The EIVA Tournament finalists and an incoming member of the MPSF will be among the teams descending upon Cal Baptist in opening week of the season.
Cal Baptist as part of recently unveiling its 2017 season schedule announced it will play host to St. Francis, Concordia-Irvine and Lindenwood for a non-conference event in January.
This will be the second consecutive year Cal Baptist will play Concordia-Irvine and the third straight season the team will play its former NAIA rival Lindenwood. It also will be the second all-time meeting between St. Francis and Cal Baptist.
Each team will play the other three opponents during the two-day invitational with two matches on Friday, Jan. 6 and one match on Saturday, Jan. 7.
Cal Baptist under first-year coach Derek Schmidt ended the 2016 season at 14-16 — an eight-win improvement from the previous season. The Lancers return a majority of starters from a team that went undefeated in non-conference play, including victories against Lindenwood and Concordia-Irvine.
St. Francis finished last season reaching the EIVA Tournament finals and becoming the first team since 1998 to beat Penn State in the conference tournament. In addition, all-conference opposite Jeff Hogan highlights the starters returning to the Red Flashes for the upcoming season.
Concordia-Irvine enters the 2017 season successfully completing its transition from NAIA to NCAA Division II membership and agreeing in the off-season to join the MPSF beginning in 2018. The Eagles competing as an independent team ended last season 10-7, including victories against Grand Canyon and Princeton.
Lindenwood did not qualify for the MIVA Tournament last season for the first time since joining the conference as an NCAA Division II member. However, the Lions have a majority of starters returning for the upcoming season.