STARKVILLE, Miss. – Seventeen home matches, eight nationally televised contests, two tournaments in Starkville and 11 contests against 2013 NCAA Tournament participants highlight Mississippi State’s 2014 volleyball schedule, announced Saturday afternoon by head coach Jenny Hazelwood.
The Bulldogs will play 18 matches in the perennially tough Southeastern Conference, which had eight programs advance to the NCAA Tournament a year ago, in addition to 15 non-conference matches. Mississippi State begins the season with two road non-league tournaments before hosting two in Starkville prior to the SEC campaign beginning.
"The non-conference portion of our schedule has a great variety of opponents and will be exactly what we need in preparation for conference play,” Hazelwood said. "Hosting two home tournaments is also wonderful because we always get such great support from our amazing fans."
Mississippi State opens the 2014 regular season August 29-30 at Sam Houston State for a four-match tournament. There, the Bulldogs will face Cal State Bakersfield, host Sam Houston State, Texas-Pan American and Louisiana-Monroe.
Following the opening-weekend slate, the Bulldogs head to Bloomington, Ind., on Sept. 5-6 for a three-game tournament against Southeast Missouri State, Miami (Ohio) and host Indiana.
Mississippi State kicks off the home portion of the schedule with the Maroon Classic from Sept 11-13. The Bulldogs play South Alabama, Memphis, Nicholls State and Northwestern State.
For the final non-conference tuneup Sept. 18-20, MSU will host the Bulldog Invitational. Mississippi State will welcome North Dakota, Mississippi Valley State, SIU-Edwardsville and Pacific to Starkville for the three-day event.
The Bulldogs open the SEC portion of the slate on Sept. 26 at Missouri and finish the opening weekend of league play on Sept. 28 at Arkansas.
The following weekend, Oct. 3-5, MSU welcomes South Carolina and Florida to the Newell-Grissom Building on Friday and Sunday, respectively.
Mississippi State returns to road action Oct. 8 at LSU and travels to Oxford to face rival Ole Miss on Oct. 12.
State hosts Tennessee on Oct. 17 and Missouri on Oct. 19 before hitting the road for another two-match weekend. The Bulldogs travel to South Carolina on Oct. 24 and Florida on Oct. 26. MSU ends the month at home versus Auburn on Oct. 31.
To open the final month of the regular season, Mississippi State welcomes Ole Miss to Starkville on Nov. 5 before heading to Alabama on Nov. 12. The Bulldogs' final three home matches will be Nov. 16 versus LSU, Nov. 23 against Kentucky and Nov. 26 versus Texas A&M. Sandwiched between the two home weekends is a Nov. 21 trip to Georgia.
Mississippi State ends the regular season Nov. 29 at Auburn.
The 2014 campaign will also mark the debut of the SEC Network. The Bulldogs will have five games broadcast on the network: Oct. 5 against Florida, Oct. 19 versus Missouri, Oct. 31 against Auburn, Nov. 21 at Georgia and Nov. 23 versus Kentucky.
"The SEC Network is providing unprecedented opportunities to showcase Mississippi State volleyball,” Hazelwood said. “We are so excited to be able to reach family, friends and volleyball fans throughout the season."
In addition to the SEC Network, part of the ESPN family of networks, MSU will appear three times on ESPNU, at LSU (Oct. 8), against Ole Miss (Nov. 5) and at Alabama (Nov. 12).