MANCHESTER, N.H. – Following one of the most successful seasons in program history, head coach Braden Zamore and the Saint Anselm College volleyball team announced the Hawks' schedule for the upcoming 2017 season on Thursday.
Saint Anselm's 2017 schedule is highlighted by a four-match trip to Florida to start the season, followed by a home tournament in the second week of September. In total, the Hawks have 26 matches on their fall slate, including 14 at Stoutenburgh Gymnasium where Saint Anselm was 8-3 last season.
"We are confident that this year's schedule will challenge us and prepare us for the tough competition within the Northeast-10 Conference," Zamore said. "We are more motivated and have been working harder this summer than any offseason during my time here. If you speak with any one of our student-athletes, Sept. 1 cannot come soon enough."
On the team's season-opening trip to Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Saint Anselm will face Minnesota Duluth, Post, Tusculum and Lenoir-Rhyne at the Nova Southeastern Shark Invitational on Friday and Saturday, Sept. 1-2. Minnesota Duluth and Post were both NCAA Tournament teams a year ago, with the Bulldogs finishing the season ranked No. 7 in the country by the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA).
Saint Anselm returns home to host the five-team Hawks Invitational on Friday and Saturday, Sept. 8-9. The Hawks will take on Assumption and Edinboro on Friday, before facing Florida Tech and Nyack on Saturday. The Friday night match against Edinboro is just the second-ever meeting between the two programs, with the first coming in 2005, while Saturday's matchup with Florida Tech is the first-ever contest between the two schools.
"As we continue to develop this program, we aim to take bigger steps to set ourselves up for success," Zamore added. "These steps include our trip to Fort Lauderdale and hosting a tournament with teams from a variety of regions. These are things we have not done over the past two seasons and we believe it will help us grow tremendously."
After a home non-conference match against Southern New Hampshire, Saint Anselm opens Northeast-10 Conference play with three-straight road matches with trips to Pace, Southern New Hampshire and Merrimack in mid-September.
The Hawks conclude September with four consecutive home matches, including a matchup with reigning NE10 Tournament champion American International, which advanced to the Elite Eight a year ago, as part of a tri-match with the Yellow Jackets and LIU Post on Saturday, Sept. 30.
The run of home matches extends to seven with three more to start October, as Merrimack and Queens (N.Y.) visit Manchester on Saturday, Oct. 7 for another tri-match prior to a visit from Saint Michael's. Saint Anselm plays five of its final seven matches away from home, beginning with trips to Stonehill, reigning NE10 regular season champion Le Moyne and Saint Rose in mid-October.
Three of the Hawks' last four matches in the regular season come against teams that made the NE10 Championship last season, as home matches against Adelphi and New Haven are sandwiched around matches at Franklin Pierce and Assumption. The Friday, Oct. 27 matchup with Adelphi is a rematch of last season's NE10 Championship quarterfinal.
Saint Anselm returns 13-of-15 members of last season's team that finished 20-8 overall and 10-4 in the NE10. The 20 wins equaled the program record, while the 10 conference wins established a new all-time mark. The Hawks earned the No. 4 seed in the NE10 Championship, their first since 2004, and hosted their first home playoff match since 1996.