The final regular season schedule in Hall of Fame coach Al Scates’ 50-year tenure at UCLA was released Wednesday.
The only coach in UCLA men’s volleyball history announced in May that he would retire at the end the 2012 season. Sactes and the Bruins enter the upcoming season with six returning starters after finishing last season in eighth place in the MPSF and losing in the conference tournament quarterfinals.
Check out the five things to take away from UCLA’s schedule for the 2012 season.
Five things to know about the schedule
1. Scates’ grand regular season finale
The final regular season match for the winningest coach in NCAA volleyball history will occur away from Los Angeles. Hall of Fame coach Al Scates in his last season will lead UCLA against Stanford in the team’s regular season finale April 14 in Palo Alto, Calif. Scates announced in May that he would retire after the 2012 season, his 50th season as head coach with the Bruins. Scates enters this season with a record 19 NCAA championships and 1,217 wins. Along with its match against Stanford, four of UCLA’s final five regular season matches will be against teams likely in contention for a MPSF title. UCLA will play a road match against UC Irvine on March 31 and two home matches against BYU on April 6-7 before closing out the regular season on the road against Pacific and Stanford. The two-match series against BYU will be the final regular season home matches for Scates.
2. Unannounced non-conference matches
UCLA will play nine non-conference matches in the upcoming season, but the opponents for two of those matches were not released with the rest of the schedule. The Bruins’ current schedule shows the team playing non-conference home matches Feb. 8 and Feb. 22 against teams still to be determined. With this being Scates’ final season, ideally these open dates could be an opportunity for UCLA to play schools that are not presently on its schedule and were significant to the growth of college men’s volleyball, such as Ball State or Penn State. However, Ball State and Penn State historically have not traveled to the West Coast in February, which is the usually the height of the EIVA and MIVA seasons. Penn State has not played on the West Coast in February since 1989, while Ball State last played a February match on the West Coast during the 2008 season.
3. Outrigger Invitational and UC Santa Barbara Invitational
The Bruins for the second consecutive year will open their season at the UC Santa Barbara Invitational and the Outrigger Invitational. UCLA will play its season opener against Cal State Northridge on Jan. 6 at the UC Santa Barbara Invitational. This will be the first of three matches UCLA plays during the two-day non-conference tournament. In addition, UCLA will play Lewis, Springfield and Hawai’i the following weekend at the Outrigger Invitational in Hawaii. UCLA went a combined 5-1 in these two tournaments last season, including going undefeated to win the Outrigger Invitational championship. Following these non-conference tournaments last season, the Bruins were ranked a season-best No. 3 in the coaches poll.
4. Moving out of the pavilion
For the first time in 42 years, UCLA will not play any home matches at Pauley Pavilion. The historical arena is undergoing a year-long renovation project, and the Bruins will play its home matches during the 2012 season at the John Wooden Center. Despite playing in the smaller venue, don’t expect UCLA to lose much of its home court advantage. The Bruins are 59-8 all-time at the John Wooden Center, including going 1-2 at the arena last season. UCLA will play 14 matches at the John Wooden Center in the upcoming season starting with its conference opener against Stanford on Jan. 20. The construction to Pauley Pavilion is scheduled to be complete in time for the 2013 season.
5. The Kilgour Cup
UCLA and Pepperdine will play in the 35th annual Kilgour Cup match on March 16 at the John Wooden Center. The Kilgour Cup is the nation’s oldest college men’s volleyball charity match. The match helps raise money for a disabled student at UCLA. The proceeds from the match in recent years have also benefited former Bruin Andy Klussmann, who suffered serious injuries in a car accident about five years ago. The Kilgour Cup is named after the late Kirk Kilgour, the first UCLA men’s volleyball player to be inducted into the UCLA Hall of Fame. UCLA is 3-2 in the last five Kilgour Cup matches but lost last season’s Kilgour Cup match to Hawai’i.
UCLA regular season schedule
Jan. 6-7 at UC Santa Barbara Invitational
Jan. 12-14 at Outrigger Invitational
7 p.m. Jan. 20 vs. Stanford*
7 p.m. Jan. 21 vs. Pacific*
7 p.m. Jan. 25 vs. Cal State Northridge*
7 p.m. Jan. 27 vs. UC Santa Barbara*
7 p.m. Feb. 1 at Pepperdine*
7 p.m. Feb. 4 at USC*
7 p.m. Feb. 8 vs. TBD
7 p.m. Feb. 10 at UC Santa Barbara*
7 p.m. Feb. 14 at Long Beach State*
9 p.m. Feb. 17 at Hawai’i*
9 p.m. Feb. 18 at Hawai’i*
7 p.m. Feb. 22 vs. TBD
7 p.m. Feb. 24 vs. Cal Baptist
7 p.m. Feb. 29 vs. Long Beach State*
7 p.m. March 2 at Cal State Northridge*
7 p.m. March 8 vs. UC San Diego*
7 p.m. March 10 vs. UC Irvine*
7 p.m. March 14 vs. USC*
7 p.m. March 16 vs. Peppedine* (Kilgour Cup)
7 p.m. March 30 at UC San Diego*
7 p.m. March 31 at UC Irvine*
7 p.m. April 6 at BYU*
7 p.m. April 7 at BYU*
7 p.m. April 13 at Pacific*
7 p.m. April 14 at Stanford*
*Dentoes MPSF match