The start of McKendree’s upcoming season will be anything but easy.
McKendree announced on its athletics department website that it will play a two-match road series against BYU in the opening weeks of the 2017 season.
This will be the first meeting between McKendree and the defending-MPSF champions BYU. In addition, the two matches will conclude a five-match season-opening road trip for the Bearcats — their first West Coast road trip in the program’s four-year history.
BYU earned the No. 1 overall seed for the 2016 NCAA Tournament and came within one match of winning its first national championship in almost a decade. The Cougars return most of their projected starters from last year’s team highlighted by All-American outside attackers Jake Langlois and Brenden Sander and All-American opposite Ben Patch, the 2016 Bryan Ivie Award recipient.
BYU was among the nation’s leaders last season with a 13-2 home record and has lost one home non-conference match at Smith Fieldhouse during this decade.
McKendree finished last season in sixth place in the MIVA and won its first postseason match in program history as it upset Ball State in the conference Tournament quarterfinals. The Bearcats have the majority of their starters returning for 2017, including three All-MIVA honorable mention selections.
Along with its two-match weekend series versus BYU on Jan. 13-14, McKendree will participate in the annual UC Santa Barbara Invitational during the previous weekend.