The MIVA and EIVA will be well-represented at one of the biggest annual college men’s volleyball non-conference events to open the upcoming season.
UC Santa Barbara unveiled to Off the Block the eight-team field for its home tournament the 2016 Asics Invitational that will feature a record four non-West Coast teams.
Both Quincy and Lindenwood will make their first appearance in their programs’ histories at the non-conference tournament. In addition, NJIT and Sacred Heart from the EIVA will make their Asics Invitational debut.
Along with these schools, Cal Baptist, Long Beach State, CSUN and the host school UC Santa Barbara will compete in the Asics Invitational
The upcoming Asics Invitational is a two-day event beginning Jan. 8 with each team playing three matches.
The tournament field historically had been comprised primarily of MPSF teams. However, Asics Invitational in recent seasons has included more non-West Coast schools with the NCAA Tournament selection placing an increased emphasis on the RPI and teams scheduling more non-conference matches.
Three of eight teams in the Asics Invitational field — Lindenwood, Quincy and UC Santa Barbara — all finished last season in the top 15 of the RPI rankings.
Lindenwood also enters 2016 after last season winning its first postseason match and advancing to the MIVA Tournament semifinals for the first time since transitioning from NAIA to NCAA Division II. The Lions were only team in the Asics Invitational field to win a postseason match last season.
Beyond the RPI rankings, UC Santa Barbara, Long Beach State and CSUN were all ranked in the top 15 of the final 2015 national coaches poll. In addition, the Gauchos and 49ers qualified for the eight-team MPSF Tournament.
The opening day of the Asics Invitational will feature each team playing a morning match and an evening match. Teams the following day will close out the tournament playing one match at Rob Gym.
2016 UCSB ASICS INVITATIONAL SCHEDULE
Friday, Jan. 8
10 a.m. — UC Santa Barbara vs. Quincy (Rob Gym)
10 a.m. — Cal Baptist vs. NJIT (Thunderdome Court 1)
10 a.m. — Long Beach State vs. Lindenwood (Thunderdome Court 2)
10 a.m. — CSUN vs. Sacred Heart (Thunderdome Court 3)
7 p.m. — UC Santa Barbara vs. NJIT (Rob Gym)
7 p.m. — Cal Baptist vs. Quincy (Thunderdome Court 1)
7 p.m. — Long Beach State vs. Sacred Heart (Thunderdome Court 2)
7 p.m. — CSUN vs. Lindenwood (Thunderdome Court 3)
Saturday, Jan. 9
11 a.m. — Cal Baptist vs. Lindenwood (Rob Gym)
1:30 p.m. — CSUN vs. NJIT (Rob Gym)
4 p.m. — Long Beach State vs. Quincy (Rob Gym)
6:30 p.m. — UC Santa Barbara vs. Sacred Heart (Rob Gym)