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The Gophers gave their first glimpse of a new era of Big Ten volleyball on Wednesday as they released their 2024 schedule, and coach Keegan Cook is already looking to the future.

This year will feature a 20-match conference schedule with the Gophers playing three opponents home-and-away: Michigan, Ohio State and rival Wisconsin.

The Gophers will make a West Coast conference road trip for the first time to face UCLA and USC in October and they'll welcome the other new members of the Big Ten to Maturi Pavilion, facing Washington and Oregon in November.

Cook said he was pleased with the schedule but noticed some wrinkles. "We saw the travel partners a while ago and I thought it was done about as well as it could be done," he said. "We have quite a few split trips, that's basically one at home and one away; we do that four times. ... What effect that will have on our team it's hard to say."

The 20-match conference schedule is locked in for two years, and Cook said he hopes after that the conference will change plans, switch to a standard round-robin between all Big Ten teams — 17 matches — and start a postseason conference tournament that gets you close to 20 total conference matches.

"It's always been the smaller conferences that do postseason tournaments," Cook said. "The next conference to do it will be the SEC in 2025, I'd like to see the Big Ten get to a place where they're doing a postseason. ... I think our sport is ready."

The Gophers also increased their non-conference schedule from eight matches to 10, lessons learned from last season when the Gophers went 4-4 and put themselves in a difficult position when it came to total wins needed to reach the NCAA tournament.

"It got a little sticky last year," Cook said. "I think by the end our strength of schedule was No. 3 [in the nation] but 4-4 coming out of the nonconference, you have to win more Big Ten games than you lose."

This year they open with the inaugural Intersport Women's Volleyball Showcase on Sept. 1-2 at FISERV Forum in Milwaukee. The Gophers face Stanford on Sept. 1 while Texas plays Wisconsin. Matchups split the next day with Minnesota facing Texas and Wisconsin facing Stanford. It will be a marquee event for the sport, as two of the four games will be broadcast on FOX and two on FS1.

A unique year for Gophers football — the U will play its first four games of the year at home — made volleyball scheduling difficult because they didn't want to overlap weekend dates. The volleyball team won't play at home until their fifth match of the season, against St. Thomas on Sept. 10. Its only weekend match before Big Ten play is vs. Auburn on Friday, Sept. 13.

Gophers volleyball 2024 schedule

Nonconference

Sept 1: vs. Stanford, 2 p.m.*

Sept. 2: vs. Texas, 6:30 p.m.*

Sept. 6: at Baylor, 7 p.m.#

Sept. 7: vs. TCU, 4 p.m.#

Sept. 10: vs. ST. THOMAS, 7 p.m.

Sept. 12: vs. TBD^

Sept. 13: vs. AUBURN, TBA^

Sept. 19: at Green Bay, 7 p.m.

Sept. 20: vs. North Dakota, 5 p.m.

Sept. 21: vs. Chicago State, noon

Conference (all times TBA)

Sept. 25: WISCONSIN

Sept. 28: PURDUE

Oct. 4: at UCLA

Oct. 5: at USC

Oct. 11: INDIANA

Oct. 12: MARYLAND

Oct. 18: at Rutgers

Oct. 20: at Penn State

Oct. 23: NORTHWESTERN

Oct. 27: at Ohio State

Nov. 1: at Michigan State

Nov. 3: at Michigan

Nov. 7: WASHINGTON

Nov. 9: OREGON

Nov. 14: at Nebraska

Nov. 17: MICHIGAN

Nov. 20: at Wisconsin

Nov. 23: IOWA

Nov. 27: at Illinois

Nov. 29: OHIO STATE

Key: *-Intersport Volleyball Showcase at FISERV Forum, Milwaukee; #-Big Ten/Big 12 Challenge; ^-Diet Coke Classic at Maturi Pavilion.