RICHMOND, Va. –A total of eight schools that reached the NCAA Tournament, including Sweet 16 squads Kentucky and Wichita State, highlight VCU's 2013 Volleyball schedule, released Tuesday.
Three opponents, Kentucky, Wichita State and Dayton, were ranked in the season's final AVCA Coaches Top 25 Poll, while eight schools finished inside the top 100 in RPI. The Rams, led by first-year Head Coach Jody Rogers (pictured, right), will open their 2013 season on Friday, Aug. 30 against Florida Gulf Coast at the IUPUI Tournament in Indianapolis.
VCU will meet Kentucky for the second time in three years on Sept. 6 in Lexington, Ky., where the Wildcats will host a tournament. The field in Lexington will also net the Rams matches with NCAA teams Liberty and East Tennessee State.
The Rams will play three matches against 2012 NCAA squads in as many days Sept. 12-14 in Knoxville, Tenn., at a tournament hosted by Tennessee. In addition to a second meeting with ETSU (Sept. 12), VCU faces off with Wichita State (Sept. 13) and the host Volunteers (Sept. 14).
A return engagement to N.C. State's annual tournament is also on tap. The Rams captured the invitational last season with a thrilling victory over the Wolfpack in the tournament's final match. A rematch is scheduled for Sept. 21. That weekend will also include matches with Ivy League Champion Colgate on Sept. 20 and Big Ten stalwart Wisconsin on Sept. 21.
The Rams' non-conference slate also includes home matches with in-state rivals Hampton (Oct. 2), Norfolk State (Oct. 8) and William & Mary (Oct. 22), as well as a post-Thanksgiving tilt with Ohio (Nov. 29), which made eight straight NCAA appearances from 2003-2010.
VCU begins Atlantic 10 Conference play Sept. 27 at defending champion Dayton, which finished the year ranked 19th nationally. The Flyers will also visit the Verizon Wireless Arena at the Stuart C. Siegel Center on Oct. 6.
George Mason, which will join the A-10 in 2013, returns to VCU's schedule this fall. The Rams and Patriots rekindle their long-standing rivalry Oct. 11 in Fairfax, Va., followed by a return engagement Oct. 18 in Richmond. In all, 14 A-10 matches round out the Rams schedule, VCU finished 10-4 in league play last year and reached the A-10 Tournament semifinals.