George Mason establishes itself as go-to volleyball destination with 2020 schedule

Photo courtesy of George Mason athletics

Being the host site for the NCAA Tournament has its perks — especially when it comes to scheduling non-conference matches.

Coach Jay Hosack informed Off the Block that George Mason will have a program-record six non-conference home matches against West Coast teams during the 2020 season.

The Patriots will begin the year with four consecutive home matches against the top-four teams from the MPSF last season.

George Mason will play UCLA in its season opener on Jan. 4 and then the following week will face USC and Stanford. It also will take on the defending MPSF champions Pepperdine on Jan. 17.

Along with these matches versus the MPSF, two Big West teams will travel across the country to face the Patriots. George Mason will play host to the two-time defending NCAA champions Long Beach State on March 21 and UC Irvine on March 22.

The Patriots finished last season receiving votes in the final coaches poll and reaching the EIVA Tournament semifinals for the second consecutive year.

All-EIVA opposite Hayden Wagner highlights the starters returning for the Patriots. Wagner in 2019 was fifth in the nation with a 4.26 kills per game average on a career-best .297 attack percentage, including having a season-high 23 kills in a four-game loss to UC Irvine.

All six West Coast teams that the Patriots will play in 2020 concluded last season ranked in the top 10 of the national coaches poll.

Pepperdine in 2019 defeated the EIVA champions Princeton in the NCAA Tournament opening round before losing to Long Beach State in the semifinals. In addition, USC edged out UC Irvine and UCLA for the final at-large berth to that NCAA Tournament.

Along with these non-conference home matches, George Mason will be the host site for the 2020 NCAA Tournament in May.

The NCAA Tournament will take place at EagleBank Arena, a 7,860-seat venue nearby the George Mason campus in Fairfax, Virginia. George Mason will continue to play all its regular season home matches at Recreation Athletic Complex, except for its regular-season finale against Penn State that will be played at EagleBank Arena.

George Mason 2020 schedule

Saturday, Jan. 4 vs. UCLA
Friday, Jan. 10 vs. USC
Saturday, Jan. 11 vs. Stanford
Friday, Jan. 17 vs. Pepperdine
Thursday, Jan. 23 vs. Ball State
Saturday, Jan. 25 vs. Purdue Fort Wayne
Friday, Jan. 31 vs. Loyola
Saturday, Feb. 1 vs. Lewis
Friday, Feb. 7 at Charleston
Saturday, Feb. 8 vs. Tusculum (at Charleston)
Friday, Feb. 14 vs. Harvard
Saturday, Feb. 15 vs. Harvard
Friday, Feb. 21 vs. NJIT
Saturday, Feb. 22 vs. Princeton
Friday, Feb. 28 at Penn State
Saturday, Feb. 29 at Saint Francis
Saturday, March 7 vs. Charleston
Saturday, March 14 vs. Ohio State
Saturday, March 21 vs. Long Beach State
Sunday, March 22 vs. UC Irvine
Saturday, March 28 vs. King
Friday, April 3 at Sacred Heart
Saturday, April 4 at Sacred Heart
Friday, April 10 at NJIT
Saturday, April 11 at Princeton
Thursday, April 16 vs. Saint Francis
Saturday, April 18 vs. Penn State