Western Carolina volleyball Head Coach Manuel Concepcion is optimistic for his team’s schedule, which includes matches with 14 non-conference opponents and a full slate of Southern Conference opponents.
“The schedule is designed to be a huge challenge for us,” Concepcion said. “We want the team to be ready to play anyone and develop mental strength by facing high level talent early on in the season.”
The Catamounts will participate in four tournaments, at Kentucky (August 28-29), Radford (September 2-3) and Coastal Carolina (September 18-19), and will also host the VB Rags Western Carolina Invitational. Western Carolina will welcome Gardner-Webb, Cleveland State and Howard University to its home tournament, in the Ramsey Center, on September 11-12.
Some highlighted non-conference matches for Western Carolina include Kentucky, Florida International, Northwestern and a trip to the University of Georgia. The Catamounts will also play at rival UNC Asheville September 2.
“The first weekend of non-conference matches is full of powerhouses. Kentucky and FIU are always in the top of their conference, and have All-American players on their rosters,” Concepcion said. “It will be interesting to see how our players react when they face nationally ranked teams.”
The Catamounts will also have a full slate of Southern Conference matches, hosting Furman, Chattanooga, Samford, Wofford, The Citadel, Appalachian State, UNC Greensboro and Elon.
“Even though all the squads in the conference have gotten better, we believe that our new philosophy will take us a long way. Our main goal is to out-work and out-hustle our opponents, minimize unforced errors, and focus on the details that we can control,” Concepcion said.
Western Carolina begins the 2009 season at the Kentucky Invitational August 28 facing Sun Belt opponent Florida International, host Kentucky and Northwestern.
Also of note is the format change for the Southern Conference Volleyball Tournament. Only the top four seeds will participate in the tournament, with the No. 1 seed hosting the three other teams.