For the first time in its program history, Grand Canyon will have a home match against George Mason.
Grand Canyon coach Jeremy Price said in a recent interview with Off the Block that his team will open its 2014 home season with a two-match series against the EIVA Tournament semi-finalists George Mason.
“They obviously had a very solid year last year,” Price said. “They are a good team in George Mason. It’s going to be a real challenging schedule for us. We play some fun non-conference matches.”
This will be the third meeting between George Mason and Grand Canyon in the last three seasons. The Patriots at home defeated the Antelopes the last two years, including a sweep during the 2013 season.
George Mason at times last season was ranked in the national coaches poll and finished the regular season advancing the four-team EIVA Tournament.
Grand Canyon ended the 2013 season with its first winning record in the program’s five-year history. In addition, the team upset Ohio State in the MIVA Tournament quarterfinals for its first postseason victory in program history.
Price said that postseason victory against Ohio State has given his team additional confidence during this offseason and in its preparation for the upcoming season.
“[Ohio State] sets the standard not only for our conference, but for men’s volleyball in general with the level that they play at, their consistency playing at a high level and the fact that they were only two years removed from a national championship,” Price said. “That win should give us a lot of confidence, but we also realize that every year is a new year. That was great and important, but we also realize that we have a lot of work to do.”
The George Mason series will two of five non-conference matches that Grand Canyon will play against teams that were in the national rankings last season. Grand Canyon will also have road non-conference matches against Stanford, Pacific and UC San Diego during the 2014 season.
With the majority of its starters returning, Price said he is optimistic that Grand Canyon not only has the potential to win all of its non-conference matches, but make a deep run in the postseason.
“We have the same expectations that we had going into last year,” he said. “We were really disappointed that our season ended when it did. We thought we had a real chance to make a run even further than we did.”