RIVERSIDE, Calif. --- Three. Two. One.
Three months comes down to two games on one day. And at the end of the final day of the regular season, California Baptist University could be history writers.
No institution in the Pacific West Conference has ever swept the men's and women's soccer championships, and with at least one win Saturday at home against Dixie State in the regular-season finale, the Lancers can be the first.
For the Lancer women, Saturday's game will be their victory lap.
By virtue of Dixie State's 1-1 draw with Grand Canyon last night, CBU clinched the PacWest title outright. They cannot be caught.
After several near-misses in 20 seasons in the Golden State Athletic Conference, including three straight second place finishes from 2007-09, the Lancers have won the PacWest title in their first year in the NCAA Division II conference. They clinched a share of the title with a 4-1 win at Grand Canyon last Saturday. The Antelopes finished second with their draw last night and because the Lancers aren't eligible for the NCAA postseason while they transition in, GCU earns the PacWest automatic qualifier.
"This was one of our goals," said CBU Head Coach Kristen St. Clair. "The girls worked hard to achieve this championship, and I'm proud of the way they performed all year. It's something they wanted really badly, and they made it happen with their effort on the field."
Meanwhile, on the men's side, the formula is simple.
A win over Dixie State, and the Lancers (12-5, 9-2 PacWest, 27 points) earn a share of the PacWest title in their first season. Hawaii Pacific is currently 10-2 (30 points) and sitting in first place all alone but has no more games left on its schedule. With a three-point victory tomorrow against a team that beat them 2-1 back on Oct. 1 in St. George, Utah, the Lancers catch HPU.
In 1990, CBU won a share of the GSAC title, but in every season since then, CBU has never finished better than a tie for third until last year when they were second, losing the GSAC title on the final day of the regular season with a loss at Concordia.
"We set a team goal to win the conference, and now we have the opportunity at home in the final game of the year. That's exciting," said CBU Head Coach Ryan Jorden, who is on the cusp of his first conference title in his fourth year at the helm. "Hopefully, we can do what we need to do. The guys have risen to every challenge that has been put before them this year, and this is another challenge for them."
For both teams, it's been quite an introduction into the PacWest, and indeed, it could be one for the record books.