by Darla Martin Tucker

Excitement exploded on the field and ricocheted almost immediately around social media on April 11—the La Sierra University Golden Eagles women’s soccer team had won the title against No. 1 seed UC Merced Bobcats, their first championship since the program’s inception at La Sierra in 2016.

“The two teams did not disappoint as they battled for 90 minutes in heavyweight championship style, with the Golden Eagles coming out on top 1-0 to earn the program’s first Cal Pac title,” declared a press release following the team’s win to sit atop the California Pacific Conference. It is one of 21 member conferences in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics, or NAIA.

“To bring the first championship [to the home field], …it was surreal. It was great,” commented Golden Eagles Women’s Soccer Head Coach David Trevino, noting last year’s near win against the same contender. He has led and built the team since its beginning. “A night I will probably never forget,” he said.

Seniors Marisol Bravo, defender, and Mariah Anaya, midfielder, recalled the exhilaration of the moment which they attributed in part to a strong group of freshmen players. The two players were recruited four years ago by Trevino, a La Sierra business management alumnus and former men’s soccer captain.

“It was four years of just battling through a bunch of teams, just trying to get our name out there,” Bravo said. “Everyone was crying, I was crying for sure. It was a really nice moment, it was exciting.”

The conference win propelled the team to opening rounds of nationals in Santa Barbara, Calif. where on April 15 they lost by one point to the Westmont College Mountaineers. Their appearance was a memorable achievement given the significant challenges posed by the brutal Covid-19 pandemic and reflects the drive and determination of student-athletes and coaches, and the dedication of the university’s athletics program and its supporters who worked hard to ensure students had opportunities and motivation to pursue their goals.