UC Santa Barbara and St. Francis will both open the upcoming season with a first in their programs’ histories.
St. Francis as part of recently unveiling its 2015 regular season schedule announced it will play its season-opener on the road against UC Santa Barbara in the first meeting between the two teams.
The Red Flashes finished last season in fifth place in the EIVA and missed the four-team conference tournament. In addition, St. Francis during that regular season made its first West Coast road trip since 2010 and lost a non-conference match to Cal Baptist.
UC Santa Barbara enters the upcoming season after reaching the MPSF Tournament semifinals last season and finishing in the top-five of the national coaches poll. Among the starters returning for the Gauchos includes All-American setter Jonah Seif.
The Gauchos are also 17-7 all-time against current EIVA teams with the team’s last loss in those matches occurring in 2011 versus Princeton.
The non-conference match against UC Santa Barbara will be part of a four-match West Coast road trip for St. Francis.
The Red Flashes following its season-opener will remain in Southern California to participate in the UC Santa Barbara Invitational. The three MPSF opponents St. Francis will play in that non-conference tournament will be UCLA, Long Beach State and Cal State Northridge.
St. Francis will be one of three non-West Coast schools participating in the annual non-conference tournament. Princeton and IPFW will also be among the teams competing at the UC Santa Barbara Invitational.