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

A rematch against Long Beach State and non-conference matches against the top MIVA and EIVA teams highlights the 2012 Stanford regular season schedule that the team released Tuesday.

The Cardinal ended the 2011 regular season No. 3 in the national rankings but was upset in the MPSF Tournament quarterfinals and missed the Final Four. Stanford has six returning starters, including All-American outside attacker Brad Lawson.

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

Five things to know about the schedule


1. The Long Beach State rematch
Nine months after being upset on its home court in the conference tournament, Stanford will get its rematch against Long Beach State. The two teams will play each other Feb. 10 in Long Beach, Calif., for the first time since the 2011 MPSF Tournament. The Cardinal ended the regular season No. 3 in the national rankings but lost to the 49ers in the MPSF Tournament quarterfinals. The loss ended Stanford’s season and removed it from contention for the lone at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament. Stanford lost all three of its matches against Long Beach State last season. Along with their match in February, the two teams will meet again April 6 in Palo Alto, Calif.

2. Unbalanced schedule
Stanford will have the most unbalanced home-road conference schedule of any MPSF teams. The Cardinal will play nine of their 11 road matches during the first six weeks of the regular season, including a six-match conference road trip from Feb. 3-18. In contrast, Stanford during the second half of the season will have two road matches in between a six-match conference homestand and a five-match conference homestand. The six-match conference homestand will be Stanford’s longest since 2006. The Cardinal were 10-5 at home and 9-4 on the road last season. In addition, Stanford has won at least nine home matches each season since 2008.

3. Traveling to Provo
A preview of the MPSF championship could take place at the beginning of the season. Stanford will play a two-match road series against BYU on Feb. 3-4 in Provo, Utah. Stanford and BYU last season ended the regular season battling for the lone at-large bid to the four-team NCAA Tournament but both missed the Final Four after being upset in the conference tournament. Both teams have a majority of their starters returning for the upcoming season and will likely be ranked in the top five in the preseason national rankings. Stanford swept BYU in their two-match series last season in Palo Alto, Calif. The Cardinal are 5-2 the last three seasons against the Cougars.

4. Ken and Dave Dunlap Invitational
The Cardinal will travel across the country for a rematch of the 2009 NCAA championship match and to play the defending NCAA champions. Stanford will play non-conference matches against Penn State and Ohio State as part of the Ken and Dave Dunlap Invitational on Jan. 27-28 in Columbus, Ohio. The Cardinal’s match against the Nittany Lions will be their first match against each other since the 2009 NCAA championship match. Stanford swept Penn State in that match to win its second national championship in program history. This will also be the first time Stanford has played Ohio State since 2009, which Stanford won in three games in Columbus. The Buckeyes last season became the first MIVA school to legally win the NCAA championship.

5. Loyola coming west
For the second consecutive season, Stanford will play a non-conference match against Loyola. The Cardinal last season defeated the Ramblers in four games in Chicago as part of their two-match Midwest road trip. Stanford in that victory had 15.5 blocks and a .370 attack percent — one of its best offensive performances of the season. This is the first time that Stanford will play a home match against a MIVA school since playing Lewis at the Burnham Pavilion in 2009. The Cardinal are 2-0 all-time against the Ramblers with victories last season and in 1997

Stanford 2012 regular season schedule

7 p.m. Jan. 6 vs. Thompson Rivers (Exhibition)
7 p.m. Jan. 7 vs. Thompson Rivers (Exhibition)
7 p.m. Jan. 11 at Pacific*
7 p.m. Jan. 13 vs. Juniata
7 p.m. Jan. 14 vs. Loyola
7 p.m. Jan. 20 at UCLA*
7 p.m. Jan. 21 at UC Santa Barbara*
2 p.m. Jan. 27 vs. Penn State (at Dunlap Invitational)
4:30 p.m. Jan. 28 at Ohio State
6 p.m. Feb. 3 at BYU*
6 p.m. Feb. 4 at BYU*
7 p.m. Feb. 10 at Long Beach State*
7 p.m. Feb. 11 at Cal State Northridge*
6 p.m. Feb. 17 at UC Irvine*
7 p.m. Feb. 18 at UC San Diego*
7 p.m. Feb. 24 vs. Pepperdine*
7 p.m. Feb. 25 vs. USC*
7 p.m. March 2 vs. UC San Deigo*
7 p.m. March 3 vs. UC Irvine*
7 p.m. March 6 vs. Hawai’i*
7 p.m. March 7 vs. Hawai’i*
7 p.m. March 24 vs. Alumni (Exhibition)
7 p.m. March 30 at Pepperdine*
7 p.m. March 31 at USC*
7 p.m. April 3 vs. Pacific*
7 p.m. April 6 vs. Long Beach State*
7 p.m. April 7 vs. Cal State Northridge
7 p.m. April 13 vs. UC Santa Barbara*
7 p.m. April 14 vs. UCLA*
*Indicates MPSF match
All times PST