Andy Sneddon, CMUChippewas.com
MOUNT PLEASANT, Mich. – Mike Gawlik’s second year as the Central Michigan volleyball coach gets underway on Aug. 25 when the Chippewas play in the Army Tournament in West Point, N.Y.
CMU is slated to play St. Francis Brooklyn, Army West Point, and Hartford in the event. Hartford is coached by former Chippewa assistant Mitch Kallick. Army West Point finished second last season in the Patriot League.
The tourney is the first of four in which the Chippewas will play before opening the Mid-American Conference slate with a home weekend (Sept. 21-23) against Toledo and Ball State.
“I think this year’s schedule will provide a wide range of opponents in the pre-conference that will expose us to many different styles of volleyball,” said Gawlik, who led CMU to an 11-17 finish in 2016. “Hopefully we’ll be able to use the experience gained in these opportunities to springboard us into MAC play, which will once again be very competitive.”
After the Army West Point Tournament, CMU will head to the George Mason Tournament in Fairfax, Va., and then will host the Chippewa Challenge Sept. 8-9 at McGuirk Arena.
CMU closes the nonconference portion of the schedule at the Notre Dame Tournament, where it is slated to play Southern Illinois, Michigan State, and the Fighting Irish. Gawlik was a longtime assistant at Michigan State before coming to CMU.
Michigan State is among three teams on CMU’s 2017 docket who earned NCAA Tournament berths last season. The others are Cleveland State, one of three teams coming to Mount Pleasant for the Chippewa Challenge, and defending MAC Tournament champion Northern Illinois.
Cleveland State won both the Horizon League regular-season and tournament titles a year ago. Indiana-Purdue-Indianapolis and Indiana State round out the Chippewa Challenge field.
CMU plays at Northern Illinois on Sept. 30, and entertains the Huskies on Nov. 3. NIU and Miami (Ohio) shared the MAC regular-season crown last fall. CMU goes to Miami on Oct. 13.
The Chippewas play three of their final four MAC matches at home, beginning with the Nov. 3 date against NIU, followed by matches with Western Michigan and Eastern Michigan. The Chippewas close the regular season at Ohio on Nov. 11.