Concordia-Irvine, UC Irvine to renew non-conference rivalry in 2022

Photo courtesy of Concordia-Irvine athletics

The Battle for Irvine is back on after a one-year hiatus.

Concordia-Irvine as part of unveiling its 2022 season announced it will renew its annual non-conference match-up against UC Irvine with a home-and-home series.

The two schools that are separated by about one mile have met every year since 2017 — Concordia-Irvine’s second year as a NCAA Division II member after transitioning from NAIA. Both teams, though, were prevented from playing each other last season in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic because both the MPSF and Big West opted to play concereference-only schedules.

Concordia-Irvine enters the 2022 season under new head coach and former U.S. Olympian Riley Salmon.


Salmon inherits a program that ended last season at No. 3 in the Off the Block Division II National Coaches Poll and reached the MPSF Tournament quarterfinals. Among the starters returning for the Eagles includes setter McLain Mott, who in 2021 was in the top 10 of the MPSF with a 8.07 assists per game average.

UC Irvine a year removed from finishing No. 6 in the AVCA Division I-II National Coaches Poll finished last season tied for fifth place in the Big West and lost in the conference tournament quarterfinals.

Big West All-Freshman outside attackers Franccesco Sani and Cole Gillis return for the Anteaters. Both players also spent the offseason helping lead the United States to a bronze medal at the Pan American Cup.

The Anteaters will play host to the Eagles in the first meeting between the two teams on Jan. 15. Concordia-Irvine will have its home match in the non-conference series on March 5.

UC Irvine leads the all-time series at 7-2, but Concordia-Irvine has pulled off upsets against its cross-street rivals in 2019 and 2020.

2022 Concordia-Irvine schedule

Jan. 6-8 at UC Santa Barbara Invitational
Jan. 10 vs. Saint Xavier
Jan. 13 vs. Saint Katherine
Jan. 15 at UC Irvine
Jan. 22 vs. The Master’s
Jan. 28 at Saint Katherine
Feb. 4 at UC San Diego
Feb. 21 vs. Central State
Feb. 23 at UCLA
Feb. 25 vs. UCLA
March 1 at Vanguard
March 3 vs. Stanford
March 4 vs. Stanford
March 5 vs. UC Irvine
March 10 vs. UC San Diego
March 11 at BYU
March 12 at BYU
March 17 vs. Ottawa
March 18 at Long Beach State
March 25 vs. Grand Canyon
March 26 vs. Grand Canyon
March 31 vs. Pepperdine
March 31 at Pepperdine
April 8 at USC
April 9 vs. USC
April 14 vs. UC Santa Barbara