SOUTH ORANGE, N.J. – Head coach Allison Yaeger has unveiled the 2012 Seton Hall volleyball schedule this morning. The Pirates open the fall campaign with a pair of matches against Appalachian State and James Madison on August 25 in Harrisonburg, Va. at the JMU Days Inn Classic.
The Pirates hope to build on last year’s 17-13 record and fourth place regular season finish by including four opponents who qualified for the NCAA Tournament in 2011.
"We are excited to get this season started," said the first-year coach. "I think our non-conference schedule will be challenging and prepare us for another tough year in the BIG EAST. Our team is up for the task and will continue to try and climb the conference standings and contend for a championship."
After facing a pair of 20-win teams in the Mountaineers and Dukes in the opening weekend, the non-conference slate does not get easier as they spend Aug. 31-Sep. 1 in College Park for the Maryland Invitational. While there, SHU will face the host Terrapins, Ohio State - fresh off a Sweet-16 appearance in 2011 - and Binghamton.
A mid-week tilt against Hofstra on Sep. 4 precludes three matches in Kingston, R.I. for the URI Tournament, where the Pirates will take on Canisius, Hartford, and the Rams on Sep. 7-8.
The Hall will host Princeton in its home opener on Sep. 12, who finished 2011 with an 18-8 mark and second in the Ivy League, to open a six-match home-stand in Walsh Gymnasium. During that stretch America East Tournament runners-up, Stony Brook, and Morgan State will participate in the Seton Hall Invitational on Sep. 14-15.
The Pirates open their 15-match BIG EAST schedule with matches against the Pittsburgh and USF on Sep. 22-23 before rounding out the non-conference portion with a contest against in-state rival Saint Peter’s on Sep. 25.
“The BIG EAST season is always a grind and this year will be no different,” Yaeger said. “It seems like the gap between the teams in the conference gets smaller and smaller each season. With the West Virginia leaving, we have home-and-home matches with Pittsburgh and Syracuse. I think it will be interesting to see the adjustments teams will make for the second meetings.”
The rest of the home league schedule includes sets with Marquette and Syracuse (Oct. 13-14), Rutgers (Oct. 19), and senior weekend will feature Notre Dame and DePaul (Nov. 3-4).
Seton Hall’s road weekends consist of traveling to Georgetown and Villanova, (Sep. 28-30), Louisville and Cincinnati (Oct. 6-7), St. John’s and Connecticut (Oct. 26-28), and the Pirates will close out the season with a return trips to square off against the Panthers and Orange (Nov.9-11).
The top-eight teams will vie for the conference crown at the BIG EAST Championship from Nov. 16-18 in Pittsburgh, Pa.