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SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Sacramento State head coach Ruben Volta announced the program's 2014 schedule today.
The schedule includes 31 regular-season matches, comprised of 12 at home, 12 on the road and seven at neutral sites. The team's season opener will take place Aug. 29 when the Hornets begin a two-day, four-match tournament hosted by Charlotte.
The Hornets' home opener will come at the 12th-annual Sacramento State Invitational on Sept. 5-6. The Hornets will play three matches during the two-day tournament, including Fresno State on Sept. 5 at 7 p.m., followed by matches on Sept. 6 against both Loyola Marymount (12:30 p.m.) and UC Santa Barbara (7:30 p.m.).
Sacramento State will now play 16 conference matches as opposed to the 20 league matches it played the previous two seasons. The Big Sky will become a 12-team league in the fall of 2014 with the addition of the University of Idaho to the conference.
Rather than playing 22 conference matches against the other 11 league opponents, Big Sky volleyball teams will now split into a pair of six-team divisions with each squad playing an unbalanced schedule. The Hornets play twice against fellow divisional foes Portland State, Southern Utah, Northern Arizona, Idaho State and Weber State, and once against the six teams from the other division (Eastern Washington, Idaho, Northern Colorado, Montana, Montana State and North Dakota).
In addition, eight teams will now qualify for the Big Sky Tournament, up from the six-team format the league used in previous postseason tournaments.
Besides the tournaments in Charlotte and Sacramento, the Hornets will also play in two-day preseason tournaments in San Luis Obispo (Sept. 12-13) and Valparaiso, Ind. (Sept. 19-20). Sacramento State will host UC Davis in the volleyball version of the Causeway Classic on Sept. 16, and a non-conference road tilt at Nevada on Sept. 9.
The Big Sky opener will take place at Southern Utah on Sept. 25 followed by a matchup at Northern Arizona on Sept. 27. The Hornets will then begin a season-long four-match homestand that will include league matches against Idaho State (Oct. 2), Weber State (Oct. 4), Eastern Washington (Oct. 9) and Idaho (Oct. 11).
Other home matches include dates with Portland State (Oct. 18), North Dakota (Oct. 30), Northern Arizona (Nov. 13), and the Senior Night/regular season finale against Southern Utah on Nov. 15.
The Hornets return seven players in 2014, including three starters from last year's squad which finished 15-16 overall and 10-10 in the Big Sky. Among the returners are starters at outside hitter (junior Sloan Lovett, sophomore Morgan Stanley) and middle blocker (sophomore Courtney Dietrich).