Bring on BYU: St. Francis schedules huge home match for 2019

Photo courtesy of St. Francis athletics.

[Editor’s note: Off the Block in collaboration with the EIVA is presenting The Top 15 EIVA Non-Conference Matches. This list spotlights the best non-conference matches scheduled for EIVA teams in 2019 and will be the first time several of these matches have been publicly announced. St. Francis vs. BYU is ranked No. 6 on the list.]

One of the biggest non-conference home matches in St. Francis program history is set for the opening weeks of the 2019 season.

St. Francis announced it will play host to BYU on Jan. 19 in the first meeting between the two programs in almost a decade.

Along with this being the first home match versus the Cougars in the series, it will be the first time the Red Flash play at home against a projected top-10 nationally ranked team from the MPSF or Big West.

BYU has won three of the last four MPSF championships and advanced to the NCAA Tournament finals in two of the last three seasons.

The Cougars en route to earning the No. 2 overall seed for the 2018 NCAA Tournament finished last season second in the nation with a 2.78 blocks per game average. Among the starters returning for the Cougars includes All-American opposite Gabi Garcia Fernandez, who was named the 2018 MPSF Freshman of the Year.

St. Francis played last season without the majority of its projected starting lineup and failed to qualify for the four-team EIVA Tournament.

The Red Flash, though, return two all-conference players who redshirted in 2018.

Outside attacker Michael Fisher was a 2017 Off the Block/Springbak, Inc. Freshman All-American who was second in the EIVA averaging 3.53 kills per game. In addition, libero Gabe Woffindin earned Second-Team All-EIVA honors in 2017 after finishing third in the conference with a 2.36 digs per game average.

St. Francis lost the only previous meeting against BYU in 2010 at the Active Ankle Tournament.

That match is part of BYU’s current 14-match winning streak against EIVA opponents dating back to 2006. The Cougars are 24-10 all-time versus the EIVA.