May 6, 2011
- Baylor volleyball head coach Jim Barnes
announced the 2011 regular season schedule Thursday, which includes six NCAA Tournament teams from 2010 and 11 matches against those teams.
In the first season of the 10-member Big 12, the Bears will have the addition of a fourth early-season tournament in its 32-match schedule. The non-conference lineup includes tournaments at Purdue, at Lamar, at UNLV and one at home, along with non-conference matches against West Virginia, TCU, North Texas and Texas State.
"We are excited about our schedule because it's a new era for us with the Big 12 now having nine volleyball programs," Barnes said. "It gives us great flexibility to schedule teams out of conference. Adding another tournament is good, giving us a chance to develop our team before entering the tough league schedule. I think the new schedule allows our players more recovery, and we are excited about the change and the challenge."
With nine Big 12 volleyball teams, Baylor will play a 16-match league schedule in a conference that featured six NCAA Tournament teams, including BU. The Bears will take on the likes of four Big 12 Sweet 16 opponents in Texas, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Missouri two times each. Iowa State also made the NCAA postseason, being upset in the first round.
BU will kick off the 2011 season at Purdue in the Mortar Board Premier Tournament with the host, VCU and College of Charleston in round-robin play on Aug. 26-27. Purdue is coming off a fantastic season in 2010, which concluded with a trip to the Elite Eight after defeating top-seeded Florida with a 3-0 sweep a round earlier.
The Bears will then return home to host the Fairfield Inn North Baylor Classic at the Ferrell Center on Sept. 2-3. The round-robin tournament will feature Northern Colorado, McNeese State and UT-Pan American. Baylor will stay in Waco for a non-conference midweek match against West Virginia on Sept. 6, before hitting the road for its next seven matches.
Next up will be a tournament at Lamar in Beaumont, Texas, on Sept. 9-10, joining Mississippi State and UTEP. Three days later, Baylor will continue its annual rivalry with TCU in Fort Worth, Texas, on Sept. 13.
Ending the tournament portion of its schedule, Baylor will travel to Las Vegas, Nev., for the UNLV Classic on Sept. 16-17. The Bears will take on host UNLV, Fresno State and the University of San Francisco before jumping into Big 12 Conference play.
The league schedule will feature a home-and-home slate, with each team facing off twice for total 16 matches. With three Big 12 matches to finish out September, Baylor will spend a majority of October in the Ferrell Center with six of eight matches at home. But, heading into November, the Bears will play five of the final seven matches of the season on the road.
Along with its league schedule, BU will mix in two more non-conference matches, hosting North Texas on Oct. 11 and traveling to Texas State on Nov. 1.
Baylor is coming off its program-high-tying third consecutive winning season in 2010, and Big 12-era best third consecutive season with at least nine conference wins, with a 16-15 overall record and 9-11 league mark. Over the course of the season, the 2010 Bears held their spot as one of the best defensive teams in the country, holding the No. 1 digs-per-set ranking three separate weeks. The Bears finished the season ranked third in the NCAA and first in the Big 12.