2022 Volleyball Schedule Released By Pac-12
BOULDER—The seventh season of the Jesse Mahoney era at the University of Colorado will again feature a tough preseason schedule before embarking on Pac-12 play in the toughest volleyball conference in the nation, the league announced Thursday.
After a Black & Gold Scrimmage on August 20 (3 p.m., CU Events Center) the Buffs will officially open the 2022 season with the Buffs Invitational, hosting Green Bay, Western Michigan and Denver, Aug. 26-27.
As has become tradition, the Buffs will play host to two Big Ten teams in Illinois and Iowa on Sept. 3-4 in the Pac-12/Big Ten Challenge and also host two neutral site matches as Washington will be in town to also play the Illini and Hawkeyes.
After a trip to Arkansas for a tournament featuring the Razorbacks, Florida International and Arkansas Little Rock, the Buffs will pick back up on another budding tradition, a home-and-home with rival Colorado State with the Golden Spike Trophy on the line. The Buffs will travel to Fort Collins Sept. 15 and the Rams will return the trip to Boulder the next night to complete the non-conference schedule. Since 2016 when Mahoney re-introduced the CSU rivalry, the Buffs have a 5-2 record against the Rams after not having beat them since the 2002 season.
Pac-12 play opens Sept. 22 with a trip to Utah and the conference home opener will be Sept. 25 when Arizona State visits Boulder. The Buffs host Stanford and Cal (Oct. 7-9), Washington and Washington State (Oct. 14-16), UCLA and USC (Oct. 28-30), Oregon and Oregon State (Nov. 11-13) and Utah (Nov. 23) and will travel to USC and UCLA (Sept. 30-Oct. 2), Oregon and Oregon State (Oct. 21-23), Cal and Stanford (Nov. 4-6), Washington and Washington State (Nov. 18-20) and Arizona (Nov. 23) in league play.
The Pac-12 sent six teams to the 2021 NCAA Championships, the 21st time in the last 22 years that the league has had at least six teams in the championship tournament. UCLA and Washington advanced to the Sweet 16 from the league last year, with the Huskies pushing No. 2 overall seed Texas to five sets in the Elite Eight and the Bruins falling to eventual NCAA champion Wisconsin in the Sweet 16.
This year's schedule features 13 matches against teams that advanced to the NCAA Tournament, including the six teams from the Pac-12 and Illinois. With Arkansas, Colorado State and Denver expected to push for NCAA spots this season, the number of matches against potential NCAA Tournament teams could jump even higher.
The Buffs will be led by a pair of fifth-year seniors in Meegan Hart and Brynna DeLuzio, who is expected to compete at setter with Taylor Simpson. DeLuzio was a freshman All-American at setter in 2018 before moving to libero for much of the last three seasons, while Simpson was one of the top setter signees out of the 2021 class.
Hart will be joined in the middle by Alexia Kuehl while Maya Tabron and Jill Schneggenburger both benefited from a solid spring season and should see action on the outside and expect UCLA transfer Lexi Hadrych to make an immediate impact, as well.
Sterling Parker is expected to be full go after being injured during the 2021 season after being a freshman All-American in 2019 and All-Pac-12 selection in 2020. In 2019 and '20, she was second on the team in kills. Mahoney also singled out Katie Lougeay and Savannah Perry for having solid spring seasons, as well, the Buffs first full spring practice season since 2019.