A month-long conference homestand and a trip to Grand Canyon highlights the UC San Diego 2012 regular season schedule as the team earlier this week released its schedule for the upcoming season.
UC San Diego finished last season tied for 10th place in the MPSF and failed to make the conference tournament. Tritons coach Kevin Ring will have four starters returning for the upcoming season, including outside attacker Carl Eberts who led the team in kills last season.
Check out the five things to take away from UC San Diego’s schedule for the 2012 season.
Five things to know about the schedule
1. Long conference homestand
After opening the conference season with three road matches, the Tritons will play their next eight MPSF matches at home. Six of UC San Diego’s eight conference matches during this stretch from Jan. 27 to Feb. 25 will be against teams that reached the 2011 MPSF Tournament. USC, BYU and Stanford finished last season atop the conference standings, while Long Beach State finished in sixth place. Cal State Northridge, Pepperdine and Pacific — teams UC San Diego went a combined 2-4 against last season — will also travel to San Diego during this homestand. UC San Diego had a MPSF-worst 1-10 home conference record last year with its lone victory coming against Hawai’i in January.
2. Stanford series renewed
It’s not the most intense rivalry in the MPSF, but the UC San Diego and Stanford series has significant intrigue after last season. UC San Diego had a record 1,012 people attend its 2011 home match against Stanford, which the Cardinal won in four games. It was only the second time in UC San Diego’s 22-year program history that it had more than 900 people attend a home match. In addition, UC San Diego pulled off one of the biggest upsets of 2011 when it swept Stanford in February. Prior to that match, the Tritons were 2-36 all-time against the Cardinal and last beat Stanford in 2006.
3. Loyola and Princeton
UC Santa Diego will play two familiar opponents at home during the non-conference portion of its season — Loyola on Jan. 11 and Princeton on Jan. 25. Loyola has played more matches against UC San Diego than any other MIVA team, while Princeton also played more matches against UC San Diego than any other EIVA team. Loyola, which ended the 2011 season ranked No. 12, is the only team UC San Diego will meet in non-conference play that ended last year ranked in the final Division I-II coaches poll. The two teams have met five previous times with Loyola winning their last match in 2008. UC San Diego is 12-4 all-time against Princeton, including a victory in their last match in 2010.
4. The BYU series
The most lopsided series in MPSF history will be renewed with UC San Diego still searching for its first victory in program history against BYU. The Tritons will play a two-match home series versus BYU on Feb. 9-11 as part of a six-match homestand in February. UC San Diego is 0-35 all-time against BYU and have won eight games against the Cougars in the last 11 years. UC San Diego came the closest to defeating BYU last season when the Tritons rallied from a two-game deficit before losing the fifth game. BYU enters the 2012 season as one of the early favorites to win the NCAA championship, The BYU-UC San Diego series is the only conference matchup in MPSF history with one team remaining winless.
5. Grand Canyon Tournament
For the fourth time in the last 20 years, UC San Diego will play a road match against a team from the MIVA. UC San Diego will travel to Phoenix to compete in the inaugural Grand Canyon Tournament, a two-day non-conference tournament comprised of UC San Diego, NJIT and Grand Canyon. The Tritons are 0-5 in road matches against the MIVA in the last 20 years and most recently played one of these matches in 2008. This is the first time, though, UC San Diego will travel to play Grand Canyon. In their only previous meeting, UC San Diego swept Grand Canyon in 2009, the Antelopes first year of existence. In addition, the NJIT and UC San Diego match to open the tournament will be the first meeting between the two programs.
UC San Diego regular season schedule
4 p.m. Jan. 2 vs. Brandon (Exhibition)
10 p.m. Jan. 5 at Hawai’i*
10 p.m. Jan. 6 at Hawai’i*
5 p.m. Jan. 11 vs. Loyola
3 p.m. Jan. 14 vs. NJIT (at Grand Canyon Tournament)
2 p.m. Jan. 15 at Grand Canyon
3:30 p.m. Jan. 21 at UC Irvine*
5 p.m. Jan. 25 vs. Princeton
7 p.m. Jan. 27 vs. Pepperdine*
7 p.m. Jan. 28 vs. USC*
7 p.m. Feb. 3 at Hope International
2 p.m. Feb. 4 vs. Alumni (Exhibition)
7 p.m. Feb. 9 vs. BYU*
1 p.m. Feb. 11 vs. BYU*
7 p.m. Feb. 17 vs. Pacific*
7 p.m. Feb. 18 vs. Stanford*
7 p.m. Feb. 24 vs. Cal State Northridge*
7 p.m. Feb. 25 vs. Long Beach State*
TBA March 2 at Stanford*
7 p.m. March 3 at Pacific*
7 p.m. March 8 at UCLA*
7 p.m. March 9 at UC Santa Barbara*
7 p.m. March 16 at Cal state Northridge*
7 p.m. March 30 vs. UCLA*
TBA March 31 vs. UC Santa Barbara*
7 p.m. April 5 at USC*
7 p.m. April 7 at Pepperdine*
7 p.m. April 12 vs. Cal Baptist
7 p.m. April 14 vs. UC Irvine*
*Denotes MPSF match
All times PST