Jonathan Bates | Associate Editor
Purdue Fort Wayne will travel to CSUN and UC Santa Barbara has part of its non-conference schedule in 2020. These matches are the return trips of a home-and-home series that the Mastodons hosted last year.
The Mastodons will travel to CSUN first on Jan. 15 and then head over to UC Santa Barbara on Jan. 17.
The Gauchos lead the all-time series with the Mastodons 19-3 and have won all eight matches in Santa Barbara.
Purdue Fort Wayne lost seven seniors to graduation from last year’s team, including starting opposite Colton Stone, starting setter Michael Keegan, and libero Kolbie Knorr. Stone led the Mastadons with 36 aces, while Keegan led the team with a 9.31 assists per game average, and Knorr led the team with a 1.88 digs per game average. Stone was named to the 2019 MIVA All-Tournament Team, while Keegan was named to the All-MIVA First Team.
Seven players are returning to Fort Wayne including outside attacker Pelegrin Vargas, and middle attackers Tomas Gago and Richie Diedrich. Vargas led the team with a 3.83 kills per game average, while Diedrich led the team with a 1.01 blocks per game average. Vargas was named to the All-MIVA First Team, while Diedrich was named to the second team.
Purdue Fort Wayne finished the 2019 season with a 17-12 record (8-6 MIVA). After finishing third in the regular season, the Mastodons swept Lindenwood in the MIVA Tournament quarterfinals then lost to Loyola in the semifinals in four games.
UC Santa Barbara looked primed for most of last season to be at-large invitee to the NCAA Tournament until it lost seven of the final 10 matches. The Gauchos ended with a 18-10 record (4-6 Big West) in 2019.
The Gauchos will have to replace two players named to the All-American Second Team, outside attacker Corey Chavers and libero Hayden Boehle. Chavers led the Gauchos with 3.46 kills per game, while Boehle led the team with 108 sets played and a 2.46 digs per game average (fifth nationally).
Highlighting the players returning for UC Santa Barbara is outside attacker Ryan Wilcox. Wilcox was named Big West Freshman of the Year in addition to receiving All-American Honorable Mention honors.
Both teams were regulars in the AVCA poll last year. The Mastodons were ranked in all but one poll, while UC Santa Barbara made it to as high as No. 3 in the nation last year.
One of the biggest loses for Purdue Fort Wayne came during the summer when former assistant JW Kieckhefer left Purdue Fort Wayne to become the new head coach at Carthage.
UC Santa Barbara will also have coaching holes to fill as both associate coaches, Cullen Irons, and Vince Devany are no longer with the program. Irons is now an assistant coach with the Oklahoma women’s volleyball program.
Purdue Fort Wayne will play 11 non-conference matches, with six of those being on the road. Five of the non-conference matches will be against EIVA foes, while two each will be against Independent teams and Big West teams. The
The Mastodons will open the 2020 campaign with a pair of home matches – versus Queens and Belmont Abbey – on the second weekend of January.
2020 Purdue Fort Wayne Schedule
Friday, Jan 10,
Saturday, Jan 11,
Wednesday, Jan 15,
Friday, Jan 17,
Thursday, Jan 23,
Saturday, Jan 25,
Friday, Feb 7,
Saturday, Feb 8,
Thursday, Feb 13,
Saturday, Feb 15,
Friday, Feb 21,
Saturday, Feb 22,
Thursday, Feb 27,
Saturday, Feb 29,
Thursday, March 5,
Friday, March 6,
Thursday, March 19,
Saturday, March 21,
Thursday, March 26,
Saturday, March 28,
Friday, April 3,
Saturday, April 4,
Thursday, April 9, 2020 at Ohio State
Saturday, April 11,