EL PASO, TEXAS – The UTEP volleyball team released its 2022 schedule Thursday morning, headlined by 12 home matches in Memorial Gym. The 28-match slate includes 15 C-USA contests, 13 non-conference affairs and four teams who participated in the 2021 NCAA Tournament (South Dakota, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, Rice and Western Kentucky).
“We’re excited to get 12 home matches this year for our Home town El Paso ‘Memorial Maniacs’,” head coach Ben Wallis said.
The Miners return to the court just eight months after participating in the programs’ first-ever postseason appearance, the National Invitational Volleyball Championship, to cap off their record-breaking 24-8 (8-4 C-USA) campaign in 2021, and earning a 45-RPI.
The 2022 schedule is highlighted by four 2021 top-100 RPI opponents (WKU – 19, Rice – 23, South Dakota – 74, Arizona – 93). The Miners will take on LA Tech, North Texas, Rice, and UTSA twice each during conference play. Western Kentucky and Rice represented Conference USA in the NCAA Tournament last season. UTEP will participate in four tournaments before conference play begins.
UTEP will host five of its 12 nonconference games after they tune up for the season by squaring off with Grand Canyon in Phoenix, Ariz., on Aug. 20. The Miners will be challenged right away as they open the year in Chicago at Northwestern’s tournament (Aug. 26-27).
“Obviously playing a BIG 10 team on their home floor with a top 10 recruiting class will be a tough one right out of the gates,” Wallis said.
UTEP will return home to host three top 2021 RPI schools in South Dakota (74), UNM (125), and Portland State (101), in what may be one of the toughest nonconference tournaments in the country, the Borderland Invitational (Sept. 1-3) at Memorial Gym. The combined win total of those four teams last year was 84 with UTEP having won 24 matches and the other three winning 20 each.
The Miners will participate in two additional tournaments, the Oral Roberts Tournament (Sept. 9-10) and the Arizona Tournament (Sept. 16-17). Coach Wallis and the Miners, again, will be tested with opponents from good conferences that will pose new challenges for the young group. The squad will face play a conference champion in Texas A&M – Corpus Christi, a very tough PAC 12 opponent in Arizona, and Cal State Northridge out of the Big West.
UTEP will also host two single matches – UTRGV on Sept. 19 before league play and NM State post-conference on Nov. 23 in the Battle of I-10.
C-USA matches will be played on Fridays and Sundays with two exceptions. The Miners will host seven of its 14 Conference USA matchups this season as league play begins Sept. 23.
“Conference USA opens with a nasty road schedule all the way on the east coast versus the Florida schools and the whole C-USA schedule is going to be a battle of rest, injury prevention, and tactical wits versus a very good conference field this year,” Wallis said.
UTEP will take on LA Tech (Sept. 30), the first of three straight home matches with North Texas (Oct. 2) and Rice (Oct. 8) rounding out the homestand. Reigning C-USA champions, WKU (Oct. 16) and UTSA will also venture to the Sun City during conference action. UTEP also welcomes Middle Tennessee (Nov. 4) before closing out league play against UAB (Nov 12.) at Memorial Gym.
On the road, the Miners will face off against FIU (Sept. 23), Florida Atlantic (Sept. 25), LA Tech (Oct. 14), Charlotte (Oct. 23), North Texas (Oct. 28), Rice (Oct. 30), and UTSA (Nov. 10).
“We get to host the top teams in C-USA perennially at home in Rice and WKU, and we’re excited to play them here in front of our maniacs,” Wallis said. “This team is going to be challenged in the pre-season and the travel schedule in C-USA will really test our toughness, resolve, ability to prepare, and most importantly our ability to move on from a win or loss because the next one is coming quickly in 2022. Getting back to playing all opponents in the conference is something that the coaches wanted and now we have an opportunity to really go out here and earn a C-USA championship in the 2022 season.”
The 2022 Conference USA Championships will be held in Bowling Green, Ky., Nov. 18-21.
2022 UTEP Volleyball Schedule
|Aug. 20||Saturday||Grand Canyon (EXB)||Phoenix, Ariz.||Noon|
|Aug. 26||Friday||Northeastern||Evanston, Ill.||10 a.m.|
|Aug. 26||Friday||Northwestern||Evanston, Ill.||6:30 p.m.|
|Aug. 27||Saturday||Pacific||Evanston, Ill.||10 a.m.|
|Sept. 1||Thursday||New Mexico||Memorial Gym||6 p.m.|
|Sept. 2||Friday||Portland State||Memorial Gym||7 p.m.|
|Sept. 3||Saturday||South Dakota||Memorial Gym||10:30 a.m.|
|Oral Roberts Tournament|
|Sept. 9||Friday||Tulsa||Tulsa, Okla.||9:30 a.m.|
|Sept. 9||Friday||Oral Roberts||Tulsa, Okla.||2:30 p.m.|
|Sept 10||Saturday||Abilene Christian||Tulsa, Okla.||Noon|
|Sept. 16||Friday||CSUN||Tucson, Ariz.||11:30 a.m.|
|Sept. 16||Friday||Arizona||Tucson, Ariz.||6:30 p.m.|
|Sept. 17||Saturday||Texas A&M-CC||Tucson, Ariz.||10 a.m.|
|Sept. 19||Monday||UTRGV||Memorial Gym||7 p.m.|
|Sept. 23||Friday||*FIU||Miami, Fla.||5 p.m.|
|Sept. 25||Sunday||*Florida Atlantic||Boca Raton, Fla.||10 a.m.|
|Sept. 30||Friday||*LA Tech||Memorial Gym||6 p.m.|
|Oct. 2||Sunday||*North Texas||Memorial Gym||Noon|
|Oct. 8||Saturday||*Rice||Memorial Gym||1 p.m.|
|Oct. 14||Friday||*LA Tech||Ruston, La.||5 p.m.|
|Oct. 16||Sunday||*WKU||Memorial Gym||Noon|
|Oct. 21||Friday||*UTSA||Memorial Gym||6 p.m.|
|Oct. 23||Sunday||*Charlotte||Charlotte, NC||11 a.m.|
|Oct. 28||Friday||*North Texas||Denton, Texas||5 p.m.|
|Oct. 30||Sunday||*Rice||Houston, Texas||Noon|
|Nov. 4||Friday||*Middle Tennessee||Memorial Gym||6 p.m.|
|Nov. 10||Thursday||*UTSA||San Antonio, Texas||5 p.m.|
|Nov. 12||Saturday||*UAB||Memorial Gym||11 a.m.|
|Nov. 18-21 C-USA Tournament @WKU (Bowling Green|
|Nov. 23||Wednesday||NM State||Memorial Gym||Noon|
Bold denotes home match
*Conference USA match
All Times MST