George Mason would be hard pressed to find a more challenging opponent for new coach Jay Hosack to face in his debut.
George Mason recently announced that it will play a home non-conference match against UCLA to open the 2016 season.
This will be the first time since 2006 that the Patriots and Bruins have play each other. In addition, UCLA is 10-0 all-time against George Mason.
UCLA with a roster primarily comprised of freshmen and sophomores finished last season at No. 12 in the national coaches poll and reached the MPSF Tournament quarterfinals. The Bruins also return Off the Block/Springbak, Inc. Freshmen All-American outside attackers JT Hatch and Jake Arnitz.
George Mason ended last season advancing to the EIVA Tournament finals for the first time in three years. The Patriots have a majority of starters returning for the upcoming season, including the 2015 EIVA Newcomer of the Year setter Brian Negron.
George Mason in the off-season experienced its first head coaching change in almost 20 years as Fred Chao resigned and the school hired Hosack, a former Penn State assistant coach.
The season-opener versus the Bruins will be one of four consecutive matches for the Patriots against likely top-10 nationally ranked teams to begin the season. George Mason will also play BYU and UC Irvine at the AVCA Showcase before continuing its road trip with a match against Ohio State.
UCLA will continue its early-season East Coast road trip following the George Mason match as it plays both Penn State and Ohio State in University Park, Pennsylvania.