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.

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

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

Sunday, November 9
MEN
11 a.m. - Fort Lewis vs.  Southwest Minnesota State
1:30 p.m. - Humboldt State vs.  Alaska-Anchorage
WOMEN
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)

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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.

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