Huskies Serve Up Tough 2012 Schedule
July 24, 2012
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SEATTLE - The start of the 2012 Washington Volleyball season is now just one month away, and the Husky schedule is officially mapped out after some late maneuvering. Nine non-conference matches will be followed by a 20 match Pac-12 schedule, as UW is slated to play 13 matches against teams that made the NCAA tournament a year ago.
The Huskies, who reached the NCAA second round last season, will open at home on August 24, hosting Boise State to start the annual Northwest Challenge tournament. The tourney, also featuring Gonzaga and Portland State, rotates host sites each year and is now back to Seattle for the second time. UW will play the Bulldogs and Vikings in a double-header on Aug. 25.
From there the Huskies travel to Baton Rouge, La. a week ahead of the Husky football team, to compete in the Tiger Classic. A huge challenge faces UW on Friday, Aug. 31, as the Huskies play a double-header against Purdue and LSU. The Boilermakers reached the NCAA round of 16 last year and finished the season ranked 10th by the AVCA. The Tigers just missed the NCAA tourney but won the SEC West title. The Huskies finish their stay in Louisiana with a match against Rice on Sept. 1.
The Invitational At Seattle, Washington will be hosted by the Huskies and Seattle U. on Sept. 6-7. Seattle visits Alaska Airlines Arena on the 6th, and then Long Beach State is in town on the 7th for a rematch of one of UW's toughest non-conference matches from a year ago. LBSU made the NCAA tourney in 2011.
The Huskies will squeeze in one more match before conference play, heading to Portland to play the Pilots on Sept. 11.
"The philosophy is the same this season," said Head Coach Jim McLaughlin. "What I think is important is to develop this team over the course of the year. We've got 18 practice opportunities to get ready to start competing. Then we have nine matches to get things in place for our conference schedule, which is tough every night.
"I like some of our non-conference targets. I wish we were playing at Penn State but we couldn't because of travel. But we've got Purdue which is a really good team and LSU on its home court, so we'll have some significant challenges. Then we just have to keep getting better throughout the conference which will prepare us for the tournament."
The Pac-12 proved its worth nationally once again in 2011, with the conference producing NCAA Champion UCLA and another semifinalist in USC. The Huskies tied for fourth in the Pac-12 last year with Stanford. As opposed to the full round robin of 2011, the Pac-12 schedule will be scaled back by two matches this year. The Huskies will be facing the Arizona schools just once each, with Arizona State coming to Seattle and Washington going to Tucson to face Arizona, but skipping the trip to Tempe.
"Our conference has been the best conference in the NCAA and history shows that," said McLaughlin, who regrets losing the full round robin schedule. "I think it's important to play all these teams home and away. Now some schedules will be easier than other schedules, but so be it, we can't control that, we can only get better as a team."
Fans can also look forward to the upcoming launching of the Pac-12 Network, which is scheduled to bring 14 Husky volleyball matches live this fall to subscribers in the Washington region. UW will have eight home matches televised live and six on the road.