Two matches against the defending EIVA champions Penn State and eight late-season conference matches highlights the 2012 Rutgers-Newark regular season schedule that the team released earlier this week.
Rutgers-Newark finished last season in fourth place in the EIVA and lost in the conference tournament semifinals. The Scarlet Raiders have six starters returning for the upcoming season, including All-EIVA outside attacker Austin Pappas.
Check out the five things to take away from Rutgers-Newark’s schedule for the 2012 season.
Five things to know about the schedule
1. Schedule but no coach
Despite still not having a head coach for the upcoming season, the Scarlet Raiders released their 2012 schedule. Rutgers-Newark is in the midst of a coaching search after Karl France resigned in August. It is typical in college volleyball that new head coaches do not have too much control in their schedule the first season. Most coaches begin to work on their upcoming schedule in April, while the current season is in progress. However, it is unusual for a team to not have a head coach and release its upcoming schedule. Applications for the Rutgers-Newark head coaching position, which will now be a part-time position, are still being reviewed.
2. No MIVA or MPSF matches
For the first time in recent history, Rutgers-Newark will not any MIVA or MPSF opponents during the regular season. Rutgers-Newark is scheduled to transition from Division I to Division III within the next two to four years and is beginning to play a more Division III schedule. The Scarlet Raiders last season did not play any MIVA schools but traveled to the West Coast to play Pepperdine and Cal Baptist. Prior to last season, it also had traditionally played home-and-home non-conference matches against IPFW, Ball State and Ohio State. The Scarlet Raiders will play 11 of their 12 non-conference matches against Division III and NAIA teams. A match against NJIT as part of The Golden Dome Classic is the team’s only non-conference Division I-II opponent.
3. Late EIVA push
Rutgers-Newark’s performance in the final month of the regular season will likely determine if it makes the new-look EIVA Tournament in 2012. The Scarlet Raiders will play eight of their 14 conference matches during the final five weeks of the regular season. In addition, three of these matches will be against Penn State and George Mason, which finished the EIVA last season in first and second place. The top four EIVA teams at the end of the regular season will make the conference tournament. The EIVA changed its tournament format for the upcoming season reducing it from seven to four teams.
4. Penn State rematch
The only EIVA team to defeat Penn State in the last three years will play the Nittany Lions twice in the upcoming season. Rutgers-Newark will travel to Penn State on Feb. 10 before playing a home match against the Nittany Lions on March 24. Rutgers-Newark upset Penn State during a non-conference match in 2010. The Nittany Lions since that upset are 3-0 against Scarlet Raiders, including defeating Rutgers-Newark in the EIVA Tournament semifinals last season. Penn State has won 13 consecutive EIVA championships and has not lost an EIVA match since 2008.
5. Return of Karl France
The Scarlet Raiders will open its 2012 season against the coach who helped turn around their program during the last four years. Rutgers-Newark will open its season against NYU and its new assistant coach Karl France. France compiled a 46-57 record with Rutgers-Newark, but the Scarlet Raiders increased their win total in each of his four seasons as head coach. The coach resigned in August to rejoin the NYU program, where he previously served as an assistant coach from 2003-07. The match against NYU will be part of the two-day Golden Dome Classic, the Scarlet Raiders’ home non-conference tournament.
Rutgers-Newark regular season schedule
7 p.m. Jan. 20 vs. NYU
7 p.m. Jan. 21 vs. NJIT
7 p.m. Jan. 27 vs. Kean
Noon Jan. 28 at Baurch
2 p.m. Jan. 28 at Meaille
7 p.m. Feb. 2 vs. Sacred Heart*
6 p.m. Feb. 7 at York
7 p.m. Feb. 10 at Penn State*
4 p.m. Feb. 11 at St. Francis*
7 p.m. Feb. 15 vs. NJIT*
7 p.m. Feb. 17 vs. Princeton*
2:30 p.m. Feb. 18 at Ramapo
5 p.m. Feb. 18 at NYU
7 p.m. Feb. 21 at New Jersey City
7 p.m. Feb. 28 at Princeton*
2 p.m. March 3 at SUNYIT
4 p.m. March 3 at Stevens
7 p.m. March 23 vs. St. Francis*
7 p.m. March 24 vs. Penn State*
7 p.m. March 30 at Harvard*
7 p.m. March 31 at Sacred Heart*
7 p.m. April 3 at Kean
2 p.m. April 7 at George Mason*
7 p.m. April 11 at NJIT*
7 p.m. April 14 vs. Harvard*
7 p.m. April 20 at George Mason*
*Denotes EIVA match
All times EST