MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – West Virginia University Director of Athletics Oliver Luck has announced the 2012 volleyball schedule, which includes 18 home matches at the WVU Coliseum and six teams that competed in the 2011 NCAA tournament.
"The West Virginia volleyball program is embarking on a new era as it enters the Big 12 Conference this season," Luck says. "Coach Kramer and her staff have set a schedule that will truly challenge our student-athletes and also allow for some exciting competition at home."
"It is such a great feeling to be entering a new era of WVU volleyball,” coach Jill Kramer says. “The Big 12 coaches have done a tremendous job creating a stellar conference for volleyball and we are excited to be a part of it.”
To kick off the 2012 season, the Mountaineers will hold their annual Gold-Blue scrimmage which will take place at noon on Saturday, Aug. 18 at the WVU Coliseum.
WVU will officially begin its season on Aug. 24-25 with the Mountaineer Invitational -- the first of three home tournaments. WVU will host nine different opponents from six different conferences in the three tournaments including two first-time opponents in Central Connecticut and 2011 NCAA tournament participant Maryland-Eastern Shore.
"Our goal in the early season is to build continuity with our team and focus on creating a great home environment to prepare for Big 12 play,” Kramer says.
Before hitting the road for its first away tournament, WVU will host its first conference match against defending Big 12 champion, 2011 NCAA tournament participant and first-time opponent Texas on Wednesday, Aug. 29 at the WVU Coliseum. The Longhorns closed out the 2011 season ranked No. 4 in the AVCA Poll and were one of three Big 12 opponents to finish in the top 25.
“We will open Big 12 play on August 29, which is only the second week of the season, playing host to Texas,” Kramer says. “It will be the first sporting event that WVU will compete in as a member of the Big 12, and will give our fans a great opportunity to experience how thrilling Big 12 volleyball really is.”
The Mountaineers’ lone away tournament will be The Mason Inn Patriot Invitational at George Mason University Aug. 31-Sept.1. The Invitational opens on Friday with a pair of matches against SEC team South Carolina and Navy before concluding the tournament with host George Mason on Saturday.
WVU will close out preseason play by hosting the West Virginia Golden Horseshoe Challenge and the Gold and Blue Challenge on Sept. 7-8 and Sept. 15-16, respectively. The Mountaineers will also travel to Robert Morris for a non-conference mid-week matchup on Tuesday, Sept. 11.
Big 12 play will resume for the Mountaineers on Saturday, Sept. 22 at the WVU Coliseum where the team will take on fellow Big 12 newcomer TCU.
"The Big 12 features some of the top volleyball programs in the country and has a very different format from what we've been accustomed to in the past,” Kramer says. “The majority of our matches will be on Wednesday or Saturday, which allows us to prepare for one match at a time, versus the typical Friday/Saturday format, which forces you to prepare for two opponents at one time.
“The other difference is that there is no conference tournament, so we will play a double-round robin format and finish out our regular season on Thanksgiving weekend.”
The first Big 12 road trip for the Mountaineers will be against first-time opponent and 2011 NCAA tournament participant Kansas State on Thursday, Sept. 27. The Wildcats finished the 2011 season ranked No. 22 and were one of three Big 12 schools to make the Sweet 16 in the 2011 NCAA tournament. WVU will round out the road trip with a stop at Oklahoma on Saturday, Sept. 29.
The Mountaineers open the month of October with a two-game home stand against Kansas on Wednesday, Oct. 3 and non-conference foe Duquesne on Saturday, Oct. 6, before hitting the road to face Iowa State on Wednesday Oct. 10. The Cyclones finished second in the Big 12 last year and were No. 8 in the final 2011 AVCA poll.
WVU will return home to the Coliseum for a match against Texas Tech on Saturday, Oct. 13 before traveling to face Baylor for a match on Saturday, Oct. 20. The Bears are one of only two opponents WVU faced in 2011 with Baylor taking the game 3-0 in Waco, Texas.
The Mountaineers will begin the second half of conference play at home against Kansas State on Wednesday Oct. 24, before back-to-back road matches against Texas Tech and Kansas on Saturday, Oct. 27 and Monday, Oct. 29, respectively.
The final month of conference play begins with two home matches against Oklahoma on Saturday, Nov. 3 and Baylor on Saturday, Nov. 10. WVU will play Texas in Austin, Texas, on Saturday, Nov. 17 before returning to the Coliseum for the final home match of the 2012 regular season against Iowa State on Wednesday, Nov. 21.
The Mountaineers will close out the final regular season match on the road at TCU on Saturday, Nov. 24.
Division I NCAA volleyball championship action will open Thursday, Nov. 29 at respective regional sites. 2012 WVU Volleyball Schedule