NDNU, Grand Canyon, HPU and Azusa Pacific battling atop men’s soccer standings
NEWPORT BEACH, Calif - As the third week of conference action gets underway, four teams are clamoring atop the Pacific West Conference men's soccer standings.
Notre Dame de Namur, which jumped to 14th in the latest NSCAA/Continental Tire NCAA Division II Men's National Poll, has accumulated 10 points on a 3-0-1 record, while Hawai'i Pacific, Grand Canyon and Azusa Pacific all are 3-1 and tied for second with nine points.
The Argonauts had an impressive week after downing then 8th-ranked Grand Canyon 3-1 at home on Sept. 17 and edging Point Loma 1-0 on the road in San Diego on Sept. 22. Two goals by Jesus Gonzalez, including an impressive 35-yard kick, were the difference in the Argonauts win against the visiting Antelopes in the early week contest.
But conference road games are the most challenging and the Argonauts found out first hand after battling to a 1-1 double-overtime draw at Hawai'i Hilo (0-3-1 PacWest) on Tuesday, Sept. 25. It marked the Vulcans first conference point of the season.
Meanwhile, HPU won its third straight match against island rivals last week, downing BYU-Hawaii 3-1 and Chaminade 4-1 to remain unbeaten at 3-0 in league play. The Sea Warriors' Daniel Haehre has scored goals in all three of HPU's conference victories this year.
Despite its loss at NDNU, Grand Canyon had a big week on its Northern California swing, earning a 2-1 hard-fought win at Holy Names on Sept. 20 and an impressive 4-1 victory over Academy of Art on Sept. 22. The Antelopes won three of four on their longest road trip of the season.
Another huge contest had Azusa Pacific edging defending conference co-champion California Baptist 3-2 under the Friday night lights in Azusa. Oktay Bulut had two goals for the Cougars. CBU is 2-1 on the conference season, while APU moved to 3-1 in the league after beating PLNU 3-1 on Sept. 25.
Dominican continued its outstanding season with a 2-0 win over visiting Dixie State on Sept. 17 and a 5-0 blanking of Cal State Maritime on Sept. 22. On Tuesday, Sept. 25, the Penguins rallied for a 4-3 victory at Holy Names, improving its PacWest record to 2-1 and its overall mark to 6-1.
There are a number of key contests this week. NDNU has a big week in the islands with games at Chaminade and BYU-Hawaii on Thursday, Sept. 27, and Saturday, Sept. 29, respectively, while HPU hosts Fresno Pacific on Sept. 27.
Dominican takes on Academy of Art on Thursday, Sept. 27.
Then, in one of the biggest match-ups of the week, Azusa Pacific travels to Phoenix to battle Grand Canyon on Saturday, Sept. 29.