A road trip for Grand Canyon to play Hawai’i is beginning to seem like an annual event.
Grand Canyon as part of releasing its 2017 schedule earlier this week announced for the second consecutive year it will play a non-conference two-match series against Hawai’i beginning Jan. 11.
Along with playing each other last season, this will be the third time in the last five years the Antelopes have scheduled road matches versus the Rainbow Warriors. Grand Canyon is 0-4 all-time against Hawai’i, including a three-game loss and a four-game loss last season.
The Antelopes under interim head coach Matt Werle ended last season at a program-best 17-12 and in fifth place in the MIVA to reach the conference tournament quarterfinals.
Werle in the off-season was promoted to the program’s permanent head coach. The team also enters its final season in the MIVA before moving to the MPSF with several returning starters, including First-Team All-MIVA outside attacker Shalev Saada.
Hawai’i, which will leave the MPSF for the newly-formed Big West men’s volleyball conference in 2018, finished last season in the top 10 of the national rankings and advanced to the MPSF Tournament quarterfinals. Among the starters returning to the Rainbow Warriors for the upcoming season includes Off the Block/Springbak, Inc. Freshman All-American opposite Stijn Van Tilburg.
Before its series against Hawai’i, Grand Canyon will open its season with non-conference road matches versus UC Irvine and UC San Diego.
The Antelopes also scheduled three matches with future MPSF conference opponents. Grand Canyon will play a home-and-home series against Concordia-Irvine and will have a home match versus Cal Baptist.