Pomona-Pitzer athletes sweep SCIAC accolades

Junior Annie Lydens was named the SCIAC Female Athlete of the Week for the third time this season while sophomore forward Jake Klewer of the men’s basketball team earned the SCIAC Male Athlete of the Week honor for the first time in his career.

Lydens earned this week’s honor after recording the best finish for a Pomona-Pitzer Cross Country athlete (male or female) in the history of the Division III Championships. Lydens finished third overall at nationals, breaking the previous best of fifth-place set by Crosby Freeman at the 2004 Men’s National Championships and her own high mark of ninth-place on the women’s side, which she set last year.

In addition, Lydens also broke the program record in the 6K, crossing the line with a time of 21.02, which was 25 seconds faster than she ran last year on her way to a ninth-place finish. She easily earned All-America honors with her performance (the top 35 finishers earn All-America distinction) and has now been named an All-American three times, including once in Outdoor Track and Field after finishing second at the nationals in the 5000 meters last spring.

Lydens did not start competing competitively in distance events until her sophomore year, and has responded with three top-10 finishes in her first three seasons. As a freshman, she only competed in one cross country race due to a foot injury, and then competed in the middle-distance (800 meters) during track season.

Lydens, who also carries a 4.0 grade point average at Pomona, plans to compete in both the 1500 and the 5000 meters this spring, and is expected to be in the hunt for national championships in both events.

Klewer, meanwhile, had an exceptional performance in a double-overtime loss to defending national champion St. Thomas (Minn.) on Saturday. He finished with game-highs of 23 points and nine rebounds, while shooting 10-14 from the floor as the Sagehens nearly pulled off the upset, leading by five with 30 seconds to go in regulation. The 23 points established a new career high as well, surpassing the 21 he had last year in a home win over Caltech.

Klewer had 14 of his points in the second half, including eight straight for the Sagehens during one stretch when he helped his team pull rally from a nine-point deficit to pull even at 49-49 with 6:30 to go. He also had a key baseline spin move for a lay-up to put Pomona-Pitzer ahead by three in overtime, before the Tommies tied it on a three-point shot with just over a minute to play.


Cal Poly player earns weekly basketball honor

Cal Poly Pomona senior guard Sarah Semenero was named the California Collegiate Athletic Association’s (CCAA) women’s basketball Player of the Week for the week of Nov. 14-20.

Semenero,led the 19th-ranked Broncos to a pair of wins over West Regional opponents at the CCAA/GNAC Classic in Monmouth, Ore. last weekend. Semenero averaged 16.5 points, 8.0 rebounds, 3.0 steals and 1.0 rebounds as Cal Poly Pomona defeated Northwest Nazarene and Western Oregon.

Semenero finished with a career-high 20 points on 7-of-14 shooting, while also tallying nine boards, three steals and an assist in the Broncos’ 62-55 win over Northwest Nazarene on Friday. She followed that effort with 13 points, seven rebounds and three steals in a 69-53 victory over host Western Oregon on Saturday.

Cal Poly Pomona opens CCAA play on Wednesday when it travels to the Bay Area to take on San Francisco State at 3 p.m.

CCAA Women’s Basketball Players of the Week:

Nov. 7-13: Chelsea Carlisle (UC San Diego)

Nov. 14-20: Sarah Semenero (Cal Poly Pomona).

Big Bear native finishes 44th at NCAA’s

UC Riverside’s Chad Hall competed in the NCAA Cross Country National Championship on Monday morning, finishing the 10k course in 30:17.8 to place 44th out of 252 runners.

Hall was competing as an indvidual after earning an at-large bid after placing 8th at the NCAA West Regional on November 12.

Last season, the Big Bear native finished in 142nd place at the National Championship.

Cal State gets to host D2 volleyball finals

Cal State San Bernardino has been chosen to host the NCAA Division II Volleyball Elite Eight.

It was pretty much a no-brainer, although the NCAA hasn’t seemed real thrilled to put the event out West in the past, preferring to defer to states more centrally located. This is the first time a West team has hosted since Cal State did so eight years ago.

Why was it such an easy decision?

Well the Coyotes are ranked No. 1 and they’re the only undefeated team in the country.

If you’re the NCAA you probably want the host team to at least make it to the championship match and the Coyotes should do so, barring something totally unexpected.

The draw is set up in advance on a rotating basis. This year the Coyotes face the Southeast Region winner in the quarterfinal. That’s Flagler College from St. Augustine, Fla. That is traditionally one of the weakest regions in the country – the others being  the Atlantic and East.

And all thosre region reps are on the Coyotes’ side of the draw.

Tampa, Fla. and Concordia St. Paul, the team that has betaen the Coyotes at the national tournament the last three years, are both in the other half. So Cal State will have to play one of those – not both. And it wouldn’t be until the championship match.

The area is easily accessible and there are plenty of choice in airports. It’s going to be a heck of a lot easier getting in and out of California in December, than say, Minnesota!

The event will be held Dec. 1-3. It will be a great weekend of action. The community should come out and support the event. It’s not often you have an a national championship being decided in you’re own backyard.

Here’s the schedule so mark your calendars . .

Coussoulis Arena – hosted by Cal State San Bernardino
First Round – Dec. 1
12:00 p.m. – Tampa (32-1) vs. Bridgeport (21-7)
2:30 p.m. – Concordia-St. Paul (31-2) vs. Central Missouri (30-4)
5:00 p.m. – Wheeling Jesuit (36-3) vs. Hillsdale (30-2)
7:30 p.m. – Cal State San Bernardino (30-0) vs. Flagler (31-6)

Semifinals – Dec. 2
5:00 p.m. – Semifinal One
7:30 p.m. – Semifinal Two

Finals – Dec. 3
7:00 p.m.

Cal State to host West Region volleyball

The Cal State San Bernardino volleyball team will host the NCAA Division II West Region Tournament, beginning on Thursday. There will be eight teams competing and one berth in the Elite Eight up for grabs.

Let’s hope the community shows up to support the event. First off, it’s great entertainment. The West Region boasts top notch teams and THE best is the local team. High school players and coaches shouldn’t waste the opportunity to see that level of play.

The school has a first-class venue and it’s easy to get to.

Next Sunday the NCAA will announce where the Elite Eight will be held. Cal State is among the schools who have put in bids to host the event. The Coyotes have trekked all over the country the last three years and they have put in bid to host, only to be denied.

The NCAA looks at a lot of things when it comes to picking a site – one is attendance. Poor attendance figures at this week’s event won’t help the Coyotes cause. The NCAA hasn’t given the event to a West Coast team since 2003 and they’re looking for any reason to short-change the area yet again.

Here is the rundown for quarterfinal play on Thursday . . .

Noon – No. 3 Sonoma State (21-6) vs. No. 6 Hawaii Hilo (15-6)

2:30 p.m. – No. 2 UC San Diego (21-5) vs. No. 7 Grand Canyon (22-6)

5 p.m. – No. 4 Brigham Young-Hawaii (18-3) vs. No. 5 Seattle Pacific (21-6)

7:30 p.m. – No. 1 Cal State San Bernardino (27-0) vs. No. 8. Alaska-Anchorage (18-8).



Cal State’s Middleborn takes CCAA honor again

The folks at the CCAA office should just hand over the Player of the Year award for women’s volleyball to Cal State San Bernardino’s Samantha Middleborn. Right now! No need to vote. She is the best player in the conference  – by far.

On Monday she was named Molten/California Collegiate Athletic Association Women’s Volleyball Player of the Week for the week for the fifth time.

Her numbers were sop impressive it would hard to make a case for anyone else. In helping the Coyotes close out CCAA play with three wins and conclude the first undefeated regular season in program history, Middleborn totaled 51 kills in 75 attempts, registered a .600 hitting percentage and tallied 28 total blocks. During a three-set win against UC San Diego, the 2010 National Player of the Year collected 15 kills, six digs and recorded a .462 hitting percentage.

On Friday against Cal State Monterey Bay, Middleborn had 24 kills and 14 digs while posting a .600 hitting percentage in four sets. She closed out the weekend with 12 kills, eight blocks and an .857 attack percentage in a three-set win over Cal State East Bay.

Middleborn improved her NCAA Division II-leading hitting percentage to .504 and tops the country with a 1.62 blocks per set.

The top-ranked Coyotes are next in action on Thursday when they host Alaska Anchorage in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.


Redlands to host men’s soccer sectional

The University of Redlands has been chosen to host the NCAA Division III men’s soccer sectional (round of 16) which will be held Friday and Saturday at Farquhar Field.

Joining Redlands in the field are Calvin (Mich.), Randolph College (Va.) and Texas-Tyler.
Bulldogs coach Ralph Perez said some upsets around the country paved the way for his team to be playing at home.

“I was a little surprised, then I started looking at some of the other results,” Perez said. “We’re just happy to still be playing. We also know that if we slip up once it could be over just as fast.”

The No. 13 Bulldogs (20-3-1) will play Calvin College (17-5-1) at 7:30 p.m. on Friday. The 5 p.m. game will pit Randolph (18-5) against No. 22 Texas-Tyler (17-2-1).

The Bulldogs enter with a 19-game unbeaten streak, highlighted by impressive playoff wins over Pacific Lutheran (4-1) and Claremont-Mudd-Scripps (3-0) in which the defense allowed just a combined 10 shots on goal.

Redlands is second in NCAA Division III in scoring with 86 goals and 76 assists. Freshman forward Charles Izydorek, out of Arrowhead Christian Academy, leads the team in points (36) and goals (15).

Tickets can be purchased at Farquhar Field up to one hour prior to kickoff. General admission is $6. Students with school I.D. and senior citizens cost $3, while children ages 2-12  are $2.

Bulldogs get postseason invite

The University of Redlands football team has become the first SCIAC runner-up in history to earn an at-large playoff berth. The Bulldogs (8-1) made the 32-team field for the first time since 2007 when it shared the conference title but got the automatic bid.

The Bulldogs will not be heading to Cal Lutheran as most thought they would if they made the field. Instead they will get on a plane for a Saturday matchup against American Southwest Conference champion Mary Hardin-Baylor (10-0), which is making its eighth straight playoff appearance and 10th in 11 years.

Early in the week coach Mike Maynard said the only scenario in which his team would likely make the field was if the NCAA sent it back to Thousand Oaks because it has always limited the first-round field to one plane flight. Not only will Redlands be getting on a plane, so will Cal Lutheran which is being sent to Linfield (Ore.).

The Bulldogs making the field is good, not just for the school but the conference as well. Now there is a precedent for a runner-up making the field. A big part of Redlands qualifying, no doubt, was its nonconference win over then No. 6-North Central (Ill.). Maynard thought his team deserved a shot last year at 8-1, but strength of schedule was singled out as an issue.

So if Redlands didn’t get in, then strength of schedule really didn’t matter at all. That would have been sending a bad message that no matter what you do, you’re not getting in if you’re not first.

No Redlands wasn’t overly impressive in some of its SCIAC games, but margin of factor is not supposed to be a factor. A win is a win.

The next step is for the both Redlands and Cal Lu to put in good showings so the SCIAC is deemed worthy for a second spot in future years as well.


Pomona-Pitzer player earns academic honor

Senior guard James Lambert was named to the Capital One/CoSIDA Academic All-District 8 first team in a vote of the district’s sports information directors.

Lambert, who carries a 3.93 grade point average as an economics major, is now eligible for Academic All-America honors, which will be announced in December.

As one of the team co-captains, Lambert has had a key role in this season in blocking for junior running back Luke Sweeney who leads the nation (Division III) in rushing by over 20 yards with 182.4 yards per game. Lambert and his line-mates have paved the way for Sweeney to set both single-game (265) and single-season (1,277) rushing records in the 119-year history of Sagehen Football.

In fact, over his career, Lambert has blocked for Pomona-Pitzer’s all-time leading passer (Jake Caron) and receiver (R.J. Maki), in addition to Sweeney’s records this season.

Lambert and the Pomona-Pitzer offensive line have been equally effective this season with their pass protection as in opening holes for Sweeney. The Sagehens have allowed only 11 sacks all year in 263 total passing plays.

Lambert and the Sagehens finish their 2011 season when they travel across Sixth Street to take on neighboring rival Claremont-Mudd-Scripps on Saturday at 1 p.m. in the annual Peace Pipe game.

Middleborn wins weekly honor a fourth time

Cal State San Bernardino Samantha Middleborn has been named Molten/California Collegiate Athletic Association Women’s Volleyball Player of the Week for the week of Oct. 31 – Nov. 6. It marks the fourth time this season she has been honored.

Middleborn, a senior from Rialto, had another dominating performance in helping the Coyotes to a weekend sweep, their sixth straight CCAA title and ninth in the last 11 years.

In six sets against Humboldt State and No. 23 Sonoma State, Middleborn totaled 19 kills (3.17 per set), 15 total blocks and recorded a .333 attack percentage while registering 26.5 points.

Middleborn recorded a .526 attack percentage against Humboldt State, and tied a career-high with 10 block assists in a straight set win over Sonoma State.

Cal State San Bernardino will attempt to close out an undefeated regular season when it hosts UC San Diego, Cal State Monterey Bay and Cal State East Bay beginning on Wednesday.

Molten CCAA Women’s Volleyball Player of the Week:

Aug. 29 – Sept. 4: Samantha Middleborn (Cal State San Bernardino)

Sept. 5-11: Keala Peterson (Sonoma State)

Sept. 12-18: Taylor Krenwinkel (Sonoma State)

Sept. 19-25: Samantha Middleborn (Cal State San Bernardino)

Sept. 26 – Oct. 2: Jessica Leek (Chico State)

Oct. 3-9: Samantha Middleborn (Cal State San Bernardino)

Oct. 10-16: Marquis Mora (Cal State L.A.)

Oct. 17-23: Halimah Oswald (San Francisco State)

Oct. 24-30: Katie Condon (UC San Diego)

Oct. 31 – Nov. 6: Samantha Middleborn (Cal State San Bernardino)