The biggest non-conference match of the season for IPFW will be not only during its opening week but at home.
IPFW announced recently that it has agreed to play Stanford on Jan. 9 in the first meeting between the two schools in almost a decade.
The Mastodons last swept the Cardinal in a two-match home series in 2007. In addition, IPFW is on a three-match home winning streak against Stanford — including beating the Cardinal in 1994 that helped result in IPFW edging Stanford to earn the lone at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament.
Stanford one-year removed from reaching the NCAA Tournament finals finished an injury-plagued 2015 season in ninth place in the MPSF and missed conference tournament. Among the injured Stanford players returning for the upcoming season includes All-American setter and 2014 Lloy Ball Award finalist James Shaw.
IPFW was in the top 10 of the national coaches poll at various times last season but following an injury to all-conference opposite Andy Sellan fell out of the national rankings and lost in conference tournament quarterfinals. Rock Perrottee is also entering his first season as the IPFW head coach replacing retired Hall of Fame coach Arnie Ball.
This is the first time in five years that the Mastodons have played host to a team MPSF team.
IPFW in 2011 split a two-match home non-conference series against Pacific. In addition, the Mastodons are a combined 2-2 against the MPSF in the last two years.
Stanford is making its fourth trip to the Midwest for regular season non-conference matches since 2009. The Cardinal in those road matches are a perfect 5-0 against MIVA opponents.
The Stanford and IPFW match will also be the Mastodons’ only match this upcoming season against the MPSF and one of two non-confrence matches against teams that ended last season nationally ranked.