Cal State volleyball team now No. 1

The Cal State San Bernardino volleyball team garnered 28 of 31 first-place votes and moved up to No. 1 in the American Volleyball Coaches Association poll released on Monday.

The Coyotes (24-0, 19-0) spent much of the season at No. 3 and were No. 2 last week. The top spot became up for grabs when No. 1 Minnesota-Duluth lost to reigning national champion Concordia-St. Paul.

The Coyotes posted 3-0 wins last week over Humboldt State and Sonoma State, with the win over the Seawolves securing them a sixth straight CCAA title and ninth in 11 years.

The Coyotes have three matches left, all at Coussoulis Arena. They host nemesis UC San Diego at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Cal State Monterey Bay at 5 p.m. on Friday and close out the regular season on Saturday at 7 p.m. against Cal State Monterey Bay.

Here’s the top 25 rundown:

1. Cal State San Bernardino 24-0

2. Minnesota-Duluth 27-1

3. Concordia-St. Paul (26-2)

4. Washburn (28-1)

5. Tampa, Fla. (28-1)

6. Nebraska_kearney (26-1)

7. Central Missouri (24-4)

8. Hillsdale (26-2)

9. Southwest Minnesota State (21-6)

10. Wayne State (Neb) (22-7)

11.Metro State (22-5)

12. Ferris State (25-2)

13.West Texas A&M (31-2)

14. Wingate, N.C. (27-0)

15. UC San Diego  (19-4)

16. Northern Kentucky (24-4)

17. Lewis (23-5)

18. Angelo State (28-4)

19. Armstrong Atlantic (33-1)

20. Minnesota State (18-8)

21. Indianapolis (19-7)

22. Eckerd (22-4)

23. Sonoma State (19-6)

24. Flagler (25-6)

25. Regis (21-8)

      Seattle Pacific (20-6)

     Wheeling Jesuit (30-3)

Coyotes battle UCLA to the wire

The Cal State San Bernardino basketball team gave the UCLA Bruins all they wanted before falling 80-72 Sunday at Citizens Bank Arena. The Coyote even led 70-68 with 7:23 left but then came three straight turnovers and they were never in front again.

Coach Jeff Oliver should be pleased. His team hustled and played hard. It had too. The Coyotes are big by Division II standards but the Bruins are just plain big. At 6-10, 305 pounds, sophomore Joshua Smith is a small house.

He scored 26 points with seven rebounds and three blocks. Reeves Nelson had a double-double with 16 points and 10 boards.

Of course the little Division II team wasn’t going to get any calls. The Bruins went to the free-throw line 41 times (making 33) while the Coyotes had 21 tries (making 15).  So the Coyotes outshot UCLA from the field.

Two calls were highly suspect. With UCLA up 67-61with 4:47 left Cal State’s Tre Brewer connected on a runner in the lane.

Then down 76-70 with 1:20 left Hakeem Washington got called for a charge.

Oh well, it was a good try.

Oliver’s big men loomed large. Theron Laudermill tallied 16 points and six boards while D.J. Shumpert added 14 points , seven rebounds and five blocks. His game has really progressed from last year which ended with him sidelined with academic issues.

Brewer and Kwame Alexander each had nine before fouling out. Alexander’s fifth foul came while defending Smith with 5:11 left while Brewer departed after that charging call.

So it looks like the Coyotes should be right in the mix for a CCAA title.

The regular season tips off on Friday with Cal State squaring off Westmont at 7 p.m. It will be a night of quality competition with the Cal State volleyball team starting things off with a 5 p.m. match against Cal State Monterey Bay.


Cal State women secure CCAA volleyball title

The No. 2 Cal State San Bernardino volleyball team (24-0, 19-0) wrapped up its sixth straight CCAA championship and the ninth in 11 years by beating Sonoma State 3-0 (25-19, 25-22, 28-26) at Coussoulis Arena.

Their dominance in recent years has been impressive. Last year the Coyotes won the conference by a whopping six matches which is pretty much unheard of. It looks like they’re going to win it by nearly that many again this season.

Part of that is the Coyotes talent and the fact that they have a veteran team with nine seniors, many of whom have played their whole careers together. But the conference as a whole has also been a bit down the last two years.

The Coyotes should be No. 1 in the next national poll due to come out on Monday. Minnesota-Duluth, who was No. 1 last week, lost a match earlier this week to reigning national champion Concordia St. Paul.

The Coyotes moving up to No. 1 and being undefeated can’t do anything but help their chances at securing hosting rights to this year’s Ellite Eight. The biggest factor not in Cal State’s favor is that the NCAA seems to go out of its way to not give the tournament to the West. The last time a West team hosted was in 2003 when the Coyotes did so.

Another factor in Cal State’s favor is the draw. One would think the NCAA wants to give it to a school that has a decent shot at reaching the final and this year the draw is set up for the Coyotes to do so. The Coyotes wouldn’t play the Central Region winner – be it Duluth or Concordia – until the championship match.



Chaffey football team remembers coach in loss

It has been an emotional week for the Chaffey College football team.

The Panthers were dealt a blow earlier in the week when popular assistant coach and former player Stevon Thomas, 23, died suddenly of an unknown cause.

Chaffey (4-5, 1-3) took the field for the first time since then against Long Beach City and lost 45-21 in a game that really wasn’t even that close..Truth be told, the Panthers probably wouldn’t have beaten the Vikings on a good day without the emotion of the week.

Thomas’ parents, other family members and friends were in attendance. Many wore black T-shirts with Stevon’s picture. Some wore T-shirts with a No. 4, Thomas’ number at both Chaffey and later at Northern Arizona.

The family was presented a framed photo of their son signed by the entire team and coaching staff.

Players had the No. 4 emblazoned on the back of their helmets and wore black wristbands with a red No. 4. Many had his name and number scrawled on tape,. Defensive lineman Kevin Gannuscio had “RIP Coach Thomas written in large block letters on the cast covering his wrist and forearm.

The seat Thomas occupied in the pressbox alongside fellow assistant Dave Portz was empty. Portz is quite vocal and animated and Thomas would often chuckle when he was going off in a tirade. I know because it is just a few seats from where I’m sitting.Thomas was always plesant and mild-mannered, something not quite typical of the ferocious defensive player he was.

He will be missed.



Chaffey football assistant passes away

The Chaffey College community has been rocked by the sudden passing of well-respected assistant football coach Stevon Thomas who was just 23.

Thomas, a product of Norco High School who also played at Chaffey and Northern Arizona, University was found dead some time between Sunday night and Monday morning. A cause of death is is not yet known.

Thomas was in his first year coaching the Chaffey linebackers. He was working toward a master’s degree and wanted to make teaching and coaching his profession, according to Chaffey head coach Carl Beach.

Work trickled through the Chaffey campus Monday. Beach said he had planned on telling his team before Monday’s practice but most of the players and members of the staff had already heard.

Beach said the school would remember Thomas at Saturday’s 1 p.m. against Long Beach City but formal plans had not yet been set.


Sagehens runner honored

Junior Annie Lydens was named the SCIAC Female Athlete of the Week (all sports) for the second time this fall, it was announced today by the conference office.

Lydens earned the honor after winning the SCIAC Women’s Cross Country Championship on Saturday at Prado Park in Chino, finishing with a time of 23:11, which was 25 seconds faster than the second-place finisher.

After winning the race, Lydens also received the 2011 SCIAC Women’s Cross Country Athlete of the Year honor for the second straight season, as a result of her combined performances in the SCIAC Mutli-Duals on Oct. 15 and the conference championship on Saturday. At the Multi-Duals, Lydens finished nearly 30 seconds ahead of the second-place finisher.

In fact, Lydens competed in three races in the month of October and won all three handily, including a personal-best time of 21:03 at the Pomona-Pitzer Invitational on Oct. 1 (pictured).

An All-American in both cross country and outdoor track last season, Lydens will try to defend her NCAA Division III West Region championship when she returns to action on Nov. 12 in a race that will be held on her home course.

The NCAA Division III nationals will be Nov. 19 in Wisconsin, where she will try to improve on her ninth-place finish last fall. She also finished second in the 5000 meters at the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field championships in May.

Bulldogs move up another spot

The University of Redlands football team has moved up one spot to No. 15 in the poll released on Monday.

Redlands also moved up a spot to 16th in the American Football Coaches Association poll.

The Bulldogs (6-1, 4-1) are coming off a 38-28 win over the University of La Verne and will host Whittier at 7 p.m. on Saturday.

SCIAC front-runner Cal Lutheran (6-1, 5-0) also moved up a spot to No. 9 in one poll and 14th in the other.

Coyotes move up to No. 2

The Cal State San Bernardino volleyball team (22-0) is one of just two unbeatens left in NCAA Division II and moved from third to second in the American Volleyball Coaches Association poll released Monday.

No. 1 and previously unbeaten Tampa (Fla.), now 25-1, was upset by unranked Eckerd and fell to fifth. Minnesota-Duluth (25-0) is the new No. 1 as seven places in the top 10 changed.

The Coyotes could work their way up to No. 1 before it’s all over because Minnesota-Duluth still has a match left against Concordia-St. Paul which is trying for its fifth straight national title and is currently No. 6. If you’re the Coyotes you probably want Concordia to win that one. Being the only unbeaten and No. 1 would probably further their cause when it comes to hosting the event.

The only problem is the NCAA seems to not want a West Region to host since one hasn’t done so since 2003 when the Coyotes did so.

The Coyotes look like they have a good chance at running the table with their last five matches all at Coussoulis Arena where they have won 56 straight matches dating back to the end of the 2008 season.

The Coyotes also are ranked first in the West Region which actually carries more weight because the No. 1 team typically hosts the eight-team regional which determines the Elite Eight representative.