WKU Volleyball releases 2013 schedule

Sophomore middle hitter Heather Boyan hits the ball against North Texas. WKU won the 2012 Sun Belt Conference Volleyball Championship 3-0 against North Texas on Saturday Nov. 17, 2012 at Diddle Arena.

Elliott Pratt

The WKU volleyball team announced its 2013 schedule Tuesday.

After finishing a program-best No. 21 in the country, WKU will return 10 starters from last year’s Sun Belt Conference Championship team.

The 2013 campaign will bring the Lady Toppers six teams that played in the NCAA Tournament last year.

Coach Travis Hudson said the team has accepted the challenge of a rising strength of schedule each year.

“We continue to push the envelope, and every year I wonder if it’s a little much,” Hudson said. “Every year our team seems to rise to the occasion. They will certainly need to do that again this fall.”

WKU will open the regular season Aug. 30-31 in the Mortar Board Premier at Purdue, beginning the year with Alabama A&M followed by USC and the Boilermakers.

The Lady Toppers will open season play in Diddle Arena Sept. 3 when they host Belmont.

One of WKU’s three losses last year came at home to Ohio State in the WKU Tournament. The Lady Toppers will have a rematch with the Lady Buckeyes in the Florida State Tournament in Tallahassee, Fla. The team will then play Florida A&M and the Lady Seminoles.

WKU will host Virginia, Ohio, and UNLV in the annual WKU Invitational set for Sept. 13-14 in Diddle Arena.

With the departure of Middle Tennessee, Florida Atlantic, and Florida International to Conference USA, the Lady Toppers will be without a few of their biggest rivals for 2013. The team will play nine conference schools twice, with the addition of Georgia State, Texas State, and UT-Arlington to the league.

WKU will close out the regular season with five consecutive conference home games. The Lady Toppers will look to defend their back-to-back conference championships at the Sun Belt Conference Tournament in Troy, Ala. Nov. 21-23.