BEVERLY, Mass.- The Endicott women's volleyball team released their 2013 schedule today and per usual, it is one of the strongest in New England. The team is coming off of a year in which they played a quarter of their schedule against nationally ranked opponents and half of their schedule against regionally ranked opponents, the Gulls are looking to take this experience and translate it into quality wins this year. Coach Tim Byram is entering his 14th year at the helm and holds a record of 252-200 (.558) overall and an in-conference record of 96-20 (.828). Endicott has qualified for postseason play in every season under Byram while advancing to seven conference finals, winning four.
As it has for the previous two, the season starts with a tri-match against Wellesley & Keene State. Endicott plays host this year as the tri is in year three of its rotation. In the previous two, Endicott and Wellesley are tied with 3-1 records while Keene State holds a record of 0-4. 2012 saw Endicott defeat Keene State 3-1 before falling to Wellesley by that same score.
The Gulls will then have almost a week off before they play host to the 2013 Endicott Invitational. This year's field includes Bowdoin, Eastern (Penn.), Plymouth State, UMass Boston, Roger Williams, Sage (N.Y.) and Williams. Endicott will open day one of the tournament by playing Plymouth State and Williams on Friday before facing Eastern (Penn.) and Bowdoin on Saturday. Endicott is 8-10 all time vs. Plymouth State, although the Gulls have won five of the last six meetings. In last season's EC Invitational, the Gulls fell to Williams 2-3 in a five set nail biter. The team then turns to Eastern (Penn.) who they have yet to face before facing the Polar Bears of Bowdoin who they are 6-6 against all-time.
Following the Invitational, Endicott will host Trinity (Conn.) before heading to the MIT Invitational. While the schedule for this tournament has yet to be set, the field is loaded with the top teams in the region as Bates, Bowdoin, Brandeis, Colby, Conn College, MIT, Regis, Roger Williams, Simmons, Southern Vt., Springfield, Tufts and Wellesley will all be in attendance. The strong out of conference early schedule sets up nicely for the Gulls as they will be battle tested early and often.
Following the MIT tournament, the squad begins their CCC schedule as they host cross-town rival Gordon in mid-September. That match is followed up by a tri-match against Amherst and Bates before traveling to Biddeford, Maine for a CCC contest against the Nor'Easters of UNE. September wraps up with a two day tournament in the "Big Apple," as the Gulls travel to New York City to participate in the Baruch Invitational. Once there, Endicott will play Richard Stockton on Friday before playing Baruch and Ramapo on Saturday.
After coming back from New York, Endicott hosts four straight CCC matchups. The Gulls host Wentworth and travel to Curry before hosting vs. 2012 CCC champions Roger Williams on Saturday, October 5th as part of Homecoming. Endicott then travels to CCC foe Salve Regina who defeated Endicott 1-3 in the CCC Semis in 2012.
Following this CCC stretch, the Gulls head to their final invitational of the season, the UMass Boston Invitational. Endicott first plays the host team UMass Boston before taking on Colby-Sawyer. Endicott has an all-time record of 17-8 against Colby-Sawyer, who used to be a CCC foe before the Chargers shifted to the North Atlantic Conference (NAC). The Gulls then take on Haverford (Pa.) and Babson on the final day of the tournament.
Following the UMass Boston Invitational, Endicott takes on North Shore Rival Salem State at a tri-match with MCLA. CCC foe Western New England comes to town towards the end of October as the Golden Bears and Gulls square off in what should be a pivotal conference matchup. That match is one of three scheduled in the tri-match that also sees WPI come to town. Endicott is 12-1 all-time against Western New England, winning each of the last three meetings. WPI and Endicott have yet to play in their program's histories.
A Tuesday matchup against Eastern Nazarene is followed by a tri-match with Brandeis and Conn. College. The tri-match sets the stage for what should be another Endicott postseason run, the 14th consecutive run. The CCC tournament kicks off with the Quarterfinals on November 5th with the semifinals and finals falling on the 7th and 9th.
As last year's newcomers now have the experience of a loaded season under their belt as well as a full offseason in a college program, the team's future looks brighter than ever. With a strong leadership being provided by the upperclassmen and the second year players, this year's incoming freshman class will look to strengthen an already storied program's history. 2013 looks to be an exciting season for the Gulls as they look to win their fifth CCC title in the last ten years.