Erskine isn’t shying away from scheduling tough non-conference matches entering the program’s second year of existence.
Erskine earlier this week unveiled its 2014 schedule and announced it will play road matches against 2013 NCAA Tournament participants Loyola and Penn State during the upcoming season
This will be the first time Erskine will play non-conference matches against Loyola or Penn State. In addition, the Nittany Lions and Ramblers have never lost a non-conference match to a team from the Conference Carolinas.
Both Penn State and Loyola return a majority of starters after reaching the four-team NCAA Tournament last year. The Nittany Lions last season won their 15 consecutive EIVA championship before losing to BYU in the NCAA semifinals, while the Ramblers won the MIVA championship and lost to UC Irvine in the NCAA semifinals.
In its inaugural season, Erskine finished last year 13-16 but had a winning record in conference play and reached the six-team Conference Carolinas Tournament.
Erskine will play Loyola on Jan. 18 as part of a season-opening, two-match Midwest road trip. The team will also play its season opener Jan. 17 against Lewis, which ended last season ranked No. 11 in the national coaches poll.
The Flying Fleet’s match versus the Nittany Lions on Feb. 7 will be the first of three matches Erskine plays against EIVA schools during the 2014 season.
In addition to its early season non-conference matches against teams that finished last season in the national rankings, Erskine will travel to the West Coast to play Cal Baptist on March 15.
The Cal Baptist match is also the first match currently scheduled between teams from the MPSF and the Conference Carolinas.
Erskine is among the eight teams in the Conference Carolinas, an emerging NCAA Division II men’s volleyball conference. The Conference Carolinas will become eligible for an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament beginning in 2014 and its conference champion will have home-court advantage for the new created 2014 NCAA Tournament play-in match.