LA CROSSE, Wis. — The Viterbo University women’s volleyball team — there is now a men’s volleyball team, as well — released its schedule for the 2018 season.
The V-Hawks finished last season ranked No. 3 in the NAIA with a 39-2 record and a Final Four finish. Viterbo was ranked No. 2 heading into a championship semifinal upset to No. 4-ranked Dordt College. It was the third Final Four appearance in the past four seasons for Viterbo. It was also the fourth consecutive season Viterbo finished with 39 wins.
Heading into the Aug. 16 season-opener, Viterbo will have to replace its top hitter, setter and libero. Amelia Grahn graduated the all-time leader in assists (5,177). Natalie Geidel finished her career last year second all-time in the record books in kills (2,174). And Baylee Gross graduated fourth on the V-Hawks’ all-time digs record with 2,117.
This season Viterbo will rematch against three of last year’s tournament teams, as well 10 teams that ended the season ranked in the Top 25. The V-Hawks’ home-opener will be an Aug. 24-25 tournament. The intra-city matchup with the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse for the Coulee Cup will be Sept. 13.
Below is an extended look at the 2018 schedule from Viterbo (for a printable version, click here):
Evangel University (Mo.) – August 16
Evangel Tip-off Classic, Springfield, Mo – 6 p.m.
The V-Hawks open the season at the Evangel Tip-off Classic against the host Crusaders. The two teams faced off last in 2015, where Viterbo won the neutral site contest in five sets. The V-Hawks have won their last two matchups and lead the all-time series, 3-2.
Midland University (Neb.) – August 17
Evangel Tip-off Classic, Springfield, Mo – 9:30 a.m.
The Warriors and V-Hawks will square off in the opening week for the second-straight season. Last season, Midland visited La Crosse for the Viterbo Preseason Invitational in August. The V-Hawks won the matchup in four sets. Viterbo leads the all-time series dating back to 2012, 3-1. Midland made it to the round of 16 in the 2017 NAIA Tournament.
Missouri Baptist – August 17
Evangel Tip-off Classic, Springfield, Mo – 2:30 p.m.
A battle between 2017 NAIA Semifinalists, the two teams have played each other at a neutral site for the sixth time. Viterbo has won the last two matchups, including defeating the #12 Spartans in five sets last September. The V-Hawks lead the all-time series, 3-2.
Cardinal Stritch University (Wis.) – August 24
Holiday Inn Viterbo Preseason Invitational – Noon
The in-state Wolves are the V-Hawks’ opening opponent of their first home tournament. Viterbo owns the all-time series, 9-0, but the teams have only faced off once since 2012. In 2016, Viterbo swept the neutral site game.
Morningside College (Iowa) – August 24
Holiday Inn Viterbo Preseason Invitational – 6 p.m.
Viterbo has won all three contests against Morningside, including their last matchup in 2015, which was a 3-0 sweep in Sioux City, Iowa. The Mustangs made it to the round of 16 in the NAIA National Tournament, but lost to Park University, who Viterbo would defeat in the quarterfinal round.
University of Saint Francis (Ill.) – August 25
Holiday Inn Viterbo Preseason Invitational – 10 a.m.
The V-Hawks have won the last four matchups against the Fighting Saints, including the last game in 2015 in the St. Francis Big Guns Classic, where Viterbo won 3-0. Viterbo leads the all-time series, 4-2.
Our Lady of the Lake University (Texas) – August 25 & October 13
Holiday Inn Viterbo Preseason Invitational – 4 p.m.
Grand View Tournament – 3 p.m.
Viterbo will have two matches against their 2017 NAIA Pool Play opponent. The first-ever game between the two schools came last November. The V-Hawks opened the national tournament by sweeping the Saints to begin their run to the Final Four round. The two teams will play one game in La Crosse and a second at a neutral site.
Olivet Nazarene University (Ill.) – August 31
Hampton Inn Classic – 3 p.m.
Viterbo heads south to Columbia College (Mo.) where they will open the Hampton Inn Classic against Olivet Nazarene. The two schools have matched up in each of the last three seasons. Viterbo won the 2017 game in a 3-0 sweep. The V-Hawks have won the last seven games against the Tigers and lead the all-time series, 7-1.
Park University (Mo.) – August 31
Hampton Inn Classic – 7 p.m.
Viterbo won both of last season’s games against Park. At the same Hampton Inn Classic, the V-Hawks defeated the #3-ranked Pirates in five sets, overcoming a 1-2 set deficit. In the NAIA Tournament Quarterfinal Round, Viterbo swept the #7-ranked Park to move onto the Final Four round. The all-time series is tied, 4-4.
Taylor University (Ind.) – Sept. 1
Hampton Inn Classic – 1 p.m.
Taylor and Viterbo will play each other for the second time ever. Their first matchup came in 2012, where the V-Hawks won in a sweep.
Columbia College (Mo.) – Sept. 1
Hampton Inn Classic – 5 p.m.
Viterbo has played in Columbia’s home tournament every season since 2015 and has not lost a single game at the Hampton Inn Classic (12-0). The V-Hawks have won their last five games versus the Cougars and lead the all-time series, 5-2. Columbia qualified for the NAIA Tournament in each of the last 24 seasons.
Williams Woods University (Mo.) – Sept. 7
V-Hawk Holiday Inn Tournament – 7 p.m.
The Owls make the trip north for the V-Hawks’ second home tournament. The two schools play each other for the first time since 2013. Viterbo won both matchups that year. The V-Hawks lead the all-time series, 2-1.
Saint Xavier University (Ill.) – Sept. 8
V-Hawk Holiday Inn Tournament – 11 a.m.
Viterbo last faced St. Xavier in 2012, where they beat them twice in a nine-day span. The V-Hawks lead the all-time series, 3-1. Their first matchup came in 2003.
Trinity Christian College (Ill.) – Sept.8
V-Hawk Holiday Inn Tournament – 3 p.m.
Viterbo broke a winless streak against TCC last fall when they beat Trolls in four sets at the Grand View Tournament last October. Trinity had won the previous five matchups since their first game in 2001. The V-Hawks finish their second home tournament against the Trolls in September.
Waldorf University (Iowa) – Sept. 12 & Oct. 10
Forest City, Iowa and La Crosse, Wis. – 7 p.m.
Viterbo opens up their conference schedule at Waldorf and will host the Warriors in October. The V-Hawks have won their last 14 games against the Warriors against the former Midwest Collegiate Conference opponent. Viterbo leads the all-time series, 18-3.
UW-La Crosse – September 13
Mitchell Hall – 7 p.m.
The next chapter in the battle for the Coulee Cup will be written in Mitchell Hall on the UWL campus this fall. The Eagles come off a WIAC Championship in 2017, but Viterbo has won the last 10 matchups against UWL, including last season’s game in five sets. UW-La Crosse leads the all-time series, 27-13.
Mayville State University (N.D.) – Sept. 21 and Oct. 26
Mayville, N.D. at 7 p.m. & La Crosse, Wis. at 7:30 p.m.
Viterbo has won the last seven matchups against Mayville State and leads the all-time series, 8-3. The series dates back to 1995 when the school was called Mayville College. As a member of the North Star Athletic Association, the V-Hawks have not dropped a set against the Comets (24-0).
Presentation College (S.D.) – Sept. 22 & Oct. 27
Aberdeen, S.D. at 2 p.m. & La Crosse, Wis., Noon
The two schools first met in 2015 when Viterbo joined the NSAA. Since then, the V-Hawks have won each of their seven meetings. They played three times last season, including during the NSAA Semifinal Round. The V-Hawks have not dropped a set to the Saints, (27-0)
Dickinson State University (N.D.) – Sept. 28 & Oct. 19
La Crosse, Wis. at 7 & Dickinson, N.D. at 8 p.m.
The V-Hawks first played the Blue Hawks in 2016 and lead the all-time series, 4-0. Viterbo won both of their conference matchups last season in four sets.
Valley City State University (N.D.) – Sept. 29 & Oct. 20
La Crosse, Wis. & Valley City, N.D. – 2 p.m.
The Vikings and V-Hawks have played every season since 2014. Their first matchup came in 2011, where Viterbo swept Valley City State. The V-Hawks have won all eight matchups, all time.
Dordt College (Iowa) – Oct. 2
Sioux Center, Iowa – 7 p.m.
The V-Hawks get a rematch against the team that ended their 2017 season. The schools split their two games last season. Viterbo hosted #7-ranked Dordt last October and won, 3-1. The two schools met in the NAIA Final Four, but the #4-ranked Defenders came out on top, 3-1. The V-Hawks will travel to Sioux Center this October.
Bellevue University (Neb.) – Oct. 5 & Nov. 2
La Crosse, Wis. & Bellevue, Neb. – 7 p.m.
Viterbo’s will return to conference play against Bellevue at home. Their second game will come on the final weekend of conference play. The V-Hawks lead the all-time series, 8-1, and have won the last seven games. Their last matchup came in the 2017 NSAA Championship Game, where Viterbo won in three sets. Two games in the series have gone to five sets, including their first-ever matchup in 2011.
Dakota State University (S.D.) – Oct. 6 & Nov. 3
La Crosse, Wis. & Madison, S.D. – 2 p.m.
The first meeting between the two schools came in 2008, where Viterbo won in four sets. The series was renewed in 2015 when Viterbo joined the NSAA. The V-Hawks lead the all-time series, 6-0.
University of Providence (Mont.) – Oct. 12
Grand View Tournament, Des Moines, Iowa – 3 p.m.
This is the first-ever matchup between the two schools.
Grand View University (Iowa) – Oct. 12
Grand View Tournament, Des Moines, Iowa – 7 p.m.
The V-Hawks won both matchups last season, 3-1 in the Viterbo Preseason Invitational and 3-0 in the Grand View Tournament. The two teams will play the nightcap on the first day of Grand View’s home tournament. The Vikings lead the all-time series, 16-14 (records dating back to 1995, first meeting in 1990).
Rocky Mountain College (Mont.) – Oct. 13
Grand View Tournament, Des Moines, Iowa – 11 a.m.
The V-Hawks get a rematch against Battlin’ Bears at the same tournament they faced each other last season. Rocky Mountain College upset the #1-ranked Viterbo in five sets on October 14, breaking a 23-game winning streak. The V-Hawks lead the all-time series, 2-1.