MIAMI SHORES, Fla. – Barry University’s volleyball team opens the season Friday, Sept. 6 when the Buccaneers compete in the two-day Ram Rumble at Shepherd University in Shepherdstown, W. Va. It is the beginning of a 26-match regular season schedule, featuring nine home dates.
Eight teams that qualified for last year's NCAA Division II National Tournament highlight this year's schedule.
The Buccaneers, who finished 17-13 overall and 9-7 for fourth place in the Sunshine State Conference in 2012, will play four non-conference opponents in Shepherd, Bowie State, Pace and Lock Haven over the two-day season-opening tournament. Lock Haven, a member of the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference, was an NCAA Tournament qualifier last year, going 26-11.
Shepherd, a West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference member, was 12-17 last year. Bowie State, which competes in the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association, was 7-22. Pace, a Northeast-10 Conference member, was 17-18.
A near qualifier for the national tournament last season after climbing to No. 8 in the South Region poll, the Bucs hit the road the following weekend for a pair of non-conference matches against Puerto Rico-Rio Piedras and Bentley at the Eckerd Tournament in St. Petersburg. Bentley, another Northeast-10 member, was 11-19 a year ago.
Under the guidance of third-year coach Steve Hendricks and assistant Katie McCrath, Barry will host Palm Beach Atlantic in the home opener 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 20. The Bucs meet PBA on the road Nov. 5 to complete the home-and-home season series. The Sailfish went 35-4 a year ago before falling to Tampa in the third round of the NCAA Tournament. The Buccaneers dropped both matches to the Sailfish last year -- the first meeting a five-set back-and-forth battle PBA pulled out.
A day after the home opener, the Buccaneers will scrimmage former Barry players in the Alumni Match at 7 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 21 in Health & Sports Center.
The Bucs open Sunshine State Conference play at Rollins Sept. 27 at 7 p.m. before meeting defending league champ and NCAA runner-up Tampa on the road the next day at 4 p.m.
Rollins advanced to the NCAA Tournament a year ago, going 18-15 overall and 9-7 in the SSC. The Bucs and Tars split the regular season matchups last season, each team winning on their counterpart’s home floor. Tampa won the league title for the eighth straight time in 2012. The Spartans went 32-4 overall, 16-0 in the SSC. The Spartans’ season ended with a loss in an NCAA Championship five-set tussle with Concordia-St. Paul, 27-29, 17-25, 25-23, 25-23, 16-14.
The Bucs host Nova Southeastern 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 4 in the first conference home match. Lynn comes to Miami Shores for a 4 p.m. match a day later. Lynn went 15-13 last season, while the Sharks were 4-28.
Barry will compete in the South Region Crossover at West Florida in Pensacola, Fla., Oct. 18-19. The Bucs will play Christian Brothers and West Florida, both NCAA Tournament qualifiers a year ago, on the first day of the Crossover. Christian Brothers went 21-13, falling to PBA in the second round of the national tournament. West Florida finished 26-8, bowing out in the first round of the NCAA Tournament to Christian Brothers. On the final day in Pensacola, the Buccaneers square off with Valdosta State and North Alabama. Valdosta State was 17-13 a year ago, while North Alabama had a 12-18 record. All four South Region Crossover opponents compete in the Gulf South.
From Oct. 23-Nov. 2, the Buccaneers return to league play for four straight home matches, beginning with Florida Tech. The Panthers went 15-14 in 2012.
On Saturday, Oct. 26, the Bucs host Eckerd, another NCAA Tournament qualifier from a year ago. Barry split the regular season series with the Tritons last year, winning a five-set thriller at home in the penultimate match of the season, 26-24,25-23,20-25,21-25,15-9. Eckerd went 21-10, falling in the first round of the NCAA Tournament to Florida Southern. Barry meets Florida Southern in Lakeland on Oct. 12. The Buccaneers host the Moccasins on Nov. 22 in the final week of the regular season.
The Buccaneers finish the regular season with a 4 p.m. match against Saint Leo on Nov. 23. Barry split with the Lions last year, each school defending their home courts in four-set victories.