The Sacramento State soccer team will join the Big West for the 2012 season.
SACRAMENTO, Calif. – The Sacramento State men’s soccer team will join the Big West Conference starting with the 2012 season, the league and Sacramento State athletics director Terry Wanless announced on Tuesday.
"We are very excited to make this move," Wanless said. "The Big West is a strong men's soccer league and allows us to renew rivalries against regional competition."
Sacramento State’s addition to the Big West, which is based in Irvine, Calif., gives the league eight men’s soccer programs and allows it to split into two four-team divisions.
Sacramento State will join UC Davis, UC Santa Barbara and Cal Poly in the Northern Division while UC Irvine, UC Riverside, Cal State Northridge and Cal State Fullerton will make up the Southern Division.
Teams will play their division foes both home and away every season while taking on each of the opposite division teams once – two at home and two on the road.
Last season the Hornets went 2-0 against Big West competition, defeating UC Davis, 2-1, and knocking off then No. 10 ranked UC Irvine, 2-0.
The Hornets are currently a member of the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation for men’s soccer and will be playing their 20th and last season in the conference this year.
Head coach Michael Linenberger
’s squad has won the MPSF Tournament the past two seasons and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament each of the last two years as well.
"This move makes a ton of sense for us both competitively and financially," Linenberger said. "We have had a lot of success in recent seasons and look forward to the challenge of playing in the Big West."
Sacramento State, Cal State Bakersfield and San Jose State are the only California schools in the eight-team MPSF for men’s soccer. All members of the Big West are located in the Golden State.
Linenberger has experience with conference change – he was a co-head coach of Sacramento State in 1991 when the Hornets transitioned from Div. II to Div. I independents. Sacramento State joined the newly formed MPSF in 1992.
Sacramento State will get an early look at some new conference foes this season, with UC Riverside, UC Davis and UC Santa Barbara on the 2011 schedule. The Hornets open the year on Aug. 27 at Loyola Marymount.