Volleyball Releases 2022 Schedule – North Carolina A&T

EAST GREENSBORO – The North Carolina A&T Aggies volleyball team is coming off their first and final season in the Big South Conference and heading into their first-ever season in the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) released their 2022 schedule on Tuesday.

Hal Clifton is heading into his 12th season as the Aggies head coach. He will try to lead the A&T to its fifth straight winning season and third straight postseason appearance.

“We are excited to announce our fall schedule,” Clifton said. “It is a schedule full of old and new opponents. We are excited to keep our relationships with our fellow HBCUs and excited to compete in a new conference. It’s a very dynamic schedule, and we will be challenged in so many ways.”

Here’s a look at the schedule.

PRE-CONFERENCE INVITATIONALS
AGGIE-SPARTAN INVITATIONAL (Aug. 26-27)
OPPONENT(S):
Coppin State, Bethune-Cookman, UNC Greensboro

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

DAVIDSON WILDCAT INVITATION (Sept. 1-3)
OPPONENT(S):
Davidson, New Mexico State, Lindenwood

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

Lindenwood is out of St. Charles, Mo., transitioning from Division II to Division I this year. The Lions will join the Ohio Valley Conference. Like A&T, New Mexico State also played in the National Invitational Volleyball Championship (NIVC) Tournament last year but fell to UNLV 3-0.

AGGIE-PHOENIX INVITATIONAL (Sept. 9-10)
OPPONENT(S):
North Carolina Central, Florida A&M

BREAKDOWN: The Aggies will share another invitational with a Piedmont rival in Elon. The Phoenix is ​​now also a conference foe. But as new as things are, there is a lot of familiarity in the Aggie-Phoenix Invitational. The Aggies are 17-15 against the NCCU but have won the last 10 matches. The last NCCU win over 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 matches, including a 3-1 win in Washington, DC, in the 2018 MEAC tournament semifinal to snap a 40-match losing streak. The two schools have not met since A&T began to play in the Big South Conference and FAMU started to play in the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) in 2021.

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

OTHER NON-CONFERENCE MATCHUP (Aug. 30, Sept. 6)
OPPONENT(S):
NCCU, Wake Forest

BREAKDOWN: Before the Aggies see their archrival in the Aggie-Phoenix Invitational, they will face NCCU in Durham at 6 pm An ACC team is coming to historic Moore Gymnasium this season. The Demon Deacons lead the series 4-0, including a 3-0 win in Winston-Salem, NC, last year, the first matchup since 2008. However, A&T did pick up its first-ever Power Five and ACC win later in the week at Virginia Tech, 3-2.

Clifton: “I’m incredibly excited 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 pack 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

BREAKDOWN: In CAA play, the Aggies will play two-match series on Saturdays and Sundays when conference play begins. Conference play starts against the Elon Phoenix at Moore Gymnasium.

Elon: The Phoenix leads the series 21-4 and has won all five matches as a CAA member. The last A&T win came in 2006, a 3-1 victory at Greensboro. Elon has won 12 straight over A&T, with the previous meeting occurring in 2018.

Hofstra: A&T has never played Hofstra. Hofstra finished tied for fifth in the CAA with an 8-8 conference record to reach the tournament. Hofstra received the sixth seed and defeated the third-seeded College of Charleston Cougars 3-2 before falling to Elon, 3-1, 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 its third consecutive conference championship after a 3-2 win over Elon at home. However, the Tigers fell to No. 15 Penn State 3-1 in Pittsburgh, Pa., in the NCAA tournament. Towson has a 61-9 conference record in the last three seasons.

William and Mary: William and Mary leads the series 3-1. The Aggies did win 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 match up as conference foes in the third different conference since their volleyball rivalry began. After being MEAC and Big South foes, 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 matches of the series, but Hampton won three of the last four in the final years of the MEAC. The Pirates finished last in the Big South with a 2-14 record in 2021.

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

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

College of Charleston: College of Charleston won the last meeting, 3-0, in Charleston, SC, as a member of the Big South, but as a member of the Atlantic Sun in 1998, A&T won 3-0 in Charleston. College of Charleston finished fourth in the standings 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 straight year as we enter into a new era with the CAA. We haven’t played any of those schools (routinely) except Elon on occasion. We are hungry for the challenge, and I know it will be a demanding conference schedule.”

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