BOONE — App State volleyball head coach Matt Ginipro announced on Monday, July 26, the schedule for the upcoming 2021 season.
The schedule features 18 home contests for the Mountaineers, including their first nine in the Holmes Convocation Center.
“To say that the team is excited for some sense of normalcy would be an understatement,” said Ginipro. “After a season of complete uncertainty and change, we are crossing our fingers for a normal year with a normal schedule and I really like what we were able to put together.”
The Mountaineers take on Tennessee on Aug. 20 in an exhibition, before officially opening the season on Aug. 27 and Aug. 28 by hosting the Appalachian Invitational. The Mountaineers welcome Eastern Kentucky on Aug. 27 and Radford and UNC-Greensboro on Aug. 28 to the High Country.
On the following weekend, App State welcomes three more teams to Boone as part of the Black & Gold Challenge. On Sept. 3, the Mountaineers host UMKC and Old Dominion, followed by a contest against East Tennessee State on Sept. 4.
The nine-match home stand will commence the following weekend on Sept. 10 and Sept. 11. On Sept. 10, the Black and Gold battle Charlotte, followed by a pair of contests on Sept. 11 versus Bellarmine and Wake Forest.
App State hits the road on Sept. 17 and Sept. 18, playing in a tournament at East Carolina. The Mountaineers take on UTRGV and Gardner-Webb on Sept. 17 and East Carolina on Sept. 18 to close out non-conference play.
“First, it starts off with a great exhibition match against Tennessee. Our team likes going up against tough competition and that exhibition match will be against a big, physical SEC team which will be a good test to see where we are,” Ginipro said. “Second, and this is extremely exciting now that we can have 100 percent capacity in the Holmes Center, is that we have a ton of home matches this fall. We are playing 18 of our 28 matches at home, which is just amazing. To start off the season with three home tournaments, with good competition, is a great thing for the team and our fans. After a year of only having 25 fans in the stands, I’m really hoping we can pack Holmes with everyone itching to get out of their houses and be loud App State fans this fall.”
Sun Belt Conference play begins the last weekend of September as the Mountaineers welcome Arkansas State and Little Rock to the High Country on Sept. 24 and Sept. 26, respectively.
App State hits the road the following weekend at Georgia State (Oct. 1) and Georgia Southern (Oct. 3), before returning to Boone for four consecutive home matches. The Black and Gold host South Alabama (Oct. 8), Troy (Oct. 10), Louisiana (Oct. 15) and ULM (Oct. 17) during the home stretch.
The Mountaineers return to the road on Oct. 22 at UT Arlington, Oct. 23 at Texas State, Oct. 29 at South Alabama and Oct. 30 at Troy.
App State begins November with a home weekend against Georgia State (Nov. 5) and Georgia Southern (Nov. 7). The Mountaineers then close out the season with a home-and-home series with Coastal Carolina, with the contest in Boone set for Nov. 11 and the match in Conway scheduled for Nov. 14.
The Sun Belt Tournament will run from Nov. 17 to Nov. 21 in Foley, Ala., with the winner punching a ticket to the NCAA Tournament.
“The Sun Belt will be extremely competitive this fall and we have a team who is ready to bounce back after a disappointing season,” Ginipro said. “Every single player on this team came back this summer with a mentality of getting back to work and returning to the level of play we are used to. I can’t praise them enough for how hard they’ve worked, both physically and culturally, to get ready for this season.”