Is the SCIAC up for grabs now?

The way the University of Redlands football team played for two weeks, it wouldn’t be going out on a limb to say the Bulldogs were the heavy favorite to win a SCIAC championship.

As always Occidental looked like the stiffest competition with Cal Lutheran the other possible stumbling block. But Redlands has both those games at home.

Now comes word that quarterback Dan Selway is out with a broken foot. Hmmmmm! Things just got a lot more interesting.

Injuries are never good, especially one of that magnitude. But the Bulldogs still have some things in their favor. First, Selway was injured in the game against Whitworth on Sept. 20. The Bulldogs were idle last week so understudy Steve Smith will have two full weeks to get ready.

Second, Smith is not a newcomer. He played in each of the first two games, although it was in a mop-up role. He also played the second half of the playoff game last year at St. John’s (Minn.) when Selway was sidelined by a shoulder injury. There is no bigger stage than that one and Smith performed admirably.

Third, the Bulldogs get La Verne first. While the Leopards look to be much-improved, they are probably still at least a year away from seriously challenging for a conference title. This should be a good game for Smith to get his feet wet.

Oxy is up after that. But let’s see how the Bulldogs do this week without Selway for the first time.

Did the Bulldogs lofty hopes go down with Selway? Probably not. The Bulldogs have enough left to contend. They just have a little less room for error.

Panthers try and rebound from first loss

For three weeks the Chaffey football team found a way to compete despite all its injuries. It helped that all those games were against lower-tier teams.

The Panthers weren’t so lucky this week, losing to former Foothill Conference foe Grossmont 51-16.

“We did it with smoke and mirrors I think,” veteran coach Carl Beach said. “Those games were ones where we weren’t physically challenged. We were beating teams we should beat but we don’t have any more easy ones the rest of the way.”

The Panthers (3-1) begin National Division Central Conference play next week. Grossmont is an upper-tier team, but is in the Southern Conference.

The biggest problems for the Panthers in the loss to the Griffins were special teams and turnovers. Beach spent most of Sunday watching tape of his next foe but will also be breaking down the film of his team’s game to see where the problems occurred.

He didn’t count out making personnel changes, including using some starters on special teams.

“You hate having to use starters there but we may not have a choice,” he said. “You have to look and see who’s killing you and get him out of there.”

Then there were the turnovers — four interceptions and two fumbles to be exact.

Beach used three quarterbacks, with starter Greg Sprowls throwing for 116 yards on 11 completions but tossing three interceptions. Backup A.J. Springer made a cameo appearance, followed by Mike Stirewalt, who threw the fourth interception with the game already out of hand.

The Panthers trailed 21-0 after the first quarter and were down 37-0 before they finally scored. The large deficit also hurt because they had to go away from their game plan of running the ball. Mark Chase has been the most consistent weapon but had 75 yards on just nine carries.

Beach said Grossmont took the game more seriously.

“They were up for us. It has been a rivalry when we were in the same conference but our kids could have cared less,” he said.

“I’m thinking about cutting our practices from three hours to a half hour with a 15-minute ice cream break thrown in. We’d get the same amount of work done and everyone would be a lot happier.”

Redlands quarterback out with broken foot

University of Redlands junior quarterback Dan Selway, the reigning SCIAC Offensive Player of the Year, will not play in next week’s conference opener at La Verne.

Selway sustained a broken foot late in the first half last week against Whitworth (Wash.) yet still played in the second half. An X-ray later revealed the extent of the injury.

Selway threw for 489 yards (46-for-63) and five touchdowns in the first two games. He threw for 2,429 yards and 22 touchdowns in leading the Bulldogs to a SCIAC title in 2007.

He will be replaced by junior Steve Smith, who saw action in both the first two games. While his time in those games came in mop-up duty, Smith has played in pressure situations. He entered in the second half of last year’s playoff game at St. John’s with Selway out with a shoulder injury and completed 12 of 16 passes for 93 yards.

“It hurts to lose Dan but we have the utmost confidence in Steve,” Bulldogs coach Mike Maynard said. “He has been here and knows the offense and he has good players around him.”

Selway also did the punting and will be repalce there by true freshman Wes Norris.

The Bulldogs are ranked in three national polls, the highest being a No. 19 by the American Football Coaches Association.

Leopards lose home opener 44-0

University of La Verne football coach Andy Ankeny wanted to challenge his team. So instead of scheduling a cream puff or two for nonconference games, he thought big.

The Leopards lost their opener two weeks ago to Northwest Conference champion Whitworth (Wash.). Saturday they faced No. 25 Willamette, another team from that conference. The result was a 44-0 loss Saturday afternoon at Ortmayer Stadium.

The second-year coach doesn’t regret that strategy, even though his team is coming off a 1-8 showing in 2007.

“I want to see where we are as a program,” he said. “It’s not about where we are Monday when we’re getting ready for Redlands. It’s about what we want our program to look like long term.”

The game got away from the Leopards (0-2) in the third quarter. They only trailed 14-0 at the half with an interception by La Verne’s Taylor Hart in the end zone on the last play of the half preventing another Bearcats score.

But the Leopards got off to a slow start and were forced to punt from deep in their own territory on their first possession in the second half. Jason Carpenter’s punt was blocked by Harmon Bruno and went out of the end zone for a safety, making it 16-0.

The Bearcats (4-0) set up at the 41 after Jose Green returned the free kick. The visitors capitalized on the next play as Deon Horne raced the distance for a touchdown on the first play from scrimmage to extend the lead to 23-0.

The Leopards were not in striking distance again.

Willliamette, located in Salem, Ore., put up 21 more points in the final quarter. It was headed for more with the ball in the closing minute at the La Verne 16 but coach Mark Speckman had his quarterback take a knee.

Willamette tallied 506 yards offense, 329 of that coming on the ground. Horne rushed for 129 to lead that effort.

La Verne managed 216 with 149 of that coming through the air. The Leopards rushed for only 67 yards on 39 tries. Their running game struggled last week as well.

Special teams were also a problem with two punts blocked.

Hart led the derfense with nine tackles, the interceptions and a pass breakup. Carpenter had six tackles .

It won’t get any easier next week as Redlands (2-0), ranked in three national polls the highest being a No. 19, comes in for a 1 p.m. game that will be the first in SCIAC play for both.

“I believe we’re a better team than what we showed today,” Ankeny said. “They outperformed us in every area and played with a greater sense of urgency. I really don’t want to have that many more of these teaching moments.”

Cal State volleyball team might need to lose

It’s hard to run the table – in any sport. The USC football team found that out Thursday night.

So here sits the Cal State volleyball team at 12-0. Like the Trojans, the Coyotes are No. 1 in the country in their sport. The Coyotes have not been forced to five sets yet and have given up just four games in 12 matches.

The Coyotes trek down to UC San Diego tonight for a showdown with their bitter rival. They then return home on Saturday to face NAIA power Cal Baptist. That’s a tough back-to-back.

UC San Diego might be the easiest of the two just because it is the first. And its a conference match so it is more important. The Coyotes will have no trouble getting up for that match in the typically hostile environment.

It will be interesting to see how they come out the next night against the Lancers. A loss wouldn’t be a bad thing. It’s a nonconference match and its an NAIA foe so it likely wouldn’t even hurt their national ranking.

A loss also lets the team know it is not invincible. Teams always get hungrier after being dealt a loss. And better now than later when it really matters!

SBVC and Victor Valley get set for conference opener

The San Bernardino Valley College and Victor Valley College football teams were beat up and abused by foes from the stronger National Division for the last three weeks.

Now they get to take on opponents in the same boat. The two open American Division Mountain Conference play against each other at 1 p.m. in Victorville Saturday.

That means one team will stop the bleeding while the other will continue its freefall.

Both SBVC coach Pat Meech and Victor Valley coach Dave Hoover have been critical of the new scheduling and conference alignments that have the perceived weaker teams playing the power teams first in nonconference.

Overall the weaker teams went a cumulative of 6-42 against the big boys. The Rams are coming off a 73-13 shellacking by Mt. SAC while the Wolverines were thumped by Saddleback 69-14.

“It’s like going out and playing USC every week when you’re San Jose,” Meech said. “You don’t stand much of a chance.”

“I don’t see what good it does anyone,” adds Hoover. “We didn’t benefit by playing those teams and they certainly didn’t get better by playing us.”

Victor Valley started its season by playing Riverside, Palomar and Mt. SAC – teams ranked 25th, 11th and first in the state respectively.

SBVC also played Riverside but also faced No. 14 Desert and No. 17 Saddleback.
The Rams were more competitive, at least staying close for a half in their first two games.

SBVC has been manhandled by a cumulative score of 154-41 with most of its points coming at garbage time. It also has a losing streak of eight games that includes the last five games of 2007.

“We’re definitely in need of something positive to build on,” Meech said. “But I can’t fault the effort. Our guys are showing up every single day and working hard. They just haven’t had much to show for it.”

The plight of the teams shows up in the statistics columns. In scoring offense Victor ranks 27th (14.7 ppg) while SBVC is 28th (13.7) of 37 teams. In scoring defense the Rams are 34th (47 ppg) while SBVC is 36th (51.3 ppg).

The Rams are a lofty sixth in passing offense (254.9 ypg) thanks to the effort of freshman quarterback O’Ryan Bradley but are just 29th in rushing (72.3 ypg).

SBVC is 27th in passing (158.7) and 35th in rushing (20.7).

The two teams are close defensively with the Rams 29th against the run (217.7) and 17th against the pass (195.3) while the Wolverines are 35th against the run (268.7) and 18th against the pass (198.3)

“In the past to win our conference you had to go undefeated so losing the first game really puts you behind the eight-ball,” Hoover said. “It’s a little different now. No one knows how this is going to play out but both of us really need a win.”

It is a relatively light schedule for the local colleges. Chaffey (3-0) heads to Grossmont (1-2) for a 1 p.m. contest against the former Foothill Conference juggernaut.

But the University of Redlands, which is ranked in three national polls, is idle along with Pomona-Pitzer (1-1) and Claremont-Mudd-Scripps (1-1).

La Verne (0-1) will host Willamette (Ore.) at 1 p.m.

Leopards look for first win

University of La Verne football coach Andy Ankeny is going to find out fast just how much his Leopard team has improved.

The Leopards, just 1-8 in Ankeny’s inaugural season in 2007, dropped their season opener to Whitworth (Wash.) two weeks ago 22-13. That was the defending Northwest Conference champion so it was a moral victory of sorts.

But the tests won’t get any easier. Today Willamette (Ore.), which plays in the same conference as Whitworth, marches in for a 1 p.m. showdown at Ortmayer Stadium. The Bearcats (3-0) moved into the D3football national rankings this week at No. 25.
Then next week the Leos open SCIAC play against No. 20 University of Redlands.

“We’ve decided to play as many ranked teams as possible,” Ankeny said sarcastically.
“But this is really exciting for us as a program. What better way to see exactly where we are and how we stack up.”

It will be the first meeting between the two schools. It will also be the second against a SCIAC team for Willamette, which bested Cal Lutheran 31-17 two weeks ago in Thousand Oaks.

The visitors will have one big advantage. Willamette, coming off a 31-23 win over Southern Oregon, will be playing its fourth game while La Verne will be playing just its second.

The Bearcats return 12 starters while La Verne has a steady mix of veterans and newcomers but hasn’t had quite the chance to see how the rookies will fare.

Willamette is also making the road trip which might neutralize its other advantage.
La Verne also had an extra week to prepare.

“It’s tough flying and then playing, no matter where you’re going to or from,” Ankeny said. “It makes a big difference. Hopefully that will be to our advantage.”

The Leopards will be looking to get more out of the running game than it did in the opener. They are averaging 195 passing yards a game, ignited by junior quarterback Anthony Andre, a product of Riverside Poly High school and Riverside Community College.

But the running game is averaging just 34 yards per game.
Willamette is the opposite. It is averaging 219 on the ground and 79 through the air.

Defensively the Leopards, gave up 400 yards in their opener, 269 of that on the ground. The Bearcats have given up an average of 162 on the ground and 183 though the air.

Ankeny recognizes that the tough early schedule might mean his team’s progress may not be reflected in the win column. But he likes what he is seeing from his players.

“Our guys are working hard and they are coming in expecting to win. We know it won’t be easy but we’re ready to compete,” he said. “They have bought in to what we’re trying to do. Now we’ll see where we really are.”

It is a light schedule this week among local colleges. Claremont-Mudd-Scripps (1-1), Pomona-Pitzer (1-1) and University of Redlands (3-0) are all idle this week.

Injury-riddled Chaffey (3-0) will hit the road for a 1 p.m. game at Grossmont (1-2). It will be the final tuneup before the Panthers start National Division Central Conference play next week.
San Bernardino Valley College (0-3) will travel to Victor Valley (0-3) for the first game of American Division Mountain Conference action.

Broncos set for west Coast Classic

After a successful debut in 2007, the NCAA, Division II Disney’s West Coast Tip-Off Classic will return in 2008 with an eight-team field, including four men’s and four women’s teams.  The Classic will be held November 7-9 at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, Calif.

“The CCAA is extremely excited and happy to help sponsor this expanded Disney Classic event,” CCAA Commissioner Robert J. Hiegert said. “This is a premier event and it has already proven to add to the prestige of Division II basketball. I am pleased to continue our relationship with Disney.”

The tournament format calls for four games – two men’s and two women’s – to be played each day over three days.

The men’s field will be comprised of Alaska-Anchorage, Fort Lewis, Humboldt State and Southwest Minnesota State. The women’s field will include Cal Poly-Pomona, Central Washington, Concordia (Minn.) and Indianapolis.

Three of the four teams on the men’s side advanced to NCAA post-season play during the 2007-08 campaign. Alaska-Anchorage captured the Great Northwest Athletic Conference (GNAC) title and reached the NCAA, Division II semifinals. Senior forward Cameron Burney (5.5 ppg., 4.3 rpg., 1.3 apg.) is the lone returning starter from last year’s Seawolves team that concluded the season with a program-best 29-6 overall record.

Fort Lewis also enjoyed a program-high in wins after posting a 24-6 overall record, capturing the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference (RMAC) before suffering a first-round loss in the NCAA Championships.

Humboldt State grabbed a share of the 2008 California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) title after posting a 22-8 overall record, including a 15-5 mark in conference play. After being upset in the first round of the CCAA Tournament, the Lumberjacks suffered a first-round loss in the NCAA West Regional Championships.

Sophomore guard Ernie Spada is the top returning player for Humboldt State after averaging 6.1 points, 1.6 assists and 1.4 rebounds a contest.

Southwest Minnesota State registered a 17-12 overall mark a year ago and finished third in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC) with an 11-7 conference mark. Junior forward Ross DeMasi returns as the Mustangs’ leading scorer after averaging 9.6 points and 3.9 rebounds a game.

On the women’s side, Cal Poly-Pomona recorded a 12-16 overall record, including an 8-12 mark in CCAA play. After finishing third in the regular-season standings, the Broncos advanced to the second round of the CCAA Tournament.

Central Washington concluded the 2007-08 campaign with a 13-13 overall mark and placed eighth in the GNAC with a 5-13 record.

Concordia (Minn.) captured the NSIC Tournament title before suffering a first-round loss in the first round of the North Central Regional Tournament. The Golden Bears concluded last season with a 28-3 overall mark, including a 16-2 record in conference play.

Indianapolis tied for first place in the East Division of the Great Lakes Valley Conference (GLVC) with a 13-6 conference mark before falling in the opening round of the Great Lakes Regional Tournament and concluding the season with a 22-8 overall record.

2008 Division II Disney’s West Coast Tip-Off Classic Schedule

Friday, November 7
Noon - Southwest Minnesota State vs. Alaska-Anchorage
2:30 p.m. – Fort Lewis vs. Humboldt State
5 p.m. - Concordia (Minn.) vs. Central Washington
7:30 p.m. – Game 2 – Indianapolis vs. Cal Poly-Pomona

Saturday, November 8
Noon - Concordia (Minn.) vs. Cal Poly-Pomona
2:30 p.m. – Central Washington vs. Indianapolis
5 p.m. - Humboldt State vs. Southwest Minnesota State
7:30 p.m. - Alaska-Anchorage vs. Fort Lewis

Sunday, November 9
11 a.m. - Fort Lewis vs.  Southwest Minnesota State
1:30 p.m. - Humboldt State vs.  Alaska-Anchorage
4 p.m. - Indianapolis vs. Concordia (Minn.)
6:30 p.m. - Cal Poly-Pomona vs, Central Washington

* Designated home team is listed second. The home team will wear light uniforms, and the visiting team will wear dark uniforms.

(Source CCAA)

Coyotes, Broncos to do battle in volleyball

Cal State San Bernardino’s volleyball team, ranked tops in the country, faces a gauntlet of tough foes this week, all within Southern California.

First up is No. 20 Cal Poly Pomona, which will invade Coussoulis Arena for a 7 p.m. showdown tonight. On Friday, the Coyotes travel to RIMAC Arena to battle long-time nemesis UC San Diego, ranked 16th.  To finish the week, Cal State returns home Saturday to face Cal Baptist, the No. 2 team in NAIA.

“It makes for a tough week because it’s every single day, a practice or a tough match. There is no break,” coach Kim Cherniss said. “That’s where I am happy I have so much depth in case the fatigue sets in. “Those are all teams we get pretty pumped up for.”

Both the Coyotes (11-0, 4-0) and Broncos (7-2, 4-0) are coming off strong showings last weekend. The two notched wins over the same foes, the only difference being that Cal State swept Chico State 3-0 while Cal Poly needed five games.

The two are part of a three-way tie for first in the CCAA, with the other party being surprising Sonoma State (11-1, 4-0).

Cal State leads the CCAA in most offensive categories, including hitting percentage. The Coyotes are hitting an impressive .302 as a team, with three players in the top six individually. The trio is led by senior Sara Rice, who is at .398 overall with a whopping .588 in conference matches alone.

Senior Jessica Granados, the reigning conference and region player of the year, is second at .344 with junior Ashtin Hall sixth at .272.

Cal State also has the conference leader in assists in junior Sara Hoffman and the top performer in digs in senior Meghan Haas.

Cal Poly is sixth, hitting .191 as a unit. Senior Anne-Marie Hofmans is ninth in the conference in kills at 2.95 per game.

Veteran Cal Poly Pomona coach Rosie Wegrich, who notched her 300th career win at the school on Saturday, knows the firepower of the Cal State offense, but insists her biggest concern is on her own side of the net.

“It’s probably 80-20, with 80 percent of your focus on your own offense and what you’re doing,” she said. “You have to worry about your own side of the net first.”

The Broncos strength has always been blocking. That is again the case with Cal Poly third in that department, one spot ahead of Cal State. Standouts in the middle are seniors Vanessa Williams and Allie Newman. Junior Jasmine Davis, one of the Broncos two setters, has also been a top blocker.

The Broncos will also play San Diego this week, heading down there Saturday, the day after the Coyotes play there.

Coyotes retain top spot in nation

The Cal State San Bernardino volleyball team retained its first-place spot for the third straight week in the American Volleyball Coaches Association Division II rankings released Monday.

The Coyotes (11-0, 4-0) totaled 922 points, getting 34 of 36 first-place votes.

The squad, coached by Kim Cherniss, faces one of its most competitive weeks of the season. It will host No. 20 Cal Poly Pomona (7-2, 4-0) at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, then travel South on Friday to face old nemesis and No. 16 UC San Diego (9-2, 3-1). Saturday the Coyotes return home to host non-conference foe Cal Baptist (12-1) which is ranked No. 2 in the NAIA poll.

That is quite a stretch but the Coyotes should be up for the challenge.

Cal State won two matches over the weekend, both in 3-0 sweeps. Cherniss was able to use primarily her reserves in the second one and still cakewalked. But there will be no easy matches this week!