October 1, 2023

It may not have an official name yet but a rivalry is starting to heat up.

The two universities may not compete in the same conference but California Baptist and the University of California, Riverside, are ready to battle in a fight for Riverside sports supremacy.

Out of the 13 sports in which both universities compete, there are only two sports — men’s golf and women’s soccer — that will not face off against each other in the 2018-19 season.

In head-to-head competition, Lancer teams are 20-115-3 all-time against the Highlanders entering this school year, according to CBU’s Athletics website.

However, new life was breathed in the rivalry in 2013, when the Lancers announced their transition to NCAA Division I competition, making the Highlanders no longer the lone DI school in the Inland Empire.

The first DI-era match- up occurred in men’s soccer, where the Highlanders snatched a thrilling 2-1 over- time victory Sept. 22.

If that match was any indication of how competitive the rest of the rivalry will be, fans of both schools are in for a treat.

Nowhere is this new competition more highly anticipated than on the basket- ball court. The Lancer men’s basketball team will make the trip across town Nov. 29 to take on the Highlanders.

The game will feature two mid-major programs whose coaches’ career paths have crossed in the past. CBU head men’s basketball coach Rick Croy and UC Riverside’s first-year coach Da- vid Patrick coached together at Saint Mary’s College of California.

“(The rivalry) will be a tradition every year that people will look forward to, and get to know the players and the student-athletes that are participating,” Croy said. “(The rivalry) will build something special for the kids that love basketball in the area and the families.”

With just over eight miles separating the two campuses, the rivalry is tailor-made for success. Not only will this make each competition similar to a neutral-site event but will allow local sports fans to see the best of Inland Empire athletics in one place.

Additionally, as the two schools vie for local talent and recruit on the same turf, each matchup will be a chance for one program to gain an edge over the other in the eyes of the Inland Empire’s high school talent pool.

If nothing else, two DI institutions squaring o in a city that many legendary athletes have called home is sure to be entertain- ing. Whether it’s “R’s Up” or “Lance Up,” fasten your seat belts for this yet-to-be-named cross-town show-down in Riverside.

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