Volleyball Releases 2022 Schedule – North Carolina A&T

EAST GREENSBORO – The North Carolina A&T Aggies volleyball team is completing its first and final season in the Big South Conference and entering its first-ever season in the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA), which released its 2022 schedule on Tuesday.

Hal Clifton enters his 12th season as Aggies head coach. He will seek to lead the A&T to his fourth straight season and third straight postseason appearance.

“We’re excited to announce our fall schedule,” said Clifton. “It’s a schedule full of old and new opponents. We look forward to maintaining our relationships with our HBCU colleagues and look forward to attending a new conference. It’s a very dynamic schedule and we’re being challenged in so many ways.”

Here’s a look at the schedule.

PRE-CONFERENCE INVITATIONS
AGGIE SPARTAN INVITATION (26-27 August)
OPPONENT:
Coppin State, Bethune-Cookman, UNC Greensboro

DISMANTLE: The Aggies will open the season by doing what has become a tradition by sharing an invite with their Greensboro Division I colleague, UNCG. The Aggies will go old school for the Aggie-Spartan Invitational as they host former Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) opponents Coppin State and Bethune-Cookman. The Aggies defeated Coppin State 3-1 in the spring 2021 MEAC championship game in Norfolk, Virginia for their first-ever conference tournament championship. The Aggies were 6-12 against Bethune under Clifton but won three of the last four matchups.

DAVIDSON WILDCAT INVITATION (Sep 1-3)
OPPONENT:
Davidson, New Mexico, Lindenwood

DISMANTLE: After hosting two of the first three games of the season, A&T travels to Davidson, NC Davidson leads the series 13-2. The Aggies’ last win against the Wildcats came in 2001 when they won 3-0 at Davidson. The Wildcats are on an eight-game win streak against A&T. In the meantime, the Aggies have yet to face New Mexico State or Lindenwood.

A native of St. Charles, Mo., Lindenwood will be moving from Division II to Division I this year. The Lions will attend the Ohio Valley Conference. Like A&T, New Mexico State played in last year’s National Invitational Volleyball Championship (NIVC) tournament but fell 3-0 to UNLV.

AGGIE PHOENIX INVITATION (Sep 9-10)
OPPONENT:
North Carolina Central, Fla. A&M

DISMANTLE: The Aggies will share another invitational tournament with a Piedmontese rival in Elon. The Phoenix is ​​now also a conference opponent. But as new as things are, there’s a lot that’s familiar about the Aggie-Phoenix Invitational. The Aggies are 17-15 against NCCU but have won their last 10 games. The last NCCU win against A&T came in 2016 when they defeated the Aggies 3-2 in Greensboro. FAMU leads the series 48-7, but A&T has won the last three games, including a 3-1 win in Washington, DC, in the semifinals of the 2018 MEAC tournament to end a 40-game losing streak. The two schools have not met since A&T began playing in the Big South Conference and FAMU 2021 began playing in the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC).

Clifton: “We’ve had so many great competitions against FAMU, BCU, Coppin and of course NCCU. It’s great to keep these rivalries alive.

OTHER NON-CONFERENCE MATCHUP (30 Aug, 6 Sept)
OPPONENT:
NCCU, Wachwald

DISMANTLE: Before the Aggies see their arch-rival at the Aggie-Phoenix Invitational, they meet NCCU in Durham at 6 p.m. An ACC team is coming to historic Moore High School this season. The Demon Deacons lead the series 4-0, including a 3-0 win at Winston-Salem, NC last year, their first matchup since 2008. However, A&T clinched its first-ever Power Five and ACC later in the year Victory week at Virginia Tech, 3-2.

Clifton: “I am incredibly pleased that ACC member Wake Forest has agreed to come to our campus. Moore Gym is a great volleyball facility and we love it when our fans grab the gym and make it loud. It makes a difference when you have that support and the players can feed off the energy of our fans.”

CAA CONFERENCE SCHEDULE

DISMANTLE: In CAA play, the Aggies play two-match streaks on Saturdays and Sundays when conference play begins. The conference match begins against Elon Phoenix at Moore High School.

Elon: The Phoenix leads the series 21-4 and has won all five games as a CAA member. The last A&T win came in 2006, a 3-1 win at Greensboro. Elon has won against A&T 12 times in a row, with the previous meeting taking place in 2018.

Hofstra: A&T has never played Hofstra. Hofstra placed fifth in the CAA with an 8-8 conference record to reach the tournament. Hofstra earned sixth place, defeating the third-place College of Charleston Cougars 3-2 before losing 3-1 to Elon in the semifinals.

Towson: Towson will be another first-time opponent for the Aggies. With a 14-5 conference record, Towson won the regular season and won his third straight conference championship after a 3-2 win over Elon at home. However, the Tigers fell 3-1 to 15th-ranked Penn State in the NCAA tournament in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Towson has a conference record of 61-9 over the past three seasons.

William and Maria: William and Mary lead the series 3-1. The Aggies won the first match of the series before losing the next three. The tribe finished last in the conference with a 2-14 record.

Hampton: Hampton and A&T will face conference opponents in the third different conference since the beginning of their volleyball rivalry. Having been MEAC and Big South enemies, they will now go toe-to-toe in the CAA. A&T leads the series 24-3 in the MEAC and 2-0 in the Big South. The Aggies won the first 23 games of the series, but Hampton won three of the last four in the final years of MEAC. The Pirates finished bottom in the Big South in 2021 with a 2-14 record.

UNC Wilmington: UNCW leads the series 15-3 and has won the last eight. The last meeting took place in 2019; a 3-0 UNCW win at Wilmington. A&T’s last win against UNCW came in 2001 when they defeated the Seahawks 3-2 in Wilmington. UNCW missed the tournament last season with a 3-13 conference record.

Northeast: Northeastern tied Delaware and Hofstra for an 8-8 record but fell 3-1 to Delaware in the first round of the CAA Championship. A&T and Northeastern have never played.

College of Charleston: The College of Charleston won the last meeting in Charleston, SC, 3-0 as a member of the Big South, but as a member of the Atlantic Sun in 1998, A&T won 3-0 in Charleston. The College of Charleston finished fourth overall with a 9-7 record. The Cougars fell to Hofstra in the first round of the CAA tournament.

Clifton: “We have new opponents for the second year in a row as we enter a new era with the CAA. We have not (routinely) played against any of these schools, except occasionally against Elon. We’re hungry for a challenge, and I know it’s going to be a demanding conference schedule.”

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