile environments. It's an aggressive non-conference schedule but I feel that will present us with the same type of play we will see in our conference.”
N.C. A&T opens the season in the Cristi Curtis Volleyball Invitational hosted by Winthrop University. The opening match in the tournament for the Aggies will be against Morehead State at 4 p.m., Friday, August 30 in Rock Hill, S.C. N.C. A&T will close out the tournament against Winthrop and Davidson College the next day.
After the Winthrop tournament, N.C. A&T will participate in the Asheville Invitational hosted by UNC Asheville. The tournament will include matches against Dartmouth, UNC Asheville
N.C. A&T will take a break from tournament play to make a trip to Charleston, S.C. to face Charleston Southern on Sept. 10. They return to tournament play three days later when they start the Wofford Invitational against Wofford. The Aggies will also play Gardner-Webb and Alabama A&M in Spartanburg, S.C.
In between tournaments, the Aggies will play their home opener on Sept. 17 against the University of South Carolina Upstate at 6 p.m. Their final regular-season tournament is the UNC Wilmington Invitational, Sept. 20-21. The Aggies open against Western Carolina on Friday before facing Drake and UNCW on Saturday.
Conference play begins at 6 p.m., Sept. 27 at Moore Gymnasium against S.C. State. The Aggies will play 14 conference matches as opposed to the usual 10. The Aggies are scheduled to play their MEAC Southern conference opponents – S.C. State, N.C. Central, Bethune-Cookman and Florida A&M – twice.
They will face northern opponents once starting at Coppin State on Oct. 4. Matches against northern division teams have not counted toward the MEAC conference standings for N.C. A&T since 2006.
"We will have to navigate new terrain," said Clifton. "It's exciting that we get to play all the MEAC teams this year."
The 2019 MEAC Championship Volleyball Tournament is November 22-24 at Howard University in Washington, D.C. The Aggies reached the championship final last season for the first time in 13 years.
N.C. A&T was 14-12 overall. They finished tied for second in the MEAC Southern Division with a 7-3 mark. They return first-team All-MEAC performer Courteney Pitt and versatile standout Edie Brewer.