A perennial power, a home tournament weekend and another rigorous journey through the Southland Conference await Northwestern State volleyball during the 2023 season.
On the Golden Anniversary of Demon volleyball, NSU is scheduled to play a total of 15 home matches, the most in a single season in more than 20 years beginning with one of the most storied programs in the country, UCLA.
After an opening weekend tournament at Mississippi State to begin the 2023 campaign, NSU will host the four-time national champion and four-time national runner up Bruins as its home opener on August 28 at 12:30 p.m.
“UCLA is a storied volleyball program on both the women’s and the men’s side of the game,” ninth-year head coach Sean Kiracofe said. “It means more to play a program like them if you have a sense for the history of our game. Then to add to it being a home match; it puts it on par with when LSU baseball came here for a game in 2019. We got a 3-1 at home against LSU then and would love a repeat of that in our first home match.”
Tickets for the home opener against the Bruins are on sale now by visiting www.nsutickets.com or calling 318-357-4268.
The match against UCLA will be the first of back-to-back home matches that week as NSU hosts Jackson State the next night at 6 p.m., the second of seven scheduled home matches in the first three weeks of the regular season.
The Demons make their farthest trip west since 2005 for its second tournament weekend where it will face Tulsa, Drake and Washington State in Pullman, Wash., the first weekend of September.
The busiest match week of the season for NSU starts on Sept. 12 when the Demons host Grambling and have their Southland opener against Southeastern two days later, both set for 6:30 p.m. start times. The match against the Lions will once again stand as the unofficial start to the 2nd Annual Battle for the Boot Tournament.
Natchitoches and NSU volleyball will host four other Louisiana schools the weekend of September 15 and 16 in the first home regular season tournament since 2011. Joining NSU on the schedule that weekend will be Southeastern, Louisiana Tech, Southern and ULM, the same five teams that participated in the event a year ago in Hammond.
“We love the idea and are fortunate to be a part of the only Louisiana school’s tournament,” Kiracofe said. “We are happy to be hosting this year which will be great for our student athletes and another chance to showcase Natchitoches to fans, family and friends that attend the tournament.”
A total of seven matches over the course of two days will be played among the five teams beginning at 10 a.m. on Friday morning. NSU is scheduled to play Louisiana Tech on Friday evening and ULM on Saturday afternoon prior to the home football game that day against Stephen F. Austin.
The Battle for the Boot will be a ticketed event with tickets going on sale in the coming weeks.
Following the home tournament weekend, the Demons go full bore into their conference slate with a split home and away weekend at New Orleans and home against Nicholls on Sept. 21 and 23 respectively, the first of four home and away weekend splits of the season. NSU will play one home and one road match in each of the final two weeks of September and October.
The Demons have a pair of full home weekends on the calender when it hosts Texas A&M-Corpus Christi and UIW the weekend of October 5 and HCU and McNeese the first weekend of November. NSU finishes the season on the road at Corpus Christi and UIW on November 9-11 prior to the conference tournament hosted by the Islanders beginning Nov. 16.
“We felt that we had a good season last year and finished with an amazing run, but only scratched the surface with what this team can accomplish,” Kiracofe said. “We believe that if the 2022 season had a few more weeks in it, we would have continued to improve every time we stepped on the court.
“We’re bringing back so much talent from last year’s team with some key additions so 2023 should be that continuation of improvement that know we had in us at the end of last season. The difficulty and challenge in our preconference schedule is absolutely going to prepare us to stand toe to toe with the best in the Southland.”
Stay up to date with NSU volleyball during the season by following @NSUDemonsVB on Twitter or Instagram or by liking Northwestern State volleyball on Facebook.