Updated Tue, Apr 2, 2013 4:40 pm
The Bobcats officially announced their Fall 2013 schedule Tuesday afternoon. The team returns 11 of 15 athletes from the 2012 season and four of the five players who saw time all 110 games.
The season opens with four non-conference tournaments for Ohio. Five of its opponents during the first month of the season won at least one game in the 2012 NCAA Tournament. Two of these teams, Oregon and Michigan, advanced to the Final Four. Oregon fell to Texas in the Championship game.
“We are excited for another tough pre-season and the always challenging MAC season of play,” coach Ryan Theis said. “We have matchups against several Top 25 teams and Top 50 RPI teams on the slate.”
Ohio will kick off the season with a three-match tournament in Eugene, Ore., facing Bryant University on Aug. 30, and Eastern Washington and No. 2 Oregon on Aug. 31.
The Bobcats will then return to Athens to play host to a two-day tournament. Ohio will face Cincinnati and North Carolina on Sept. 6 as well as No. 19 Dayton on September 7. Both opponents advanced to the second round of the 2012 NCAA Tournament.
From Sept. 13-14, the team will travel to play three matches in Bowling Green, Ky. Ohio will face UNLV, which finished third in the Mountain West last season, No. 21 Western Kentucky and Virginia.
Dayton, North Carolina, and Western Kentucky all advanced to the second round of the 2012 NCAA Tournament.
In their last non-conference stretch before opening the 16-game MAC slate in late September, the Bobcats will play a three-match tournament in Ann Arbor, Mich., Sept. 20-21. Ohio tangles Maryland and Marshall, before taking on No. 5 Michigan.
Ohio opens MAC play with a two-match road trip at Buffalo and Akron (Sept. 27, 28), and makes its way home for matches with Miami and Bowling Green (Oct. 4, 5).
Again, the team will travel to Kent State (Oct. 10) and Eastern Michigan (Oct. 12) and return home for matchups with MAC West foes Toledo and Ball State Oct. 18 and 19.
The Bobcats continue play against the MAC West with a two-match road swing against the top two teams from the division last season — Northern Illinois (Oct. 25) and Western Michigan (Oct. 26). Ohio then opens November with home East Division matches against Akron (Nov. 1) and Buffalo (Nov. 2).
The Bobcats will hit the road once more to compete at Bowling Green and Miami and will wrap up the MAC regular season at home vs. Kent State (Nov. 14) and Central Michigan (Nov. 16).
The 2013 MAC Tournament begins on November 22 at the SPIRE Sports Complex in Geneva, Ohio. The Bobcats will look to capture their fourth tournament title in the past six years.
Following the MAC Tournament, the Bobcats finish the regular season with a trip to Richmond, Va., to take on Atlantic 10 power Virginia Commonwealth. The Rams were 25-6 last season and finished third in the A-10 standings.
“Our young team gained a lot of experience last year and will have to battle this preseason to get some wins,” Theis said. “We will enjoy and embrace the challenge.”
Ohio has qualified for the NCAA Tournament eight of the past 10 years and has won a first round game four of those seasons, including two of the last four seasons. Ohio's best postseason performance came in 2005, when it reached the Sweet 16.