Pacific releases 2012 schedule: 5 things to know about this schedule

A road match against the defending NCAA champions Ohio State and a 22-match MPSF schedule highlights Pacific’s upcoming season as the team earlier this week released its 2012 regular season schedule.

Pacific ended last year No. 15 in the final coaches poll and won its most matches since the 2007 season but failed to make the eight-team MPSF Tournament. The Tigers have all their starters returning for the upcoming season, including All-MPSF Honorable Mention outside attacker Taylor Hughes.

Check out the five things to take away from Pacific’s schedule for the 2012 season.

Five things to know about the schedule

1. Playing the defending champions
Pacific will travel to the Midwest to play a non-conference match against the defending NCAA champions Ohio State on Jan. 27. This will be the first time the Buckeyes and Tigers have play each other since the 2002 season when Ohio State swept a two-match series in Columbus, Ohio. It is also the sixth time in the last seven years that Pacific will travel to the Midwest or East Coast for non-conference matches. Unlike other seasons, Pacific will travel across the country to play a single match. The Tigers have traditionally played two matches on these road trips, including last year when they played in the Volleyball Hall of Fame Morgan Classic.

2. The long road trip
If anyone in Stockton, Calif., wants to see Pacific play from late-January to late-February it will have just two chances. Pacific in that month-span will play seven out of nine matches on the road, with its lone home matches being a two-match series against Hawai’i on Feb. 3-4. Half of the Tigers’ conference road matches for the 2012 season will be played during this month time span. Pacific will have a three-match road trip, including conference matches against UC Santa Barbara on Jan. 20 and UCLA on Jan. 21. It will also be on the road to play Cal State Northridge on Feb. 10, Long Beach State on Feb. 11, UC San Diego on Feb. 17 and UC Irvine on Feb. 18. The Tigers were 3-8 in MPSF road matches last season — its best conference road record since 2007.

3. The final homestand
Pacific will have a four-match conference homestand to close out the season with matches against Cal State Northridge, Long Beach State, UCLA and UC Santa Barbara. This will be the longest conference homestand for Pacific during the upcoming season. The Tigers went 2-9 in MPSF home matches last season — the worst conference home road of any MPSF team — and had a better road record in MPSF play as it finished tied for 10th place. Pacific has not had a winning record at home in the last four years or reached the conference tournament in the last eight seasons.

4. Playing Loyola at home
For the first time in seven years and the third time in its program 19-year history, Pacific will play a non-conference match against Loyola. Pacific is 1-1 all-time against Loyola, including a four-game road loss in their most recent match in 2005. Loyola finished last season No. 12 in the final coaches poll and last traveled to Pacific in 1997 — a match the Tigers won in five games. This is the fifth time in the last 10 years that Pacific will play a home match against a MIVA team. Pacific is 4-1 in these matches with its only loss coming against Ball State in 2008.

5. Soft start to the season
Pacific coach Joe Wortmann created a schedule that gives his team the opportunity to have a good start to the season. Pacific will play two matches against Grand Canyon and a match against UC Santa Cruz — two teams that went a combined 15-37 last year — to open its season. The Tigers are 29-0 all-time against the Division III Banana Slugs, including a sweep last season. Pacific also swept Grand Canyon during a two-match series in 2010, the two schools’ only previous meeting. If the Tigers win these matches they will start the season 3-0 for the second consecutive year. Pacific defeated Hope International twice and IPFW to open the 2011 season but then lost five of its next six matches.

Pacific regular season schedule

Jan. 5 vs. Thompson Rivers (Exhibition)
1 p.m. Jan. 7 vs. Grand Canyon
5 p.m. Jan. 7 vs. UC Santa Cruz
1 p.m. Jan. 8 vs. Grand Canyon
7 p.m. Jan. 11 vs. Stanford*
7 p.m. Jan. 13 vs. Loyola
Jan. 14 vs. Alumni (Exhibition)
7 p.m. Jan. 20 at UC Santa Barbara*
7 p.m. Jan. 21 at UCLA*
10:30 p.m. Jan. 27 at Ohio State
7 p.m. Feb. 3 vs. Hawai’i*
7 p.m. Feb. 4 vs. Hawai’i*
7 p.m. Feb. 10 at Cal State Northridge*
7 p.m. Feb. 11 at Long Beach state*
7 p.m. Feb. 17 at UC San Diego*
5 p.m. Feb. 18 at UC Irvine*
7 p.m. Feb. 24 vs. USC*
7:30 p.m. Feb. 25 vs. Pepperdine*
7:30 p.m. Feb. 29 at Stanford
7 p.m. March 2 vs. UC Irvine*
7:30 p.m. March 3 vs. UC San Diego*
7 p.m. March 9 at BYU*
7 p.m. March 10 at BYU*
7 p.m. March 23 vs. UC Santa Cruz
7 p.m. March 30 at USC*
7 p.m. March 31 at Pepprdine*
7 p.m. April 6 vs. Cal State Northridge*
7 p.m. April 7 vs. Long Beach State*
7 p.m. April 13 vs. UCLA*
7 p.m. April 14 vs. UC Santa Barbara*

*Denotes MPSF Match
All match times PST