PROVO, Utah—Releasing an opponent lineup including top-tier foes, BYU women’s volleyball coach Shawn Olmstead announced the schedule for the 2012 season Thursday.
“Our program is excited about the upcoming 2012 season,” Olmstead said. “It’s always nice to compete with teams from different regions and conferences and we’ve accomplished that with this schedule. We feel that our non-conference opponents will help us prepare for our second season of competition in the West Coast Conference.”
The Cougars will have at least seven matches broadcast on national television, with BYUtv broadcasting six of them.
BYU launches the 2012 season with four tournaments. Aug. 24, the Cougars face Arkansas State in their season opener. BYU then faces former Mountain West Conference opponent Air Force and tournament host Rice on Aug. 25.
The team then heads to Kansas for an invitational at Wichita State, joined by another former MWC opponent Colorado State (No. 25 in the final 2011 AVCA Coaches’ Poll) and Tennessee (No. 19 in 2011).
The Cougars will host their third tournament Sep. 7-8, welcoming the University of Utah, Portland State and Bowling Green to Elaine Michaelis Court before finishing the pre-conference schedule with a tournament at George Washington. They will also meet Princeton and New Hampshire while in Washington D.C.
During conference play, the Cougars will face powerhouses Pepperdine and San Diego, who ended 2011 No. 1 and No. 2 in the WCC, respectively. Both teams went on to the NCAA Tournament in 2011, with USD reaching the second round and Pepperdine making it to the Elite Eight. The Waves hosted their first two matches, but fell to UCLA in the quarterfinals. They ended the season ranked No. 6 in the AVCA Coaches’ Poll.
BYU faces Pepperdine to start league play, with a home matchup Sep. 20. The Cougars then face Gonzaga, a team with which BYU split the 2011 series.
Saint Mary’s also proved a tough opponent in BYU’s first year in the conference. With All-WCC players Jordan Shaw and Missy White returning for SMC, the Gaels are once again in the running for the No. 1 position in the WCC. BYU meets SMC for the first time in Moraga, Calif., Sep. 29 and for the final time Oct. 18 in Provo.
Oct. 31, the Cougars host USD at 8 p.m. on Elaine Michaelis Court.
Perhaps the toughest week of conference play comes the last week of league competition, when the Cougars go head-to-head with both Pepperdine and USD on the road Nov. 15 and Nov. 17, respectively.
The team went 21-9 overall and 10-6 in conference in its first year in the WCC.
BYU finishes its regular season with a home match against in-state foe Utah Valley Nov. 20.
Due to broadcast scheduling conflicts, match times against Pepperdine, Portland and Loyola Marymount will be announced as the information becomes available.
Rachel Hawks is women's volleyball sports information director for BYU Athletic Communications.