Lewis will open its season at home against a top-10 nationally ranked team from the MPSF.
The defending-NCAA Tournament finalist Lewis as part of recently unveiling its 2016 schedule announced that it would begin its season with a home non-conference match against UC Santa Barbara on Jan. 2.
This will be the first time in the eight-match non-conference series history between the two teams dating back to 1996 that UC Santa Barbara will travel to Lewis. In addition, it is the first time the Gauchos have left the West Coast for a regular season match in six years.
Lewis finished last season earning the No. 1 overall seed for the NCAA Tournament and almost won its second national championship in program history before losing to Loyola in a fifth-game overtime of the NCAA Tournament finals. The Flyers will have to replace multiple graduated All-American starters from last year’s team but return middle attacker Bobby Walsh, the 2015 Off the Block/Springbak, Inc. National Blocker of the Year.
UC Santa Barbara returns a majority of starters after ending last season at No. 9 in the national coaches poll and losing in the MPSF Tournament quarterfinals. Among the players returning for the Gauchos in the upcoming season includes All-American setter Jonah Seif and Freshmen All-American libero Hayden Boehle.
UC Santa Barbara holds a 5-2 all-time series lead against Lewis with its most recent win coming in 2013.
The Gauchos will be one of four MPSF opponents on the Flyers’ non-conference schedule during the 2016 season. Lewis following its season-opener will play a road match Hawaii’i as part of the Outrigger Invitational in January and will travel again to the West Coast in March to play both Long Beach State and UC Irvine.