California Baptist University’s women’s soccer team went 12-5-1 in its inaugural Division I season, notching the highest win total for the program since 2013. This season, the Lancers are headed in the right direction once again.
At 5-2-1, CBU is testing itself with a challenging nonconference schedule as it prepares for the Western Athletic Conference portion of its season. The Lancers went 4-4 in conference play last season and were picked to finish seventh in the WAC preseason coaches’ poll.
Head Coach Kristen St. Clair enters her 13th season as the head coach, leading CBU through NAIA competition, on to Division II and now into DI.
“We are really excited,” St. Clair said. “We have a special team working hard, but we are very young so there will be some learning curves.”
For Ari Coronado, sophomore kinesiology major and forward, being a returner and getting set to enter the team’s second year in the WAC has given the Lancers momentum.
“Starting the season off with high intensity and determination has definitely helped us get three wins to start our season,” Coronado said. “We have a team that is willing to put in the extra work and help guide our new players to understand our motto, which is designed to go far.”
Rola Badawiya, junior communication studies major and forward, played two seasons at California State University, Long Beach, before transferring to CBU and the city where she went to high school.
“This year’s team is something special and I am so glad I decided to come back close to home and represent the city I grew up in,” Badawiya said. “We have had some highs and lows, but mostly highs, and I’m excited to see what’s to come.”
CBU lost just one nonconference game last season, but split their eight matches in the WAC. This year, the Lancers are looking to carry nonconference success into the conference portion of their schedule.
“The nonconference games we have been playing have definitely prepared us for the conference games coming up by teaching us how to be composed and when to fight when we need to,” Badawiya said.
Despite having seven seniors on the roster, the team is made up mostly of underclassmen. The Lancers also added some important transfers this season. St. Clair said the older athletes and returners have been instrumental in the team’s growth.
“Our special upperclassmen have done a good job demonstrating what it means to be a CBU Lancer in how they carry themselves and approach the game, their prep and their education,” St. Clair said. “They have done a tremendous job of helping the underclassmen develop and come along.”
After a 2-0 win over the University of Idaho, the Lancers turn their attention to a home match against California Polytechnic State University as they enter the final week of nonconference. CBU’s first WAC matchup will be Oct. 4 on the road against California State University, Bakersfield.