SEATTLE - It will be a Border War of a different sort for the Husky volleyball team this September, as Washington Head Coach Jim McLaughlin announced that the Huskies will host the Canadian National Team for a pair of exhibition matches in the midst of this season's nonconference schedule.
The Canadians will visit Seattle for back-to-back matches on Friday, Sept. 6, and Saturday, Sept. 7. Washington previously had an open week during that stretch, with their home opener against Seattle U coming on Sept. 3, followed by a road trip to Illinois on Sept. 13. In another twist, the Sept. 6 match will be played at KeyArena, giving local fans a preview of how the sport will play in the facility ahead of this December's NCAA Final Four.
The Friday match in KeyArena is set for 7 p.m., while the Sept. 7 match on Saturday will be back in Alaska Airlines Arena at a time to be determined.
Washington is now no strangers to playing national teams in exhibitions, having faced various assemblages of national teams from Croatia, Slovenia, and Italy on its foreign tour this summer. Coach McLaughlin was excited about the early season challenge.
"They're going to put a lot of pressure on us. They're getting ready for a major tournament and they'll be ready to go. It's going to be a good test for our team. Also, playing in the Final Four site is a big deal. We've had a great history with Cananda so bringing them in made a lot of sense. We're lucky they had the time and the schedule worked out that we could do it."
Canadian National Team Head Coach Arnd Ludwig talked about the opportunity from his team's perspective. "We are looking forward to the matches in Seattle," he said. "It is a great opportunity to play against a top team from the NCAA and we see this series against UW as a great chance to fine tune our game for the NORCECA Championship, that starts a week later."
One advantage of the exhibition set-up as opposed to just playing two more non-conference matches will be the opportunity to apply lessons from one match to the next.
"We get to play them two nights in a row so you get to make some adjustments like you would in Pac-12 play," said McLaughlin. That's a great learning experience for our players; can we do things a little differently and a little bit better the second match?"
The Huskies will report for the start of fall camp this Friday, August 9.