AZUSA, Calif. -- Head Coach Dave Blomquist has announced the 2011 Azusa Pacific men’s soccer schedule, which includes matchups with three teams that made appearances in last year’s NAIA National Championship.
Hosting the Cougar Classic for the fourth consecutive year, Azusa Pacific opens up the season Aug. 25 with an exhibition game against NCAA Div. II Pacific West Conference member Grand Canyon (Ariz.). Grand Canyon was 14-2-2 in 2010 before suffering a second-round loss in the NCAA Tournament. Grand Canyon and Azusa Pacific have split four previous meetings, although the programs last met in 1989.
In its second Cougar Classic matchup, Azusa Pacific hosts Oklahoma Baptist, which was ranked No. 14 in the final 2010 NAIA rankings and advanced into the second round of the NAIA Men’s Soccer National Championship. The Cougars are 2-0 all-time against the Bison, posting identical 4-2 wins in 2005 and 2006.
In mid-September, Azusa Pacific travels to the Midwest for games against St. Xavier (Ill.) and Bethel (Ind.), Sept. 15 and 17. Both opponents, along with Azusa Pacific, made 2010 NAIA National Championship Opening Round appearances last season. St. Xavier won last year’s Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference tournament while Bethel won the Mid-Central College Conference regular-season and conference tournament titles in 2010.
The Cougars wrap up the non-conference schedule with their only September home game, a Saturday, Sept. 24 matchup with NCAA Div. III independent UC Santa Cruz, which posted an 11-4-3 campaign in 2010 and has made NCAA Tournament appearances in 8 of the past 11 seasons.
Azusa Pacific’s 2011 GSAC opener is Saturday, Oct. 1, at home against Point Loma Nazarene, one of just four conference home games for the Cougars. Five GSAC games are on the road, including back-to-back visits to Biola (Oct. 15) and defending conference champion Vanguard (Oct. 19), which won all three meetings against the Cougars last season, including consecutive Saturday matchups in the GSAC Tournament title game and the NAIA National Championship Opening Round the very next weekend.
Azusa Pacific’s GSAC home games after the conference opener are against Westmont (Oct. 11), San Diego Christian (Oct. 22), and Concordia (Oct. 25). The Cougars wrap up the regular season with an Oct. 29 visit to Hope International in Fullerton, Calif.