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Illinois Volleyball announces 2017 season schedule

Illinois volleyball team and first-year head coach Chris Tamas released its 2017 schedule, featuring 31 matches, including 12 contests at Huff Hall. The 2017 slate is highlighted by 11 opponents that participated in the 2016 NCAA Tournament, with three of the four teams that advanced to the Final Four on the schedule, including defending National Champion Stanford.

For the first time since the 2013 season, the Illini will be opening the season on the road as they start the 2017 campaign with back-to-back road tournaments. The Illini first travels to Bozeman, Mont., for the Montana State Bobcat Classic, hosted by Montana State on August 25-26, with the Illini facing the host Bobcats, as well as Gonzaga and Air Force. They continue the trip to Louisville, Ky., for a tournament hosted by the University of Louisville on September 1-2 and will take on the host Cardinals, Kent State and Western Kentucky.

The Big Ten/Pac-12 Challenge heads to Huff Hall for the first time in its history as the Illini host defending National Champion Stanford, led by former Illini head coach Kevin Hambly, in their home opener on September 8 and Colorado on September 9.

The Illini then round out their nonconference slate with a tournament at Missouri State and will face the host Bears, Chattanooga and Tennessee State in Springfield, Mo., on September 15-16.

Illinois opens Big Ten Conference action on the road for the third-straight season, taking on Indiana on September 20, before making its way back to Huff Hall for the conference home opener on October 6 against Purdue.

The Illini's 20-game conference schedule features home-and-away series with Minnesota, Penn State, Ohio State, Michigan, Iowa, Northwestern and Indiana, as well as home matches against Wisconsin, Purdue and Maryland. UI will also make trips to 2016 Big Ten Champion Nebraska, Rutgers and Michigan State.