EL PASO – The UTEP volleyball team released its 2023 schedule Thursday morning, headlined by 11 home matches in Memorial Gym. The 29-match slate includes 16 C-USA contests, 12 non-conference affairs, four teams that appeared in the 2022 NIVC (Ohio, HCU, Clemson, and Liberty), and three teams that participated in the 2022 NCAA Tournament (Washington, Southeastern Louisiana, and WKU).
“We’re very excited about releasing our tough 2023 schedule because it is loaded with Power 5 opponents, conference champions, or conference runner-ups, and we’re playing teams in parts of the country that we don’t normally get to, and we’re really excited to challenge this 2023 team,” UTEP Head Coach Ben Wallis said.
The 2023 schedule is highlighted by six 2022 top-100 RPI opponents (WKU: 19, Washington: 37, Jax State: 64, Liberty: 70, NC State: 78, and Ohio: 96). The Miners will take on WKU, Jax State, and Liberty twice each during conference play. WKU represented Conference USA in the NCAA Tournament last season. UTEP will participate in four tournaments before conference play begins.
UTEP will begin the 2023 campaign with an exhibition game versus Grand Canyon at home on Aug. 19.
The Miners will be challenged right away as they open the year in Hammond, La., at Southeastern Louisiana’s tournament (Aug. 25–26). UTEP kicks off the season with a doubleheader on Aug. 25, taking on Washington and Grambling State, and then faces the reigning Southland Conference champion, Southeastern Louisiana, on Aug. 26. The combined total wins of all four teams last year were 77, with SEL winning 25 matches.
UTEP will see its first official home action when it co-hosts the Borderland Invitational with NM State Aug. 31–Sept. 2. The Miners will match up against San Francisco on Aug. 31 under the lights of the historic Memorial Gym. The Orange and Blue will then take on Arizona State in Las Cruces, N.M., on Sept. 1.
The Miners will participate in two additional tournaments, the Ohio Tournament (Sept. 7-9) and the Tulane Tournament (Sept. 14–16). Coach Wallis and the Miners will be tested again with opponents from good conferences that will pose new challenges for the young group. The squad will face 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.
“We’re loaded with athleticism, we’re experienced, we’re deep, and we made a lot of progress in the spring in the parts of volleyball and work in our locker room that held us back from being great in the past, and so we are looking forward to the challenge before CUSA starts,” Wallis said.
UTEP will also host Chicago State on Halloween before wrapping up conference play.
In the nine-member Conference USA, UTEP will play the same team twice at the same site on a weekend. The Miners will host eight of their 16 Conference USA matchups this season as league play begins Sept. 22.
“We have a tough test right out of the gates in C-USA with back-to-back matches on the road in Bowling Green, Ky., but in many ways I prefer that because it shows you right away how good you are, how ready you are, and how far away you can still be from winning this conference, and they’ve [WKU] been the class of C-USA for many years now. We’re closer than ever from a physical and skill standpoint, and now it’s time for us to see if we’re ready to make that next step and jump into competing for that title at the end of the season,” Wallis said.
UTEP will host Jax State (Sept. 28–29) and FIU (Oct. 7-8) in the first half of conference play. The Miners will also welcome LA Tech (Oct. 20–21) before closing out league play against Liberty (Nov. 10–11) at Memorial Gym.
On the road, the Miners will face off against WKU (Sept. 22–23), NM State (Oct. 3-4), Sam Houston (Oct. 13–14), and Middle Tennessee (Oct. 27–28).
“We have 11 home matches, including our home exhibition with GCU in August, and we’re ready to have the city of El Paso come out in droves and show out like the “Memorial Maniacs” always do. We’ve been first or second in attendance in CUSA for the past three years in a row, and not only do I think that is a big goal of ours as a program to continue, but working toward making this one of the toughest places to win in C-USA is near the top of that list too,” Wallis said.
The 2023 Conference USA Championships will be held in Lynchburg, Va., from Nov. 17–19.
|Aug. 19||Saturday||Grand Canyon (EXB)||Memorial Gym||Noon|
|Southeastern Louisiana Tournament|
|Aug. 25||Friday||Washington||Hammond, La.||9 a.m.|
|Aug. 25||Friday||Grambling State||Hammond, La.||3 p.m.|
|Aug. 26||Saturday||Southeastern Louisiana||Hammond, La.||12:30 p.m.|
|Aug. 31||Thursday||San Francisco||Memorial Gym||6 p.m.|
|Sept. 1||Friday||Arizona State||Las Cruces, N.M.||4 p.m.|
|Sept. 2||Saturday||ASU vs. USF||Memorial Gym||10 a.m.|
|Sept. 7||Thursday||Ohio||Athens, Ohio||4 p.m.|
|Sept. 8||Friday||William & Mary||Athens, Ohio||2 p.m.|
|Sept. 9||Saturday||NC State||Athens, Ohio||9 a.m.|
|Sept. 14||Thursday||Tulane||New Orleans, La.||5:30 p.m.|
|Sept. 15||Friday||Houston Christian||New Orleans, La.||2 p.m.|
|Sept. 16||Saturday||Clemson||New Orleans, La.||11 a.m.|
|Sept. 22||Friday||*WKU||Bowling Green, Ky.||5 p.m.|
|Sept. 23||Saturday||*WKU||Bowling Green, Ky.||Noon|
|Sept. 28||Thursday||*Jax State||Memorial Gym||6 p.m.|
|Sept. 30||Saturday||*Jax State||Memorial Gym||Noon|
|Oct. 3||Tuesday||*NM State||Las Cruces, N.M.||6 p.m.|
|Oct. 4||Wednesday||*NM State||Las Cruces, N.M/||6 p.m.|
|Oct. 7||Saturday||*FIU||Memorial Gym||6 p.m.|
|Oct. 8||Sunday||*FIU||Memorial Gym||1 p.m.|
|Oct. 13||Friday||*Sam Houston||Huntsville, Texas||5:30 p.m.|
|Oct. 14||Saturday||*Sam Houston||Huntsville, Texas||1 p.m.|
|Oct. 20||Friday||*LA Tech||Memorial Gym||6 p.m.|
|Oct. 21||Saturday||*LA Tech||Memorial Gym||Noon|
|Oct. 27||Friday||*Middle Tennessee||Murfreesboro, Tenn.||5 p.m.|
|Oct. 28||Saturday||*Middle Tennessee||Murfreesboro, Tenn.||1 p.m.|
|Oct. 31||Tuesday||Chicago State||Memorial Gym||6 p.m.|
|Nov. 10||Friday||*Liberty||Memorial Gym||6 p.m.|
|Nov. 11||Saturday||*Liberty||Memorial Gym||1 p.m.|
|Nov. 17-19 C-USA Tournament @ Liberty (Lynchburg, VA)|
|Nov. 26 NCAA Tournament Selection Show|
Bold denotes home match
*Conference USA match
All Times MST