Seattle University head volleyball coach Shannon Ellis has announced the 2012 schedule for the Redhawk volleyball team, featuring the program's first season of competition in the Western Athletic Conference.
"2012 will be a very exciting year. We are thrilled to be joining the WAC. To have the opportunity to play for a championship is incredibly motivating. Our preseason schedule is tough and should help us prepare for the solid competition we will face in conference play," Ellis said.
Seattle U will start the season at a tournament hosted by the University of Wyoming in Laramie, Wyo., Aug. 24-25. The Redhawks will face the host Cowgirls as well as Presbyterian College, Eastern Washington, and San Francisco.
The next weekend, the Redhawks head across the state to Pullman, Wash., to participate in the Cougar Challenge Aug. 31-Sept. 1, hosted by Washington State. Besides the host Cougars, Seattle U will take on Weber State as well as Alabama State.
Seattle U will stay home for a two-week span, starting with a short trip to Alaska Airlines Arena to face Washington Sept. 6 before the home opener two nights later against Long Beach State. The Redhawks will conclude the non-conference portion of the schedule by hosting Boise State at the Connolly Center Sept. 11.
For the first time since Nov. 10, 2007, the Redhawk volleyball team will play a conference match, as the team opens WAC play Sept. 13 against New Mexico State, who finished tied for second in the league standings in 2011 and advanced to the final of the conference tournament. On Sept. 15, Denver will make the trip to the North Court to face Seattle U.
The first WAC road trip takes place the next weekend, as Seattle U faces Utah State Sept. 20 and San Jose State Sept. 22. The Redhawks return home for their next three matches, first hosting Texas-San Antonio Sept. 27 and Texas State Sept. 29, the top two teams in the Southland Conference last season who met in the conference tournament final.
Seattle U's travel partner in the WAC is Idaho, and the Redhawks will host the Vandals Oct. 5 before concluding the first half of the conference season with road matches at Texas-Arlington Oct. 11 and at Louisiana Tech Oct. 13. The second half of the WAC schedule features four consecutive road matches before Seattle U plays its final two home contests against Texas-Arlington (Nov. 8) and Louisiana Tech (Nov. 10).
The Redhawks' final match of the regular season is Nov. 15 at Denver. The top eight teams in the conference will move on to the WAC Tournament, held this season in San Antonio, Texas, Nov. 19-21, with the winner earning the conference's automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament.
Ellis, set to begin her ninth season as head coach of the Seattle University volleyball team, will welcome back 10 letterwinners from the 2011 season.