Point Park volleyball 2013 schedule released featuring challenging test
July 3, 2013 at 2:00 p.m. ET
The Pioneers have a challenging 2013 volleyball schedule ahead of them. Photo by Evan Skowvron.
PITTSBURGH -- The 2013 Point Park University volleyball schedule has been released with the Pioneers beginning play Aug. 23-24 at the Early Bird Tournament hosted by the University of Michigan-Dearborn, the first of many challenging tests on the Point Park campaign.
Point Park, which is coming off a 30-10 season a year ago in which it broke into the NAIA Top 25 rankings for the first time ever, is testing itself like never before against a challenging slate of matches versus NAIA and NCAA Division II competition.
The schedule will provide the Pioneers an opportunity to build their NAIA resume versus some of the best teams in the country. It will also allow the chance to see some of the best NCAA Division II teams in the region.
"This schedule will be a very good test for us" said Point Park volleyball head coach Mike Bruno, who is entering his ninth year at the school. "It will provide us the opportunity to take our program to the next level. Our non-conference schedule puts us up against some of the upper echelon of the NAIA, and we have some very challenging NCAA Division II opponents closer to home.
"In conference play, the KIAC will once again provide a good test, and it is our goal to win the KIAC regular season and the tournament. We fell short in both of those last year in our first year in the conference. The KIAC is our path to the NAIA national tournament, and we are glad that the KIAC now has two bids to nationals this year instead of one."
Point Park's schedule eight matches versus schools that made their respective national tournaments a year ago -- six from the 36-team NAIA national tournament and two from NCAA Division II in California (Pa.) and Shippensburg (Pa.).
Point Park has 37 matches scheduled for the 2013 regular season. Of those, only seven will be at home as the Pioneers will spend much of their time out on the road and at neutral-site tournaments taking on challenging teams. Point Park has 10 true road matches and 20 matches at neutral sites.
The 2013 volleyball schedule includes 11 Kentucky Intercollegiate Athletic Conference matches -- two at home, five on the road and four at neutral sites. The KIAC now has 12 volleyball institutions with the addition of Indiana University Kokomo, and the Pioneers will play each team once. The addition of the 12th team is significant because it gives the KIAC two bids to NAIAs. Point Park was 9-1 in the KIAC last year and finished second in the KIAC regular season and tournament to Indiana East.
Much of the rigorous part of the Pioneers' schedule will take place at the five tournaments that they will participate in. That includes the Battle of the Boulevard hosted by Point Park Sept. 6-7 at the Student Center Gym. That event features a KIAC showdown with Indiana East Sept. 6 in what is a rematch of the KIAC Tournament finals from a year ago. The event also plays host to NAIA Montreat (N.C.) and NCAA Division II Tiffin.
Point Park will also see some of the NAIA's best at the season-opening Early Bird Tournament hosted Michigan-Dearborn Aug. 23-24, at the Taylor (Ind.) / Indiana Wesleyan Tournament Aug. 30-31 and at the Georgetown (Ky.) Boneyard Brawl Oct. 25-26. The Pioneers will also make their annual trip to the Clearwater Christian (Fla.) Tournament Oct. 11-12.
The pairings for the Early Bird Tournament at Michigan-Dearborn are not available as of yet, but the event reguarly draws the best teams from the around the nation who want to start their season off well. The other tournaments have the Pioneers facing some top-flight NAIA volleyball schools. Tournament co-hosts Taylor and Indiana Wesleyan are yearly NAIA contenders with Indiana Wesleyan ending last year ranked No. 14 in the nation. Point Park will also see Texas Wesleyan and Marian (Ind.) at that event.
The biggest NAIA test will occur at the Georgetown (Ky.) Boneyard Brawl late in the year. There the Pioneers will have four matches versus teams that were in the NAIA Top 25 poll at the end of last year in No. 8 Viterbo (Wis.), No. 17 Bellevue (Neb.), No. 20 Lindsey Wilson (Ky.) and receiving votes Davenport (Mich.). Viterbo (Wis.) was the last at-large team to make the NAIA national tournament and got in right in front of Point Park.
There are a total of six NAIA nationally ranked programs from the end of last year on the Pioneers' schedule this season. KIAC rival Indiana East ended the year at No. 19 to join the others previously mentioned.
Point Park will play its usual slate of matches versus some of the top NCAA Division II teams in the Atlantic Region. Among those are NCAA Division II national tournament qualifiers California (Pa.) and Shippensburg (Pa.) out of the PSAC. Other PSAC opponents include Edinboro and Slippery Rock.
In what has been a regular matchup, the Pioneers have a strong NCAA Division II opponent in Fairmont State on the schedule once again.
A highlight of the KIAC schedule will be a neutral-site match versus Carlow at Kiski Area High School. That match is a part of Jam The Gym, a charitable fundraiser for the cancers that have affected the the coaching staff of Kiski Area girls' volleyball, which is Point Park coach Mike Bruno's alma mater.
Download the complete Point Park University volleyball 2013 schedule at the link above. A printable PDF version of the schedule is available in addition to the web version.