St. Francis will have to its program’s first home match against a MPSF opponent — only 32 years since its inaugural season.
St. Francis as part of releasing its 2017 schedule Friday announced it will play host to the four-time NCAA Tournament champions UC Irvine in a non-conference match on March 8.
This will be the first all-time meeting between the Red Flashes and the Anteaters.
The Red Flashes return three All-EIVA players after finishing last season at No. 15 in the national coaches poll and reaching the EIVA Tournament finals. In addition, St. Francis became the first team to defeat Penn State in the conference tournament since 1998.
UC Irvine one-year removed from winning the MPSF championship and reaching the NCAA Tournament ended an injury-plagued 2016 season in eighth place in the MPSF. The team, though, returns multiple starters,, including All-American opposite Tamir Hershko and all-conference setter and opposite Michael Saeta.
The match against St. Francis continues UC Irvine’s new trend of scheduling a mid-season East Coast road trip. The Anteaters have yet to release their complete 2017 schedule.
Along with playing UC Irvine, St. Francis will have two more non-conference matches against MPSF opponents in the upcoming season with home-and-home series versus Cal Baptist.
The Red Flashes are 0-9 all-time against the MPSF.