Bulldogs finish water polo season

The No. 16 University of Redlands men’s water polo team won three straight games despite falling to fifth-seeded No. 15 Santa Clara University in its opening game of the Western Water Polo Association (WWPA) Championships on Friday to ensure a fifth-place finish in the three-day postseason tournament.


The championship tournament, which took place at Claremont Mudd-Scripps Colleges from Nov. 21-23, included a 10-team field: No. 8 Loyola Marymount University, No. 9 UC San Diego, No. 11 UC Davis, Redlands, Santa Clara, the No. 20 U.S. Air Force Academy (CO), Claremont-Mudd-Scripps, Pomona-Pitzer Colleges, Chapman University and UC Santa Cruz.


A three-goal effort by senior driver Andrew Becskehazy (Miami, FL) on Friday fell just short of lifting the Bulldogs over Santa Clara. Redlands led 7-6 at the half, but the Broncos netted four second-half goals to the maroon and gray’s two to edge Redlands 10-9 in the first-round matchup.


Becskehazy led the way again in Redlands’ second game, which took place on Saturday, but this time, the Bulldogs prevailed, crushing UC Santa Cruz by a 13-5 final.


Redlands defeated the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) champions, Pomona-Pitzer, with ease in its second contest on Saturday, advancing to the fifth-place game after winning 11-5.


Sunday’s game against Air Force featured a high offensive output from both teams, and the score was knotted at 10 at the end of regulation. The Bulldogs scored three goals to the Falcons’ one in the first overtime period, giving Redlands the 13-11 win. Senior utility player Buddy Olds (Murrieta, CA) finished out his collegiate water polo career playing the role of the hero, scoring a team-high three goals.


Becskehazy wrote a storybook ending to an illustrious Bulldog water polo career, leading the team in its four games with nine goals. Junior center Brendan Meaney (Palm Desert, CA) scored seven goals while Olds and sophomore defender Andrew Smith-Jones (Annapolis, MD) compiled six apiece to supplement Becskehazy’s offensive success. Also scoring for Redlands were senior defender Jon Rielly (Vista, CA), sophomore center Miran Terzic (Mostar, Bosna i Hercegovina), junior utility player Brent Dotters (Porterville, CA) with three, junior driver Taylor Swyers (St. Louis, MO), senior utility player Jim Kehrig (Danville, CA), junior defender John Floersch (San Jose, CA) and junior utility player Ian Starkie (Arroyo Grande, CA) with two and junior center Ben Taylor (Porterville, CA) with one.


In goal, senior goalkeeper Teddy Trowbridge (Mercer Island, WA) saved a team-high 18 shots while junior goalkeeper Jack Amaral (Porterville, CA) also saw action between the posts and tallied 11 saves.


Redlands closed out its excellent season with a 29-9 record, including a 9-1 mark in conference games.

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Leopards come up short in final

The University of La Verne’s bid for a fourth national championship
in women’s volleyball came up just short as the Leopards fell to
Emory University (Ga.) 3-1 (16-25, 25-21, 25-17, 25-22) in the
Division III title match Saturday at the Shirk Center on the campus
of Illinois Wesleyan in Bloomington, Ill.

La Verne (27-3) came into the tournament ranked No. 4 nationally but
seeded second in the field. The Leopards earned a spot in the final
with a dramatic 3-2 win over No. 1 Juniata in Friday’s semifinal.

Coach Don Flora was thrilled with his team’s showing. The Leopards
have just two seniors and started four new players this season.

“It’s a little hard to see the forest through the trees right now,”
he said. “But the forest is planted and it’s growing well.”

La Verne hit .224 on the night and was again led by senior Brianna
Gonzales with 18 kills. Junior Crista Jones added 16 but no other
Leopard had more than three.

The Leopards came out hot, hitting .345 in an opening game they
dominated. It was even at 5-all but La Verne went on a 14-4 run with
that stretch including four kills by Gonzales, three by Jones and two
service aces by Chelsea Sleight. It later ended on a winner by Anna

“We started out real clean. It was fun to watch,” Flora added. “We
have talked about calm and intensity and here we were in a national
championship and the girls showed so much poise.”

La Verne led the second set 12-11 on a kill by Gonzales but the
Eagles eventually went ahead 13-12 on a service ace by Kelsey Kryston
and didn’t trail again. They led by as many as four at 23-19 and at
24-20 and evened the match at one set each on a winner by Amelia

Emory (35-6) also took the third game. Up 11-9 the Eagles tallied
five of the next six points and going up 16-10 on a spike by senior
Maggie Baird. The Leopards hit just .087 in the game and were not in
striking distance again.

The fourth game was tight the entire way. It was even at 22 but the
Eagles went up on kill by Maggie Baird. They got their first match
point on senior Dani Huffman’s block of a spike by Jones. Baird then
converted on Emory’s first match point.

It was the second meeting this season between the two teams. Emory
defeated La Verne 3-2 in a tournament the Leopards hosted at the
Frantz Athletic Court on Oct 11.

It was the first national title for Emory which outlasted No. 8 Ohio
Northern 3-2 in Friday’s semifinal.

Huffman was named tournament MVP. Gonzales and Jones also made the
all-tournament team.

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SBVC men win state cross country title

The San Bernardino Valley College men’s cross country team is the state champion — again.

The Wolverines captured their third straight community college state title Saturday at Woodward Park in Fresno. The Wolverines had three runners in the top 10 and five in the top 25.

SBVC had a total of 50 points, 27 more than runner-up San Diego Mesa. Rounding out the top five were Orange Coast (147), Rio Hondo (172) and Mt. SAC (210).

“It feels great,” coach Wes Ashford said. “Every year is a new year so it’s different. I’m just happy for the kids because they worked hard to get here.”

Sophomore Carlos Perez led the effort, finishing third over the four-mile course in 20:19.05. He also placed third individually last year. It is his fourth straight state title, dating back to his CIF championship teams his last two years at Barstow High School.

Sophomore Matt Sartori, another holdover from last year’s team, was fifth (20:23.85). Also scoring for the Wolverines were Jared Bain (10th in 20:36.58), Art Parra (18th 20:56.06) and Manuel Bueno (21st in 20:5926).

The non-scoring runners were Ankur Joshi (25th in 21:02.01) and Ronell El-Amin (35th in 21:09.72).

“We felt good warming up but you never know what the other teams are going to do so I told them just to focus on ourselves and running our own race,” Ashford said.

The Wolverines, who won the Foothill Conference and Southern California Regionals earlier this season, both by wide margins, celebrated by racing go-karts and playing laser tag at a nearby gaming facility before heading home.

“I promised them if they won they could mess around and have a little fun,” Ashford said.

Freshman A.J. Pulice of Victor Valley qualified as an individual. He placed 69th (21:34.87) out of 199 runners.

Orange Coast won the women’s title with 84 points, just edging out second-place Glendale (86).

Victor Valley qualified two girls, as Melissa Hernandez was 64th (19:64.06) and Monique Hoover was 71st (20:07.64) out of 191 athletes.

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