Coyotes land four All-American nods

The American Volleyball Coaches Association announced its Division II All-American nods today and four players from Cal State San Bernardino are among those honored.

Junior Samantha Middleborn and senior Jane Chafeh made the first team while senior Nicole Moore made the second and sophomore Camille Smith the third team. It is the first time the school has had four All-Americans. It has three on four occasions.

It is a quite an accomplishment given that just 42 players are selected nationwide – 14 to each of the three teams. The only school that had more named was No. 1 Concordia-St. Paul which had five players honored. That is the team the Coyotes will play in the NCAA quarterfinals on Thursday.

The Coyotes are a very balanced team which makes it hard to rack up the lofty numbers needed for individual honors most of the time. Coach Kim Cherniss was disappointed junior Megan Johnson didn’t figure into those All-American selections as well.

But she’ll be just as happy if the Coyotes bring home the big proze this week! 

SBVC women off to state tournament

The men’s cross country team from San Bernardino Valley College already has won a state title this month. Could the women’s soccer team be far behind?

The Wolverines advanced to the Final Four for the first time in school history with a 4-2 win over Ventura on Saturday. The game was not THAT close. SBVC had 15 shots to six for the Pirates. And the shots they had were all good shots as most of the game was played in the Ventura end of the field.

It was team that came out poised and aggressive from the start. Not even a gusting rain that blew across the field for most of the game could slow the determined Wolverines.

Goals were scored by Crystal Sanchez, Kayla Kellstrom, Amanda Simpson and Mariela Ortega.

Now its on to the state semifinal on Friday at College of the Canyons where SBVC will square off against Fresno at 4 p.m. This is a team that has overcome adverstiy time and time again. So I would not bet against it.

La Verne fires two head coaches

The University of La Verne has fired women’s volleyball coach Marlon Sano and football coach Andy Ankeny. Could someone else be next? There are a lot of sports there struggling right now. So is it really the coaches or are there other reasons teams are failing? Maybe the school isn’t hiring the right people. Only time will tell.

The termination of Sano is probably a little surprising because he just completed his second year and had a mark of 42-25. But this is volleyball and standards in that sport at that school are pretty high. It has produced three national championships and 27 All-Americans. The Leopards failed to get into the playoffs this year and that’s big news. 
Ankeny had been there four years and was 4-32. The program was in trouble when he took over. To the Leopards credit, they kept battling and never gave up. There were a lot of close losses – 20-14 to Claremont-Mudd-Scripps, 28-26 in triple overtime to Pomona-Pitzer, 35-28 to Chapman.
Canning the coaches now gives the school plenty of time to look for quality successors but it also gives those coaches time to find other employment so they can do what is best for their families.

SBVC women’s soccer team wins a thriller

Soccer games don’t get much better than the one between the women’s teams from Cypress and San Bernardino Valley College which took place today.

The Wolverines (18-1-3) won it in penalty kicks after the teams battled through regulation and two overtimes tied at 1. SBVC had to play a man down for most of the second half and the OT’s after a second yellow card to Angelina King.

The game got a little chippy, especially in the second half which led to some hard feelings on each side. SBVC got the short end because it had a player disqualified. The referee did nothing when a player from each tumbled to the ground, then the player from Cypress grabbed a fist full of jersey to prevent the SBVC player from getting up. Our photographer got a great picture of that!

A bit later the goalkeeper from Cypress shoved SBVC’s Ruby Leon after a play in which Leon was racing toward the goal and been denied.

Give the SBVC team credit for playing through the adversity of being a person down for the better part of 50 minutes.

Then it went to penalty kicks, 11 for each team.Even the goalkeepers had to kick them. I can’t think they have much practice kicking them, They usually have to focus on stopping them. 

SBVC keeper Bianca Contreras was one of the heroes for the Wolverines. She made a penalty kick and stopped four, one of those to end the marathon game.

Crystal Sanchez had SBVC’s goal in regulation and made her two penalty kicks in the shootout. Jensen Keith and Lauren Evans were stellar on defense all afternoon.


SBVC finishing up a strong fall

It’s been a pretty good fall sports season at San Bernardino Valley College.

The men’s cross country team came back from Fresno on Saturday with yet another state championship. That’s five in a row and counting. That streak seems like it will go on as long as Wes Ashford is there as coach. This one was a little closer than the others but the streak is still in tact.

The football team went 7-4 overall. The Wolverines were 7-3 in the regular season and finished first in the American Division Mountain Conference. They lost a Bowl game on Saturday at L.A. Pierce but it doesn’t take away from a fine season, led by the record-breaking showing of Kristin James.

It’s hard to believe this team was 0-10 two years ago.

The women’s soccer team is 17-1-3 with three straight Foothill Conference titles. They won a first-round playoff game on Saturday and host Cypress at 2 p.m. on Tuesday.

Those teams all have fine coaches that have done a lot with modest resources. It also goes to show you can win with local talent.

Coyotes off to nationals for third straight year

The Cal State San Bernardino volleyball team did what was expected and chalked up a 15-22, 25-22, 25-14 win over Seattle Pacific in the NCAA Division II West championship match at Coussoulis Arena.

Seattle Pacific was tough, especially for a team that before this season had never won a playoff game in school history. But the focused Coyotes were on a mission and no team was going to stand in the way.
The Coyotes won all three of their regional matches 3-0 and 23 of their 28 wins this season have come in sweeps.
Nicole Moore had 15 kills and Samantha Middleborn 10. Both made the All-Tournament team along with fellow Coyotes Camille Smith, Megan Johnson and Jane Chafeh.
Seattle Pacific has a nice freshman middle blocker in Nikki Lowell, who hails from Claremont. She had nine kills, three solo blocks and six block assists. Look for her to lead the Falcons back next year.
Now its on to nationals for the Coyotes. Their next opponent . . . Concordia St. Paul. That’s the same team that beat them in a five-set thriller in 2008 and the national semifinal in 2009.
The good thing for the Coyotes is that there will be no packing of the winter garb for a trip to Minnesota. This year the event will be on neutral ground in Louisville, Ky. I like their chances.
After Saturday’s match players talked about the match-up. They say they got a little too wrapped up in the revenge factor last year after the heartbreak the previous year. That only added to the pressure. This year they are just focused on their own game and won’t let who they are playing distract from the ultimate goal.
Call that a lesson in maturity.

Coyote volleyball team cruises through semis

The Cal State San Bernardino volleyball team coasted past UC San Diego 25-14, 25-11, 25-23 in the NCAA West Region semifinal Friday at Coussoulis Arena. The Coyotes will face Seattle Pacific in the 7 p.m. title tilt on Saturday with a berth in the Elite Eight on the line.

That’s pretty convincing. Think 6-0 in a soccer game or hockey game. It was that one-sided. The Coyotes played as well as they could possibly play in the first two games. The Tritons put up a mild fight in the third game to no avail.
Cal State (27-2 had a balanced attack as Nicole Moore had 10 kills and Jane Chafe nine. Then came Samantha Middleborn, Megan Johnson and Morgan Carty with seven each. That’s hard to beat. You can’t block five people. Johnson had seven block assists while Chafeh had a team-high 12 digs.
What was interesting was that both semifinals featured the most compelling rivalries in their respective conferences with Cal State and San Diego long time rivals in the California Collegiate Athletics Association with Western Washington and Seattle Pacific the equivalent in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference.
Seattle Pacific (26-2), led by Claremont High product Nikki Lowell, took a 3-2 win highlighted by15-11 finish in the pivotal game.
It will be interesting to see how the Falcons respond. It is the first time they have won a playoff game, let alone made it to the regional final. Cal State will be in the final for the 11th consecutive year with the balance of the roster have multiple appearances.
The Coyotes look like a determined bunch. Seattle Pacific will be a more formidable foe than what the Coyotes have seen the last two nights but it hasn’t faced a foe the caliber of Cal State yet.

Coyotes turn back BYU-Hawaii in quarters

The Cal State San Bernardino volleyball team did as expected and defeated Brigham Young-Hawaii 3-0 (25-22, 25-14, 27-25) in the NCAA Division II west Region quarterfinal at Coussoulis Arena.

The first and third games were particularly entertaining. Give BYU credit for coming back in a the third game after getting pummeled in the second game. It was probably good for the Coyotes to get pushed a bit and should better prepare them for the matches that are to come.
Nicole Moore was the star on the night with 18 kills, including seven each of the first two games. Samantha Middleborn, named Most Valuable Player in the CCAA earlier in the day, added 10. Jane Chafeh had nine kills and 15 digs. Camille Smith, the topic of our feature story in Thursday’s paper, delivered 35 assists, 11 digs and three block assists.
Next up are the semifinals. Cal State will play its rival UC San Diego, which had no trouble disposing of Sonoma State. The Coyotes have beaten the Tritons twice 3-0.
The 5 p.m. semifinal will pit Western Washington against Seattle Pacific.

West Region volleyball kicks off at Cal State San Bernardino

The Cal State San Bernardino volleyball team is warming up for its NCAA West Region quarterfinal against Brigham Young-Hawaii. The Coyotes (25-2) are seeded first and ranked sixth nationally.

The first three quarterfinals are in the books. At the risk of being called a homer, I don’t see a team that should beat the host Coyotes. And I did sit through all three earlier matches.
The other results:
No. 2 Seattle Pacific beat No. 6 Cal State Los Angeles 3-2 (25-23, 20-25, 23-25, 25-23, 15-6)
No. 3 Western Washington beat No. 6 Alaska-Anchorage 26-24, 25-12, 20-25, 25-20)
No. 4 UC San Diego easily beat No. 5 Sonoma State 3-0 (24-23, 25-14, 25-17)
The most disappointing match was probably the Sonoma-San Diego showdown. You expect a match between the 4 and 5 seeds to be the best match of the day, not the worst. San Diego gets the winner of this last match. So probably an All-CCAA matchup.
Seattle Pacific didn’t quite live up to billing. A No. 2 shouldn’t need five games to dispatch a No. 7.
In the early match, Anchorage had a lot of trouble with serve receiving and passing. Now in the post-season that really shouldn’t be an issue.
So it will be a conference rematch between Seattle Pacific and Western Washington.
A lot of these teams are young so expect most of them to be back next season. Sonoma and Anchorage have just one senior on their rosters. Seattle Pacific and San Bernardino have just two.

Coyotes struggle in season opener

The Cal State San Bernardino men’s basketball team had a chance to set the tone when it took the floor against Brigham Young-Hawaii in its season opener at Coussoulis Arena.

BYU is a traditional regional contender. Its conference is the worst of the three that make up the West Region and the Seasiders don’t play a particularly strong schedule. They win when they stay on the island and struggle when they leave it.
So the game was important for the Coyotes. Beating in-region teams means a lot when rankings are tabulated at the end of the year and a site for the regional is determined. So the Coyotes missed a golden opportunity in losing 87-83 in overtime. 
BYU didn’t play particularly well. But the Coyotes played worse. They were out of sync from the opening tipoff and never got their act together. They were lucky to be close, really.
The Coyotes shot 38.7 percent but were just 8 for 28 from long distance. They had 22 turnovers and were out rebounded by 10.
There were missed free throws, including an air ball with 47 seconds left in regulation in a 1-point game. There were turnovers – lots of them. And there were the wrong people taking the wrong shots at the wrong time.
Is there potential? Definitely? But the Coyotes can’t afford to get off to a bad start because the conference is loaded. And the bad news is that the Coyotes first CCAA game is against Cal State Dominguez, which just so happened to beat BYU by 27 on Monday.
Even more reason the Coyotes should have won. BYU was on the second night of a back-to-back. So that does not bode well. 
David Jefferson scored 17 points and collected eight rebounds to lead Cal State. Aaron Hill and Corey Caston had 15 each but were a combined 6 for 20 from the field. Caston did have eight assists though.