Cal State, Cal Poly volleyball teams get going

The Cal Poly Pomona volleyball team took the court for the first time last night. Today Cal State San Bernardino makes its debut.

The Broncos defeated Alaska-Fairbanks 3-0 at a steamy Darlene May Gymnasium. The Broncos have so many newcomers I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt. But they have a long way to go.

The highlight was the play of sophomore Kristen McNeese, who was on the team, last year but played little. Senior setter Jasmine Davis was her usual athletic self, tracking down every errant pass and turning it into a decent hitting opportunity for those around her.

Fairbanks was not necessarily top-notch competition but provided just enough for the Broncos newcomers to get their feet wet. The match was close but it was one that you never got the feeling Cal Poly was going to lose.

The San Bernardino team was in attendance, scouting Fairbanks which it will play on Saturday.

The Coyotes play Western Washington today at 7 at Cal State Dominguez Hills in what should be an intriguing matchup.

The Vikings will likely come in with quite the chip on their shoulder. Last year six CCAA teams were in the eight-team West Region field while the GNAC had just its automatic qualifier. Western went 21-3, second in theconference to Western Oregon, and was snubbed for an at-large berth because of its very poor strength of schedule.

What better way to prove a point than knock off the national runner-up.

And it will be the first match of the post-Jessica Granados era.

Stay tuned.

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CPP women win soccer opener

Six players scored six goals for the Cal Poly Pomona women’s soccer teams as it opened the 2009 season with a 6-0 win over Division II newcomer Dominican in a game played at Notre Dame de Namur University.
                The victory was CPP’s largest to open a season since it defeated Concordia 7-0 in the 1997 opener.
                The Broncos totaled 13 shots on goal and fired 26 shots on the day.
                “You can’t help but be pleased when your goals come from six different players,” said Isabelle Harvey, who is now 4-0 in season openers. “We played wide in the second half and got things going. It’s a great way to begin a year.”
                The Broncos took a 1-0 lead at halftime from senior Cody McClure (Anaheim Hills), who connected on a pass from junior Britany Garrett (Lakewood) in the game’s 43rd minute.
                The game became all Cal Poly Pomona quickly after the second half began. In a span of 31 seconds, junior forward Yvonne Cornejo (Chino Hills) and sophomore Valerie Strawn (Chino) each scored and CPP led 3-0 in the 46th minute.
                Adding goals for CPP down the stretch were junior Lauren Skachenko (Chino Hills), sophomore Justine Barclay (Rancho Cucamonga) and sophomore Carolyn Rubendall (Concord).
                Freshman Ashley Salerno (Chino Hills) earned her first career start after redshirting last season and earned a shutout. She faced just two shots as CPP’s defense held up strong.
                “We adjusted to the field in the first half on a pretty warm day up here,” Harvey said. “Lots of different people stepped up on the first one out.”
                The Broncos resume play in Belmont with a game against the host school on Saturday. Kickoff is set for 1:30 p.m.

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Coyotes’ Haas honored by NCAA

Meghan Haas of Cal State San Bernardino, the California Collegiate Athletic Association’s scholar-athlete of the year, is now a semifinalist for the prestigious NCAA Woman of the Year Award.

            Haas, an honorable mention all-American as a libero in volleyball and holder of the CSUSB career and single season records for digs, was among 30 student-athletes from 130 entries among three NCAA divisions to make the semifinals.

            The 30 semifinalists will be trimmed to nine – three from each division – next month and the NCAA Committee on Women’s Athletics will select the national winner from the pool of finalists.

            The recipient will be announced during an awards dinner in Indianapolis, Ind., on Oct. 18.

            Haas was among 10 NCAA Division II student-athletes advancing in the awards program and the second from the CCAA. Also making it into the semifinals was Jasimen Bailey, a track and field athlete from Cal State Stanislaus.

            The NCAA Woman of the Year Award honors senior student-athletes who have excelled in the areas of academic achievement, athletics, service and leadership.

            Haas learned the news first from her mother, who was monitoring the NCAA website on a daily basis. “My initial response to the news was shock. When Morgan Walker (CSUSB’s Associate Athletic Director for NCAA Compliance) and I began the application process, I had no idea it would take us this far!”

            The 6-foot  Haas, a Menifee resident and Temecula Chaparral HS graduate who helped lead the Coyotes win three straight CCAA volleyball titles, a West Region title and the NCAA championship match in 2008, said winning such an award would be “surreal.”

            “Now, do I think I will actually win? No, I don’t. I may have volunteered my time, kept my grades up and was lucky enough to be part of a successful volleyball team, but I don’t feel my contributions were anything out of the ordinary.

            “As a college student, I wanted to get involved as much as I could, and if what I did is enough to be recognized at a national level, then that’s great. But if not, I am still proud of what I was able to do.”

            Haas received her bachelor’s degree in kinesiology (pedagogy) in June commencement ceremonies.

            “In the end it goes to show that the opportunities that we are given as collegiate athletes are endless. For those four or five years of our lives we truly have the power to affect change and I applaud the NCAA for recognizing individuals all over the country who jump on such opportunities.”

            Haas had a cumulative grade point average of 3.83 at CSUSB. She earned all-CCAA, all-West Region and honorable mention all-America as well as Daktronics third-team all-America in volleyball. She served as team captain or co-captain three times.
Academically, she was the Kinesiology department’s outstanding graduate in the Class of 2009, graduating with high honors. She received the CCAA’s Hal Charnofsky Award for academic excellence and was awarded an academic scholarship at CSUSB from the Martin Matich Family. She was voted to the ESPN-The Magazine/CoSIDA all-academic District 8 first team.

She served as vice-president of the Student-Athlete Advisory Council for the past two years and voluntarily participated in Relay for Life for three years, Read Across America, the CSUSB Disability Sports Festival, the SAAC Adopt-a-Family program and Make-A-Wish Foundation fund-raisers.

Haas also served as a counselor at Coyote summer youth volleyball camps and was head coach of the Rancho Valley club’s 15-under team this past season.

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