May 15, 2014
FRESNO, Calif. - Looking ahead to her seventh season at the helm, Fresno State volleyball head coach Lauren Netherby-Sewell announced another exciting schedule for the `Dogs this fall.
The Bulldogs will point towards a 34-match slate with 11 home dates at the Save Mart Center, including early season exhibitions against an Alumni Squad and Fresno Pacific.
In contrast, its away slate will feature trips to four time zones and contests vs. foes from 10 different conferences (America East, Big East, Big Sky, Big South, Big West, Ivy, Mountain West, Northeast, Sun Belt and WAC)
Fresno State begins practice on Saturday, August 9, then welcomes back several former greats for a free Alumni Exhibition match on Saturday, August 23.
The season officially starts the following weekend with the Rice Invitational (August 29-30) in Houston, Texas. The `Dogs then have three more away early-season tournaments - the Sacramento State Invitational (September 5-6), St. John's Kissler Classic (Sept. 12-13) and CSU Bakersfield Tournament (Sept. 19-20).
Fresno State will have one more non-conference match at LIU-Brooklyn on Wednesday, September 10 as part of its East Coast swing designed by Netherby-Sewell, a former head coach at nearby Hofstra (and NCAA Tournament advancer in 2006).
"This early schedule was designed to allow us the opportunity to sprint towards the Top 50 this season," Netherby-Sewell said. "Our fans will get a sneak peak of our team during the Alumni Match, and then we'll battle teams on the road for a good month. The preseason will quickly toughen up our new players and allow our eight returners to bond with them. We believe it will prove to be a valuable month for our conference success and national rankings this season."
The `Dogs' first regular season home event is an exhibition vs. Fresno Pacific on Tuesday, September, 23.
The squad then opens its third season of MW play that weekend at UNLV and San Diego State on Thursday and Saturday, September 25 and 27.
Afterward, Fresno State has nine home weekend conference tilts against Nevada (Thu., 10/2), San Jose State (Thu., Oct. 4), San Diego State (Thu., Oct. 23), UNLV (Sat., Oct. 25), Colorado State (Thu., Nov. 6), Wyoming (Sat., Nov. 8), Boise State (Thu., Nov. 13), Utah State (Sat., Nov. 15) and New Mexico (Fri., Nov. 21).
"Hosting Fresno Pacific at the end of our long road-stand will help reinvigorate our fans and prepare us for conference," Netherby-Sewell said. "We'll miss the Save Mart Center early in the season, but in October and November, we'll live in that place. I want our fans to make it a shockingly tough place to play for our guests."
This season's conference schedule will have two less matches than last year so that teams could schedule two more non-conference dates during the season. Otherwise, Fresno State will play home and away matches vs. nine of its 10 MW foes, and one match against New Mexico (in Fresno) and Air Force (at Colorado Springs).
Among the team's 24 opponents this fall, three are NCAA Tournament returnees - returning MW champion Colorado State, returning America East Tournament champion New Hampshire and UC Santa Barbara - and they sported RPI ratings of 23, 199 and 62 at the end of last season.
Four more of Fresno State's foes this fall also sported top-100 RPI positions at the end of 2013 - New Mexico (68), Long Beach State (80), Utah State (81) San Diego State (89).
Fans can find a complete schedule with *tentative* start times at the top of this page.
Fresno State's list of returnees from 2013 include senior and sophomore libero/defensive specialists Christina Lee and Maggie Eppright, sophomore setter Brooke Legaux, junior and senior outside hitters Zana Bowens and Jaimee-Lee Morrow, senior right side hitter Katie Pearson, and senior and junior middle blockers Maci Murdock and Molly Pearson.
This year's Bulldog squad welcomes a talented newcomer class that features two transfers - junior setter Jelena Jovanovic (Florida Atlantic / Belgrade, Serbia) and redshirt freshman Haylee Roberts (Oregon / Bakersfield, Calif.).
The team's other four newcomers are freshmen - outside hitters Taylor Brubaker (San Clemente, Calif.) and Carly Scarbrough (Sarasota, Fla.) Calif.), middle blocker Lauren Torres (Visalia, Calif.) and defensive specialist Jacqueline Hutcheson (Exeter, Calif.)
"The Mountain West Conference is stacked with experienced squads," Netherby-Sewell said. "We're the wild card in the bunch adding a slew of newcomers from the valley, Southern California, Florida and overseas - some of whom are bound to make an impact in their first year. We'll be tagged as a 'young' team. But I dare you to count us out. We have talent and we work."
Last fall, the `Dogs (17-15, 11-9) capped their 43rd season of play with their first pair of back-to-back winning seasons since 2003 and `04, and tied for fourth place in the MW Conference - two places better than their MW Preseason Coaches Poll position.
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