No. 1 UC Irvine visits No. 14 Lancers

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California Baptist University men’s volleyball team competes in their first home match after becoming a member of the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF) on Jan. 16.

The MPSF is generally regarded as the toughest men’s volleyball conference in the country featuring top National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I teams such as No. 1 University of California, Irvine, No. 2 Stanford University, No. 3 Brigham Young University, No. 4 Pepperdine University, No. 5 UCLA and many other top teams.

On Jan. 16, No. 14 CBU takes on No. 1 UCI looking to redeem their 0-3 loss to the Anteaters earlier this month at the University of California, Santa Barbara Asics Invitational in Santa Barbara, Calif.

Remembering UC Irvine with a bitter taste in their mouths, the men did have the satisfaction of defeating Loyola University-Chicago and No. 12 Lewis University 3-1 in the tournament.

Dominating complete play, juniors Connor Metcalfe, setter, and Michael Cate, libero, put in strong performances in Santa Barbara. Metcalfe had 45 assists against Lewis, and Cate had eight digs. Aaron McCalmont, senior outside hitter, led the team with a .529 hitting percentage and also added seven digs to go along with his 11 kills.

At the beginning of the season, the Lancers were ranked No. 15 in the American Volleyball Coaches Association/NCAA Division I-II poll and No. 10 in the MPSF preseason coaches’ poll. However, after their performance at the UCSB Asics Invitational, CBU has jumped to No. 14 in the most current AVCA/NCAA poll.

In their first season in the MPSF the Lancers will not be eligible for MPSF championship, they are ineligible until 2014. CBU is one of two NCAA Division II programs in the conference, along with University of California, San Diego.

Unseating the three-time national champion Anteaters will not be an easy task. The Lancers will need an on-point performance from senior opposite hitter, Levi Cabral. Cabral snagged the program’s all-time kill record at the beginning of the season.

Cabral already has 1,532 kills, with the rest of the season to keep racking up the numbers. Another generous contributor to the killing game is sophomore opposite hitter, Guilherme Koepp, who has led the team in kills in two of their three matches this season.

The Lancers have a chance to prove their place in an elite conference by gaining a victory over the defending champions UC Irvine at home.

The match begins in the Van Dyne Gym Jan. 16 at 7 p.m. Gates open at 6 p.m.

About Aarika Hernandez

Sports Editor

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