BOWLING GREEN – Bowling Green State University volleyball coach Danijela Tomic has announced the 2012 volleyball schedule. The Falcons will play 16 Mid-American Conference matches, along with 13 non-conference contests.
Bowling Green will play in four competitive road tournaments to start the year before playing its home opener on Sept. 21 in the team's MAC opener against Ohio. In non-conference play, the Falcons will face two teams that advanced to the NCAA Tournament a year ago, including a Purdue squad that was the five-seed and closed the year ranked No. 10 in the country. Eight of the team's 13 non-conference opponents had winning records a season ago and five won 20 or more matches.
The Falcons will open the year with a Brown and Orange Scrimmage on Saturday, Aug. 18 in the Stroh Center before beginning regular season play at the Marquette Tournament Aug. 24-25. BGSU will face Marquette, Northwestern, and a team yet to be determined at the event. Marquette qualified for the NCAA Tournament a year ago.
The following weekend, the Falcons will compete in the Indiana Invitational to face Georgia Tech, Indiana, and Cleveland State before heading west for the BYU Nike Invitational Sept. 7-8. In Utah, the Falcons will face Portland State, BYU, and Utah. The Falcons will conclude non-conference tournament action at the Purdue Active Ankle Challenge Sept. 14-15 against Alabama-Birmingham, Jacksonville State, and Purdue. The Boilermakers went 29-5 in 2011 and were a national championship contender.
Bowling Green's 12 road matches to start the season will be the most since the 1999 team also played 12 matches to open the year.
"Our non-conference schedule will prepare us well for tough competition in the MAC, which sent four teams to the NCAA Tournament last year," Tomic said. "The level of the opponents that we will be playing on the road during the first four weeks of our season will help us get stronger physically and mentally, and will force us to grow as a team."
The Falcons will finally be able to play a regular season contest at home when the team hosts Ohio Sept. 21 at 7 p.m. to open MAC play. That match will also serve as Alumni Night and the volleyball program will recognize the 20th anniversary of the 1992 team that set a school record with 30 wins, won the MAC regular season title at 17-1, and finished as the National Invitational Volleyball Championship (NIVC) runner-up.
From there, Bowling Green will complete its 16-game MAC schedule, which includes four matches against teams that advanced to the NCAA Tournament a year ago. BGSU will host Western Michigan and Ball State, while playing on the road against Central Michigan and Northern Illinois. The Falcons' annual rivalry match with Toledo will take place in the Stroh Center Oct. 20 at 7 p.m. One non-conference match, a home contest against Oakland, is scheduled during conference season as the Falcons will host the Grizzlies Oct. 9 at 7 p.m.
Parents Night will take place Nov. 2 when the Falcons host Buffalo at 7 p.m. and Senior Night will be the following evening against Akron at 5 p.m.
The MAC Tournament will take place Nov. 15-17 at Spire Institute in Geneva. The Falcons were the No. 8 seed a year ago, losing to top-seeded Northern Illinois in the first round.
"Our goal for Falcon volleyball is to be a championship program," Tomic said. "In order to accomplish that, we first have to win some tough non-conference matches and then take care of business in the MAC. We are looking forward to the challenge."
Bowling Green returns all but one starter from a team that went 19-12 a year ago. That team went 12-1 in non-conference play and won its first 12 matches of the year, the best start in program history. First-year head coach Tomic takes over the reins from Denise Van De Walle, who retired after 29 seasons at the helm of the BGSU volleyball program.