RIVERSIDE --- Two-time defending Pacific West Conference Champion California Baptist University will get plenty of preparation as it prepares to defend its conference title.
Head Coach Kristen St. Clair has released the Lancers’ 2013 slate, a challenging one as CBU competes for its third straight conference title and a possible spot in the NCAA National Championship field.
CBU will hear in mid-July if it has successfully completed the three-year membership process to NCAA Division II and thus be eligible for NCAA postseason for the first time.
"Our 2013 schedule is one of the strongest and most challenging we’ve ever had,” said St. Clair, who is 97-25-8 in six seasons in Riverside. “We begin with a strong non-conference schedule against some the best ranked teams regionally, which will help us prepare for a challenging PacWest schedule. We will be facing good teams every week in the PacWest. Our goal every year is to compete for the PacWest and NCAA National Championship and our 2013 schedule will certainly help prepare us for that."
The combined record from last year of CBU’s non-conference opponents is 55-35-5.
Right from the opening whistle, the Lancers will be road tested as they begin a three-game trek to Northern California to face a trio of in-region teams from the California Collegiate Athletic Conference. The season kicks off Thursday (Sept. 5) at Chico State and continues Saturday (Sept. 7) at Cal State Stanislaus and Tuesday (Sept. 10) at Sonoma State.
Sonoma State (16-3-2) was the CCAA Champion and No. 1-ranked team in the West Region last year before getting upset in the second round of the NCAA Tournament by the fifth seed in the region Western Washington. Cal State Stanislaus (15-4-0) was ranked fifth in the West Region, narrowly missing out on a national tournament berth.
CBU’s home opener is a non-conference date with Division III Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Saturday (Sept. 14). From there, the Lancers hit the road again on another NorCal trip to open PacWest play at Academy of Art, Holy Names and Fresno Pacific, making six of the first seven games of the year on the road.
The Lancers will host BYU-Hawaii (Sept. 28), UH-Hilo (Sept. 30), Hawaii Pacific (Oct. 3) and Chaminade (Oct. 8) in addition to hosting back-to-back games against Dixie State Nov. 7 and 9. The Nov. 7 game with Dixie State is a non-conference game.
Other conference road games include Point Loma (Oct. 19), Dominican (Oct. 24), Notre Dame de Namur (Oct. 26) and Azusa Pacific (Nov. 2).
Last year the Lancers tied a school record with an 18-2-1 record, winning both the PacWest Conference and NCCAA National Championship for the second straight year. They return 19 players from last year's team, including PacWest and NCCAA National Player of the Year Bernadette Witz and PacWest Goalkeeper of the Year Rosie Nakata.