La Sierra University now has two top-25 sports teams. On September 14, its men’s soccer team was ranked 24th in the nation by the National Intercollegiate Athletic Association. It is the school’s first national placement. “The team was really excited about it,” said Dakota Shelton, a freshman history major who plays center defense. “We were excited that our hard work is paying off.”
The NAIA, which La Sierra joined last year, has nearly 300 college and university members across the United States and Canada. La Sierra completed a provisional year before being granted full NAIA member status this school year.
As a fledgling NAIA member, the university is getting off to a strong start. New recruits for the soccer, volleyball, and men’s and women’s basketball teams are expected to help propel all teams toward greater successes.
The soccer team charged ahead to the NAIA independent playoffs in Georgia, while the volleyball team made La Sierra history by qualifying for the national championship tournament. The volleyball team also made the NAIA’s national top 25 poll this fall.
Meanwhile, La Sierra’s basketball teams, which finished last season with record performances and a first conference championship, are looking forward to even stronger placements this year. Both men’s and women’s teams have recruited key players. The men’s team recruited 12 players with waiting-list hopefuls playing on a junior varsity squad.
“We are looking forward to a fabulous season with definite playoff possi- bilities,” said Golden Eagles women’s basketball head coach Eric Thorson. “We will be playing 11 teams that finished last season ranked in the top 25 in the nation. We will also be playing four NCAA Division II teams, including home games against California State University-San Bernardino and California State University-Dominguez Hills. This year promises to be exciting and full of surprises,” he said.