LOS ANGELES —The Occidental spring sports teams announced their 2012 preseason and SCIAC schedules this past week. Baseball, women's water polo, women's lacrosse, softball, and the men's and women's tennis, track and field, and golf teams all face competitive non-conference opponents before commencing SCIAC regular season play.
The Tigers will open the 2012 season against La Sierra University for a pair of games at Anderson Field on Jan. 29. The Tigers then host both Whitworth College (Feb 3-4) and Austin College (Feb. 11-12) for a series of games to close out their preseason schedule.
"I am very excited about our 2012 schedule," Oxy coach Luke Wetmore said, now in his first year at the helm after serving as the team's hitting coach for the past three years.
"We open up with eight non-conference games, all against regional opponents, which will be a great tune up for a very tough conference schedule."
Wetmore believes Austin College in particular will help prepare the Tigers for league play.
"It will be a competitive series, and will be the perfect lead-in to conference play against Redlands, the defending conference champions," Wetmore said. "Following Redlands we have La Verne and Pomona. Those are three tough teams and we will need to be diligent in our preparation to be ready for them. I expect to be competitive."
The men's and women's golf teams will be hosting the SCIAC championships near the end of April.
After completing the fall portion of their season at the CMS Co-Ed Invitational, both teams gave a strong effort, as the men finished fifth and the women finished seventh.
Though the men's team struggled with consistency and the women's team is embarking on just its second season as a full scoring team, both squads look ahead for improvement as the SCIAC championships await.
The men's tennis team will host nine non-conference preseason games, almost all against ranked opponents, beginning with the 2012 season opener against Brandeis University on Feb. 20. The Judges are currently ranked No. 24 in the nation and No. 7 in the Northeast region by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association Men's Division III poll.
The Tigers host Swarthmore (No. 9 in the Atlantic South region) on March 4, Vassar College (No. 11 in the Northeast) on March 6, Wabash on March 7, Haverford College (No 14 in the Atlantic South) on March 8, Christopher Newport (No. 10 in the Atlantic South) on March 9, Salisbury (No. 11 in the Atlantic South) on March 22, University of Puget Sound on March 23, and Pacific Lutheran University on March 25.
"We have put together a fantastic pre-season schedule," said head coach Brian Newhall, returning this year to lead the Tigers after having previously coached the men's team for eight seasons (beginning in 1987) as the most accomplished tennis coach in Occidental history.
"The goal was to play as many nationally ranked teams as possible. We will have a chance to be competitive against these types of teams, and a win will put us on the map. We are a program on the move."
These games will challenge the Tigers before they play against tough SCIAC teams, including nationally No. 5 Claremont-Mudd-Scripps, No. 8 Pomona-Pitzer, No. 15 Redlands, and No. 20 Lutheran.
The Occidental softball team will host pacific-northwest opponent George Fox University on Feb. 9 at Bell Field to get the 2012 season underway.
The Tigers face an array of non-conference opponents at home, including Hamline College (Feb. 16), La Sierra University (Feb. 17), Patten University (Feb. 26), and the University of Puget Sound (March 13).
Oxy looks to build off the momentum from last season, in which the Tigers compiled the most wins in a season since the softball program was established in 1986, finishing with a record of 18-20.
Track and Field
The men's and women's track teams, both led by Head Coach Robert Bartlett, embark on the 2012 season on the road at the Pomona-Pitzer All Corners on Feb. 18. They then travel to Claremont-Mudd-Scripps for the Rossi Relays (Feb. 25) before heading to the SCIAC Multi-Dual 1 at La Verne (Mar. 3).
On March 16t, Oxy returns to campus to host both the Dual Meet with Pomona Pitzer and the Distance Carnival. The Tigers will then compete at the SCIAC Multi-Dual 2 at Whittier College (Mar. 24). To close out the regular season, the teams will participate in the Cal-Nevada Championships (March 31- April 1), the SCIAC Multi-Dual 3 (April 7), and the Pomona-Pitzer Invitational (April 14).
Coach Bartlett is looking forward to the SCIAC and NCAA DIII Championships.
"Those two meets are our focus. We also want to improve our team positions in the SCIAC from last year," Bartlett said. "If everyone commits to bettering themselves and coming together as a group we'll have a successful season."
The Oxy women's tennis team brings two nationally ranked opponents to campus: No. 26 Vassar College and No. 30 Brandeis University, according to the Intercollegiate Tennis Association Women's Division III poll.
The Tigers will close out their preseason schedule with five home games: Hope International (Feb. 17), Bates (Feb. 19), Kenyon (March 5), Kalamazoo (March 21), and Pacific Lutheran University (March 28). The team will also head out to the Master's College (Feb. 11) and to Biola University (March 2) before beginning SCIAC play.
As is the case for men's tennis, the SCIAC is a hotbed for nationally ranked women's tennis as well. The Tigers face No. 7 Claremont-Mudd-Scripps, No. 9 Pomona-Pitzer, and No. 28 Redlands.
With Head Coach Jeffrey Normile returning to the Tigers after having coached the men's team (1995-97) and the women's team through 1999, the Tigers are ready for the challenge.
Last year's Co-SCIAC champions are back at it again. As the 2012 season looms, the women's water polo team is ranked No. 3 nationally in the Collegiate Water Polo Association Pre-Season Coaches Poll.
The Tigers will host Azusa Pacifica University and Cal State San Bernardino on Feb. 11 to kick off their first Triple Play tournament.
With multiple tournaments lined up soon thereafter, including the Lancer Invitational, Chapman Classic, CLU-Posada Royal Invitational, and the CSUN-Mini Tournament, Oxy looks to carry the momentum from last year's record season.
After the women's lacrosse team earned a berth to the SCIAC conference tournament for the first time and saw five players make the All-SCIAC squad last season in just the program's second year, the Tigers are ready to go even farther this season.
Oxy fans can catch nine of their first ten games at home, beginning against SCIAC opponents Redlands (Feb. 15), CMS (Feb. 22), and Whittier (Mar. 3) before the Tigers take on non-conference opponents in a challenging home stretch.
The team will face off against Adrian (Feb. 27), Fort Lewis (Mar. 8), University of Puget Sound (Mar. 13), Goucher (Md.; Mar. 14), North Central (Ill.; Mar. 20) and Allegheny (Mar. 22).