Three PLNU Teams Clinch PacWest Conference Titles

Men's soccer wins its first conference title. Photo courtesy of PLNU Athletics.

Saturday, Nov. 11, was a historic day for the Point Loma Nazarene University Sea Lions as men’s soccer, women’s soccer and volleyball all clinched PacWest Conference titles.

The men’s soccer team had already secured a share of the title by maintaining their undefeated streak at home with their 0-0 tie against PacWest newcomer Westmont College on Wednesday, Nov. 8. 

Fourth-year defender Milan Diklic said although it wasn’t the win the team hoped for, the team still felt accomplished.

“This game wasn’t perfect,” said Diklic. “It’s not exactly what we wanted, but it feels great having a result that is satisfying for us to clinch.”

However, due to how the standings played out, the Sea Lions got one more chance in their regular season closer on Saturday to get the outcome they did want, and they took advantage of it.

The men scored the one goal they lacked in their game against Westmont, and it was enough to do the job. The Sea Lions beat Fresno Pacific University (FPU) 1-0 to secure sole possession of their first PacWest Conference title.

PLNU men’s soccer will now move on to the NCAA Super Region 4 tournament to start postseason play.

“Everyone on the field is going to have to be even better than we are doing right now,” said Diklic.

Just a few hours after the men clinched their title, the women joined in on the celebration by winning their fourth PacWest title in five years. Although success has been common for the women’s program in recent years, fourth-year defender Emma Thrapp said this title stands apart.

“This conference win is super special to this team,” said Thrapp. “It especially means a lot to this senior class [those who started college in 2020] because this is the first outright conference win we have ever had.”

Heading into the week of Nov. 6, the women had to win both of their remaining two matches to finish alone at the top of the conference, and they left no room for doubts.

The Sea Lions kept their home-field undefeated streak alive with a dominant 4-0 win over Westmont on Wednesday, Nov. 8, then clinched the outright conference title in similar fashion by defeating FPU 5-1.

PLNU women’s soccer will now head to the NCAA West Regional tournament.

“This season showed a lot of ups and downs, and we showed persistence and determination,” said Thrapp. “We are so excited and are ready for postseason.”

Moving from the field to the court, volleyball has clinched a share of its first PacWest title with its 3-1 win over Westmont on Saturday.

“I am just so proud of this team,” said fifth-year middle blocker Grace Hicks. “This team is truly something special.”

Prior to their match on Saturday, the Sea Lions suffered their first PacWest loss, snapping their 16-game winning streak, the longest in the team’s NCAA history and one away from the all-time program record.

The success the team had been experiencing, followed by a loss in a high-stakes game with the conference title on the line, and then a bounce-back win was a rollercoaster of emotions. The Sea Lions got the job done.

“There is the widest array of emotions to win this title in the way that we did,” said Hicks.

The team still has a chance to claim sole possession of the conference title as long as they win one of their final two regular-season matches. The team’s first shot to do this is Thursday, Nov. 16, versus Azusa Pacific University.

However, whether co-champs or sole-champs, PLNU volleyball will make an appearance in the postseason as the team has already earned an automatic berth into the NCAA West Regional.