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VOLLEYBALL RELEASES ITS 2016 SCHEDULE

VOLLEYBALL RELEASES ITS 2016 SCHEDULE

2016 Schedule

SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Sacramento State head volleyball coach Ruben Volta announced the program's 2016 schedule today.

The schedule includes 30 regular-season matches, comprised of 12 at home, 13 on the road and five at neutral sites. The team's season opener will take place Aug. 26 vs. Arkansas-Pine Bluff when the Hornets begin a two-day, three-match tournament in Arlington, Texas.

Sacramento State's home opener is Tuesday, Sept. 13, vs. UC Davis at 7 p.m. The Hornets will also host the 14th-annual Sacramento State Invitational on Friday-Saturday, Sept. 16-17. The Hornets will play three matches during the two-day tournament, including Nevada on Sept. 16 at 7 p.m., followed by a pair of matches on Sept. 17 vs. Grand Canyon (12 p.m.) and Cal Poly (7:30 p.m.).

For the third straight season, Sacramento State will play 16 Big Sky Conference matches. The league consists of 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). A total of eight teams will qualify for the Big Sky Tournament on Nov. 17-19.

The Hornets will play in four preseason tournaments, comprised of the Maverick Classic in Arlington, Texas (Aug. 26-27), the Vegas Shuffle in Las Vegas (Sept. 2-3), a UTEP/New Mexico State co-hosted tournament in both El Paso and Las Cruces (Sept. 9-10), and the Sacramento State Invitational (Sept. 16-17).

Sacramento State will play just two regular season matches that are not part of tournament or conference play, comprised of Sept. 6 at CSU Bakersfield, and Sept. 13 at home vs. UC Davis.

The Big Sky opener will take place on the road at Weber State on Friday, Sept. 23. That matchup against the Wildcats is the first of a stretch that will see Sacramento State play seven of its first eight Big Sky contests on the road between Sept. 23 and Oct. 15. In fact, the only home match during that stretch will come against Montana on Sept. 29.

After road matches at Weber State (Sept. 23) and Idaho State (Sept. 24), the Montana home contest splits up a tough stretch that will then see Sacramento State play a five-match road trip consisting of Portland State (Oct. 1), North Dakota (Oct. 6), Northern Colorado (Oct. 8), Southern Utah (Oct. 13) and Northern Arizona (Oct. 15).

While the Hornets have the toughest first half of the conference schedule among all 12 Big Sky teams, Sacramento State does have the friendliest second half of the schedule. In fact, the Hornets will play seven of their final eight Big Sky contests at home during a stretch from Oct. 20 until Nov. 12. That includes a four-match homestand, followed by a road matchup at Montana State on Nov. 3, only to finish the regular season with three straight home contests.

Those final seven home tilts will come against Idaho (Oct. 20), Eastern Washington (Oct. 22), Northern Arizona (Oct. 27), Southern Utah (Oct. 29), Portland State (Nov. 5), Idaho State (Nov. 10) and Weber State (Nov. 12). The home matchup with Weber State on Nov. 12 will be Senior Day.

The Hornets return 13 players, including four starters and the libero, from last year's squad which finished 26-7 overall and 12-4 in the Big Sky. Sacramento State advanced to the semifinal round of the Big Sky Tournament, won 10 of its final 12 matches of the season and finished 11-1 at home. The 26 overall wins were the most since 2007, and 25 of those victories came in either three or four sets. In addition, Volta was named the Big Sky's Coach of the Year.

NOTES -- The Hornets' annual Alumni Game will take place on Saturday, Aug. 20, at noon inside the Nest…later that evening, after the Alumni Game, there will be a fundraising spaghetti feed dinner to help raise money for the team's trip to China in the summer of 2017…the dinner will take place at the Alumni Center on campus the evening of Aug. 20, and more details will follow in the near future…Sacramento State will play Arkansas-Pine Bluff, UT Arlington and Grand Canyon for the first time ever…the Hornets will play the following opponents for the first time in a long while - Hofstra (1995), Arizona (1999), Sam Houston (2002), UNLV (2003), UTEP (2006) and New Mexico State (2006).