WACO, Texas – Baylor volleyball released its 32-match fall 2016 schedule Monday, including 15 home matches and a total of 13 matches against eight 2015 NCAA Tournament teams.
BU’s opponents posted a combined 2015 record of 413-340 with eight reaching 20+ win seasons and three topping 30.
Playing in the Big 12 Conference, which finished second in the final 2015 RPI, the Bears will face five 2015 NCAA Tournament teams, including Kansas, a final four team, and Texas, the national champion runner-up.
“We are travelling coast-to-coast this season to play some of the top programs in the country in order to test and prepare ourselves for another exciting and competitive year of Big 12 volleyball,” said second-year Baylor head coach Ryan McGuyre. “We will take on foes from all five of the Power Five Conferences and be exposed to several different styles of play and athleticism.”
The Bears kick off the 2016 campaign hosting its first tournament of the season on Aug. 26-27, hosting University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, Prairie View A&M, and Texas A&M–Corpus Christi.
BU then hits the road for an eight-match swing, starting on Aug. 30 at Texas State.
On Sept. 2-3, the Bears will take part in UC Santa Barbara’s Thunderdome Classic in Santa Barbara, Calif., joining Colorado State, UC Santa Barbara, and CSU Bakersfield.
The squad will then cross the country to compete in Florida State’s Seminole Classic on Sept. 8-9 in Tallahassee, Fla., featuring Florida State, Little Rock, and Florida A&M.
The Bears close out the eight-match road trip in Baton Rouge, facing LSU on Sept. 14.
Baylor returns home to host its second and final tournament of the season on Sept. 16-17, bringing in Washington State, College of Charleston, and Virginia.
In its final nonconference matches, Baylor will face a pair of in-state rivals, hosting North Texas on Sept. 20 before trekking to Nacogdoches to square off with Stephen F. Austin on Sept. 21.
The two-month Big 12 schedule kicks off in Waco with Kansas State on Sept. 25 and wraps up at the Ferrell Center with Kansas on Nov. 26.
The Bears will look to earn the program’s first NCAA Tournament berth since 2011, with postseason play starting with the first and second rounds at campus sites on Dec. 1-3.
“I've never believed in having a soft schedule and believe our schedule this year will provide many challenges,” said McGuyre. “In order to go deep into the NCAA tournament, we will need to learn how to embrace the demands of playing tough competition week in and week out.”
The Regional rounds stay at campus sites and run Dec. 9-10, leading into the 2016 Division I NCAA Women’s Volleyball Championship, hosted in Columbus, Ohio on December 15-17.
“Like last year, this season's schedule will set us up for a good opportunity for NCAA post-season,” said McGuyre, coming off a 17-13 season in his first year, but finishing as one of the first four teams left out of postseason play. “We will need to stay healthy through conference this time around and our increase in depth will be helpful.
“I look forward to exposing our style and the Baylor brand of volleyball to several different regions of the country this season. Our young team will be tested early and be challenged often, but our expectations are high."