MOUNT PLEASANT, Mich. — Four non-conference tournaments and 12-straight matches away from the friendly confines of McGurik Arena will prepare the Central Michigan volleyball program for another run at a Mid-American Conference title in 2013.
In addition to the tough non-conference schedule, the Chippewas will play a total of 11 matches versus opponents that finished with at least 20 wins in 2012 and will take on three schools that appeared in the 2012 NCAA Tournament.
After hosting their annual Maroon and Gold scrimmage on Saturday, August 24, the Chippewas won’t return home to McGuirk Arena until Friday, September 27 for back-to-back home contests versus MAC foes Toledo and Ball State the following day.
"Seven out of our first twelve matches will be against probable top 100 or 20 plus win teams,” head coach Erik Olson said. “Mid-American Conference volleyball is extremely tough, and only continues to get more competitive each year. We will have to train hard every day all season, making sure we train efficiently with a daily goal of getting better. Our goal is to be one of the best in the MAC and be ready to battle for the MAC Tournament title at the end of the season which punches you a ticket to the NCAA tournament. Our early season tournament schedule along with nine total top-100 teams in a 28 match schedule will contribute to a strong RPI for our conference. We need to take care of business on a match-to-match basis to reach our goals.”
The Chippewas’ non-conference tournament schedule will be highlighted with matchups versus three squads ranked inside the top-100 from last season’s final RPI standings as well as a pair matches versus a NCAA Qualifying squad.
CMU will open the season at the Oakland Invitational in Rochester, Mich., and take on the host Golden Grizzlies in its first match of the season on August 30 before battling Oregon State (No. 63) and Villanova on August 31.
A match up versus Xavier (No. 54) will highlight the Chippewas’ second weekend before they travel to Hempstead, N.Y., for the Hofstra Tournament in which they will end the weekend versus the host Pride, who qualified for the NCAA Tournament last season.
The Maroon and Gold’s final MAC warm up will come at the Georgia Southern Invitational versus NCAA qualifier Jackson State, host Georgia Southern (No. 72) and Charleston Southern.
The Chippewas will enter conference play battle tested and prepared for six more matches versus opponents ranked inside the final top-100 RPI from last season.
The home portion of the Chippewas’ schedule will feature matchups versus Toledo, Ball State, Kent State, Buffalo, Akron, Northern Illinois, Western Michigan (No. 67) and Eastern Michigan (No. 100)
In addition to their five road matches versus MAC West foes, the Chippewas will also travel to take on Miami, Bowling Green (No. 46) and Ohio (No. 52) during conference play.