Cal State gets volleyball regional, but there’s a catch

The Cal State San Bernardino volleyball team got the No. 1 seed and the right to host the NCAA Division II West Region Tournament which starts on Thursday.

But they won’t be hosting the event at Coussoulis Arena. They will be playing the event in the auxilary gymnasium dubbed “The Den” which is adjacent to Coussoulis.

School administrators booked a B.B. King concert for Thursday at Coussoulis. And they did so knowing that the volleyball tournament was going to start that same date. The logic was that the arena doesn’t get to host many entertainment events other than WWE so it was a chance to showcase the facility to a different crowd and make some money at the same time.

Athletic director Kevin Hatcher assured the NCAA that The Den meets all the criteria for hosting an event of that magnitude. It is obviously taking his word for it.

There was a possibility of moving the event to Friday, Saturday and Sunday to play it in Coussoulis but the teams still wouldn’t be able to have a practice in the tournament venue which is mandatory. So they will be playing the whole thing in the Den, even though Coussoulis would be available Friday and Saturday.

It’s not the ideal situation but its better than the othe option which would be to give the event to the No. 2 seed UC San Diego, which is Cal State’s biggest rival. No doubt there will be some complaining teams and coaches. But Cal State earned the right to host on the court and no other team did so.

The Coyotes will open against the No. 8 seed Seattle Pacific, the runner-up out of the Great Northwest Athletic Conference.

SBVC football team finishes with a flurry

The San Bernardino Valley College football team turned in what may be the biggest upset in Southern California this season when it stunned previously unbeaten L.A. Harbor 29-21 Saturday night.

That makes the Wolverines 5-5. While that typically isn’t a record most coaches get excited about, you have to consider where this team came from.

It took a 15-game losing streak into this season, and lost the first four this season, making it 19. Then came signs of things to come. The Wolverines reeled off four in a row. They were the games that looked like the most winnable even before the season started.Those four teams SBVC beat finished a combined 7-33.

This win was special because it came over a quality foe, one that came in unbeaten and averaging 500 yards a game and 50 points a game on offense. It looked a little suspect on defense but the gaudy statistics it put up offensively more than compensated.

Kevin Emerson did a heck of a job with this team and he wasn’t hired until late July. Imagine what he can do when he has a full year!

La Verne volleyball season comes to an end

The University of La Verne will not be going back to the Elite Eight – at least not this season.

The Leopards were beaten in the Division III West Region championship match by Colorado College 25-19, 20-25, 19-25, 25-19, 15-9. The loss was a disappointing one because it had more to do with what the Leopards didn’t do than something the Tigers did do. They had trouble with serving, serve receiving and passing – all areas in which they are typically sound.

The Leopards have built such a solid tradition that anything short of a trip to the Elite Eight seems like a disappointment. It’s easy to take that success for granted. But the Leopards dealt with a coaching change as well as injuries, one of which sidelined a key player the last month. So they are to be commended for their showing.

It was also a nice run for the SCIAC schools, Redlands and Cal Lutheran also made the regional and all three won their quarterfinal which validated the fact that they deserved to be there. In fact both Cal Lutheran and La Verne beat other teams that were nationally ranked.

Redlands lost to La Verne and Cal Lutheran lost to Colorado College in the semifinals, both in five sets. So it easily could have been an All-SCIAC final.

All three of those teams return a lot of key players next season so it could be just as much of a dogfight next season.

Redlands volleyball team on a roll

The University of Redlands volleyball team turned in a convincing performance, destroying, pummeling, crushing (whatever you want to call it) Chapman 25-16, 25-8 25-12 in a regional quarterfinal on Thursday.

Volleyball is usually a sport of momentum swings. One team doesn’t dominate for three entire games. The other team has a run in it somewhere. Not this time.

It’s also hard to believe the Bulldogs (23-5) haven’t even sniffed the top 25 this season. Both Puget Sound and Pacific Lutheran are ranked and both were dismissed by SCIAC teams earlier in the day.

So three of the four finalists are SCIAC teams. Any question that all three were deserving of playoff spots was answered in a big way.

So next up is La Verne, which also played well in beating Pacific Lutheran. And the Leopards are the perennial national title contender. They have the poise and experience of having been there before.

It will be the fourth time the teams have played with Redlands winning two of three. It should be a good one!

Leopards advance to semis

The University of La Verne volleyball team has been there before and it showed.

The Leopards surged past Pacific Lutheran 3-1 (23-25, 25-18, 27-25, 25-19) in the NCAA Division III West Region tournament at the University of Redlands on Thursday. That puts the Leopards into the semifinals on Friday against the winner of Redlands-Chapman which is next up.

La Verne might have finished third in the SCIAC but the Leopards have a bunch of players who finished one win short of a national title a year ago. So they know what it takes when it’s all on the line.

Crista Jones delivered 23 kills and 20 digs while Anna Calmer added 14. Yesenia Lopez and Kendall Kraiss combined for 50 assists. Lopez also collected a team-high 21 digs.

That also makes the SCIAC 2-for-2 on the day with the Bulldogs still to play. Cal Lutheran defeated Puget Sound earlier in the day. It goes to show that the SCIAC deserved all three entrants.

UCR adds basketball standouts

UC Riverside has announced three men’s basketball additions for the 2009-2010 season and once again the Highlanders have tapped into neighboring San Bernardino County.

Among the three newcomers will be 6-foot-8 forward Kevin Bradshaw II, who prepped at Upland High School but is currently playing at Riverside City College. He averaged 5 points and 4 rebounds during his freshman season, and was named to the All-Tournament Team in the California JUCO State Tournament.

Reigning California state champion RCC Head Coach John Smith said Bradshaw “is the best defensive big man I’ve ever coached. I’m happy to see him go to UCR.”

Rated as the No. 9 power forward (CA) in the 2008 class by ESPNU, Bradshaw has also been tabbed a 2010 Third-Team Preseason All-American by Sporting News Magazine.

The other addidtions are guard Derrell Swanson of Lake Elsinore and wing Derek Kaster of Moreno Valley. The Highlanders recruiting class marks the first early signings for UC Riverside during the Jim Wooldridge era.

Coyotes, Broncos have their work cut out

If Humboldt State’s showing on Tuesday against UCLA is an indication of things to come, the Cal State San Bernardino and Cal Poly Pomona men’s teams are going to have a tough time defending the CCAA crown they shared last season with Cal State Dominguez Hills.

The Lumberjacks lost to the Bruins 74-57 but they only trailed at the half 41-34. So they acquitted themselves quite well.

Their big man Brian Morris had 19 points and 16 rebounds. Enough said.

Humboldt is good but it also has a clear advantage over visiting teams because of the difficulty of the road trip from Arcata to Sonoma State, the Jacks travel partner. Cal Poly and Cal State have no decided advantage when teams come here because those two schools are so close in proximity. It is isn’t exactly taxing on the visiting team.

Both Cal Poly and Cal State have question marks. The Broncos have lots of players back from a team that went to the final two. But they don’t have Larry Gordon. And Greg Kamansky carries such a small squad that one injury could be costly.

For the Coyotes, it is what could have been . .. had point guard Dante Smith not been lured back to USC after signing with Coyotes . . . had Brandon Brown not decided to skip his senior season to play overseas.

They do have a Division I transfer in 6-9 Bryan LeDuc. And coach Jeff Oliver seems to have team willing to work hard and buy into the team concept. That can go a long way.

Redlands water polo player honored

Senior center Ryan Floersch of the University of Redlands men’s water polo team was tabbed as the Western Water Polo Association (WWPA) Player of the Week.
 
Floersch served a vital role in the Bulldogs’ two wins on the week. In a 19-11 rout of Occidental College on Wednesday evening, he had five goals, an assist, a steal and four ejections drawn. Against Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Colleges on Saturday evening, he scored three goals and added one assist, two steals and five ejections drawn in a 9-6 victory.
 
On the season, he has accumulated a single-season program record in ejections drawn with 97, surpassing the previous mark by more than 30. Sean McWhorter ’96 set the previous standard of 63 in 1995.
 
Redlands (14-16, 6-1 SCIAC) travels to Claremont this weekend for the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) Championship Tournament. The Maroon and Gray matches up with the University of La Verne in the opening round on Friday at 12:45 p.m. in Claremont McKenna College’s Axelrod Pool.

Three local college soccer teams set for playoffs

Three local college soccer teams are in the hunt for national titles.

Pairings for the NCAA Division II and II men’s and women’s field were announced today. Cal State San Bernardino made the men’s field for just the second time in school history and the first since 1991.

The Coyotes (15-5-1) will play tournament host and top seed Cal State Los Angeles (17-3-1) at 7 p.m. on Friday. They lost to the Eagles twice – 3-1 and 3-2. But the second of those was in overtime after LA tied it at 2-all with a penalty kick in the closing seconds of regulation.

The Coyotes have nothing to lose and sometimes those are the most dangerous teams to play.

In Division III Claremont-Mudd-Scripps will host UC Santa Cruz in an 11 a.m. match on Saturday. The Athenas were by far the best team in the SCIAC. They were the regular season champion and they won the SCIAC Tournament.

The CMS will hit the road to play UC Santa Cruz on Saturday. The Stags are the reason many like the idea of a conference tournament. They were fourth but finished with a flurry, upsetting regular season champion Pomona-Pitzer and perennial title contender Redlands to earn the berth.

Redlands to host West Region volleyball tournament

The University of Redlands has been selected as the host for the NCAA Division III West Region Volleyball Tournament which starts on Thursday.

The announcement came down Monday morning but surprised no one. There are seven teams in the field and four are from Southern Calfiornia so it wouldn’t have made sense for the NCAA to ship those four to one of the other three.

Colorado College (33-4) is the top seed and has a bye. It will got to the semifinal against the winner of Cal Lutheran-Puget Sound. University of La Verne gets Pacific Lutheran and Redlands will draw Chapman.

The quality of competition in the SCIAC was evident in last week’s four-team tournament that ended with a thrilling 3-2 win by Redlands over La Verne. The semifinal between Cal Lutheran and La Verne was equally exciting. By including all three teams the NCAA got it right!