Sports at PLNU have taken off this year as the transition into division two has begun. Soccer dominated the PacWest Conference, basketball topped the number one team in the nation and baseball is now gearing up to sweep their opponents.
The season looks bright for the Sea Lions. They have 18 returners and brought in 16 new players who have the potential to bring that competitive edge that was otherwise lacking in previous seasons.
“I think we have a talented team, and I think we can compete at a high level,” said Head Coach Joe Schaefer. “We play a pretty tough schedule this year, so every game is going to be close. But if we can keep getting better each week, we should have a pretty good shot at a conference title.”
Senior outfielder Trey Hunt said he is confident in the new players’ abilities.
“With the core veterans that we have and a few plug in transfers, we should have no problem competing at a high level,” said Hunt. “If our young pitchers can keep their composure like we know they are capable of doing, we will be fine.”
Senior catcher Anthony Torres agreed with Hunt, and said the team’s consistent pitching and better hitting will better the team this season.
“As long as everyone stays healthy, we should have a good year,” Torres said.
Ryan Garcia, a sophomore first baseman, had his season cut short last year due to a tear in his labrum, a type of cartilage found in the shoulder joint, in the middle of the season. Coming off this injury, he entered into this season with a new work ethic and a more serious attitude.
“It was really difficult to sit back and watch my team play knowing that I couldn’t be out there to help them last season during the stretch run,” Garcia said. “I can’t wait to be back on the field competing with my teammates.”
The 2015 Preseason Pacwest Poll projected the Sea Lions to finish in sixth in the conference behind rivals Cal Baptist and Azusa Pacific.
“If anything, it makes us want it more,” Garcia said. “We have nothing to lose and everything to gain. We will show everyone who voted against us why they made a mistake.”
Their season opener is Feb. 5 against Western Oregon here at PLNU.