The 2010 Ferris State University women's volleyball team has high expectations for the upcoming season and aspirations of exceeding its level of success as the Bulldogs face a 26 regular-season match schedule hoping to earn a second straight NCAA Division II Tournament berth. The announcement was made by 15th-year head coach Tia Brandel-Wilhelm.
Ferris State, which made the program's 15th all-time NCAA Tournament appearance last season, will square off against at least eight 2009 post-season national tourney participants. One of the Bulldogs' opponents, Minnesota State ranked 17th nationally in the final 2009 American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) Division II Coaches Top 25 Poll while fellow Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) South Division foe Hillsdale is also on the the docket.
The GLIAC not only welcomes two new members in Lake Erie (Ohio) and Ohio Dominican this fall, but will also feature a different scheduling format in which teams will have a day off between conference matches on certain weekends. The Bulldogs will continue to play a North Division twice during the regular season, both home and away, while facing a South Division opponent once, either at home or on the road.
"This is the first year of the new GLIAC schedule," stated Brandel-Wilhelm, who ranks second among Ferris State's all-time winningest women's volleyball coaches. "The new schedule gives us more diversity in match dates and times than in previous years. We are eager to move into this schedule as it will allow us to keep our players fresher throughout the season while still giving proper focus to each opponent."
The Bulldogs start their 2010 campaign and the program's 38th season of varsity competition on Sept. 3-4 by hosting the annual Ferris State Invitational on three courts between the Ewigleben Sports Arena and Jim Wink Arena, both on the FSU campus. Ferris is slated to play a pair of non-conference matches each day with Lock Haven (Pa.) and Glenville State (W.Va.) providing the opposition on day one while Minnesota State along with former GLIAC member Mercyhurst (Pa.) will go up against the Bulldogs in final-day action. The eight-team tournament field also includes Hillsdale, Michigan Tech, and St. Cloud (Minn.) State.
"We are truly looking forward to competing in our home tournament during Labor Day weekend," said Brandel-Wilhelm. "This is an exciting weekend in the Big Rapids community with the Riverdays Festival. We look forward to being at home to celebrate with our community and provide some exciting matches for our community to enjoy along with the festival activities."
The 19-match conference schedule gets underway on Sept. 10 and 12 with home matches versus Northern Michigan and Michigan Tech, respectively. The Bulldogs then hit the road for six contests to close out the month of September while October will feature five of its eight league outings on the home floor.
"The conference race will be a rough and tumble one this season with many great volleyball teams," Brandel-Wilhelm stated. "We expect to be in the heat of this intense competition and there will be a number of incredible matches for our fans to enjoy!"
For the third consecutive season, Ferris State will be competing in the Asics GLVC (Great Lakes Valley Conference)/GLIAC Crossover Tournament (Oct. 15-16) at Aurora, Ill., with the GLVC serving as the tournament host. The Bulldogs are scheduled to play a total of three matches against GLVC competition.
Ferris State will close out the regular season with a five-match conference homestand, beginning Oct. 30 versus Tiffin and concluding on Nov. 5 with Lake Superior State providing the opposition.
During the 2010 regular season, a number of exciting and different promotions are planned for the Bulldogs' home matches.
The 2010 GLIAC Tournament begins Nov. 11 with quarterfinal-round play at campus sites. The semifinals and championship match will be held Nov. 13 and 14, respectively at the site of the highest remaining seed.
Ferris State concluded the 2010 season at 19-12 overall which represented the program's 12th consecutive winning season and the 29th straight time of reaching the double-digit victories total plateau. The Bulldogs also made their 12th GLIAC Tournament appearance in a row last fall.