MUNCIE, Ind. - - Ball State women's volleyball head coach Steve Shondell announced the team's 30-match regular season schedule for the 2012 season which is highlighted by a pair of pre-conference home tournaments and 15 matches versus top 100 RPI opponents.
"From start to finish, our schedule will challenge us every time we step on the court," said Shondell. "With a record four teams from the Mid-American Conference making the NCAA tournament a year ago, our league has become the fastest rising in the country. Our pre-conference schedule will have us well prepared for our MAC opener September 20th."
The Cardinals stay close to home for a majority of their pre-conference slate with three of four tournaments taking place in the state of Indiana. Ball State will host the Active Ankle Challenge (Aug. 24-25) and the Ball State Tournament (Sept. 14-15), while traveling to Indianapolis for the IUPUI Jaguars Hampton Inn Invitational (Aug. 31-Sept. 1). BSU will also play a non-conference road match at IPFW August 28.
The Cardinals' lone pre-conference excursion outside of Indiana will come Sept. 7-8, when they travel to Greeley, Colorado, for the Hampton Inn & Suites Northern Colorado Classic.
Ball State opens its 16-match Mid-American Conference schedule by hosting travel partner Toledo (Sept. 20) and MAC East foe Akron (Sept. 22). BSU will then play three consecutive matches versus the league's other 2011 NCAA Tournament participants when it travels to Northern Illinois (Sept. 28) and Western Michigan (Sept. 29), before hosting Central Michigan (Oct. 5). BSU rounds out its first tour through the gauntlet of the MAC West Division with a home contest versus Eastern Michigan (Oct. 6).
The Cardinals play five of their next six matches versus MAC East Division foes, starting when they hosts Kent State (Oct. 12) and Ohio (Oct. 13). BSU then travels to Bowling Green (Oct. 19), Miami (Oct. 20) and Buffalo (Oct. 27) in cross divisional action, while also visiting MAC West rival Toledo (Oct. 25).
Ball State rounds out league play with home matches versus WMU (Nov. 2) and NIU (Nov. 4) and road matches at EMU (Nov. 9) and CMU (Nov. 10).
The 2012 MAC Tournament runs Nov. 16-18 at SPIRE, part of the GaREAT family, located in Geneva, Ohio. For the second consecutive season the top eight MAC teams advance to the tournament with the winner earning the league's automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament.
The Cardinals conclude the 2012 regular season with a non-conference home match versus Xavier (Nov. 24).
The 32nd Annual NCAA Division I Women's Volleyball Championship begins Thursday, Nov. 29, at campus sites, and concludes with the championships match Saturday, Dec. 15, at the KFC Yum! Center in Louisville, Ky.