Commissioner's Corner - September 2012
NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. - A new era for the PacWest officially begins this week. With 14 members, we are now the largest NCAA Division II conference in the West Region. That’s an amazing statement, considering that we had just five members only a half dozen years ago.
The addition of Azusa Pacific, Fresno Pacific, Holy Names and Point Loma to our conference schedule has made all of our sports more competitive. This week the 2012-13 conference fall seasons begin to play out. The first contest is set for Sept. 11 with a women’s volleyball match between Azusa Pacific and last year’s Commissioner’s Cup winner California Baptist. It will be the first PacWest Conference contest ever in Azusa.
Two days later on Sept. 13, the conference men’s and women’s soccer season begins with matches in northern and central California. Fresno Pacific plays its first home PacWest contest when it hosts defending PacWest Champion California Baptist (CBU won the women’s soccer title outright, while finishing as co-champs in men’s soccer); Holy Names plays its first home conference contest when it takes on newcomer Point Loma; and APU will travel to San Francisco to battle Academy of Art.
It’s exciting to see all four of the new schools involved in the opening week of competition.
Other key contests in fall sports this week include defending women’s volleyball champion BYU-Hawaii at home against longtime-rival Chaminade on Saturday night, Sept. 15. Earlier that day, Hawai‘i Hilo hosts Hawai‘i Pacific. Also in the islands, the Hawai‘i Hilo men’s and women’s soccer teams will be on Oahu to take on HPU on Saturday - HPU is the reigning men’s soccer co-champion - followed by contests at Chaminade on Monday.
If that’s not enough, the powerhouse soccer teams from Grand Canyon and Dixie State will be headed to central and northern California, too. Grand Canyon faces FPU on Saturday while Dixie is at Notre Dame de Namur. Also on Saturday, Dominican hosts its first-ever conference match at its beautiful brand new soccer field in San Rafael when it takes on APU.
In women’s volleyball, many eyes will be on Phoenix where Grand Canyon, which blazed through the preseason unbeaten, takes on powerful Fresno Pacific Saturday night. Other key volleyball contests this week will be held in the Bay Area as all four schools - Academy of Art, Dominican, Holy Names and Notre Dame de Namur - have home contests on either Thursday night or Saturday night.
In Southern California, Azusa Pacific takes on Point Loma on Saturday, while Dixie State also has a non-conference home match against FPU on Thursday night.
The thrilling volleyball and soccer seasons go at this frantic pace for two straight months before wrapping up in November. Just before then, on the final Saturday of October, the island of Oahu will be the site of the 2012 PacWest men’s and women’s cross country championships. Hawai‘i Pacific will host that premier event in Kahuku, followed by the NCAA West Regionals the following weekend.
From Hawai‘i and California to Arizona and Utah, the PacWest is not only the most beautiful destination conference in NCAA Division II, but it is now defining itself as one of the most competitive.
You can follow the results all season long at www.thepacwest.com.
See you at the games!
Commissioner Bob Hogue