Big time volleyball comes to Coussoulis Arena at Cal State San Bernardino at 7 p.m. Friday. The women’s national teams from China and the United States square off in the final match of the USA Volleyball Cup.
The United States team, coached by Karch Kiraly, is the top-ranked team in the world while Chino is currently No. 3.
If the previous matches are any indication, Inland Empire volleyball enthusiasts will be in for quite a show. The teams played on Tuesday in front of 3,600 spectators at UC Irvine and it was China prevailing 3-2, winning the decisive fifth set 17-15.
This will be the fourth and final match of the series. The teams started the series in Hawaii, splitting two matches with each country getting a 3-0 sweep.
“We have reached out to USA volleyball to try and get events here before and this is the first time we were able to work something out,” Cal State San Bernardino coach Kim Cherniss said. “This is as big as the Olympic basketball team or hockey team and it’s the year before the Olympics. It is exciting to have an event of this caliber here.”
The event was the idea of Craig Thompson, CEO of Mindspring Sport who took the idea to Kiraly. Both thought some sort of international competition would help grow the sport but also help serve as tune-ups for the respective national teams.
“This is great competition and gives the coach a chance to experiment with a lineup without worrying about it winning or losing a major international event like the Olympics,” Thompson said. “It’s also great way to get our sport out there and have our target audience get a close-up look at our Olympic athletes.”
This is the third year of the USA Volleyball Cup with the USA playing Japan in the first in 2013 and Brazil last year.
Earlier this month the USA Team held a scrimmage at Rancho Cucamonga High School that drew almost 3,000. Thompson is hoping that same kind of crowd shows up for the final showdown against China.
Starting pitcher Chris Mathewson of Long BeachState took home another accolade on Monday as the National Collegiate Baseball Writers’ Association selected him to it Freshmen All-America Second Team.
Mathewson, a graduate of Kaiser High School in Fontana, finished a fantastic freshman season with a 194 ERA in 13 starts. He pitched 93 innings in his first year with the Dirtbags, averaging over seven innings per start. He went 6-6 on the year with 80 strikeouts against just 24 walks.
Mathewson’s 1.94 ERA currently ranks 34th in the country but ranks fifth nationally among freshman pitchers. Opponents hit just .187 against Mathewson, which was the lowest mark in the Big West.
He wrote his name into Dirtbags history in just his second collegiate start with a seven inning start in Long Beach State’s first-ever no-hitter. Mathewson was named the Big West Pitcher of the Week three times this year and was honored as the conference’s Freshman Pitcher of the Year.
This is his second Freshman All-America honor after earning the same distinction on the Louisville Slugger Freshmen All-America Team.
The Claremont-Mudd-Scripps athletic department finished first in the SCIAC combined all-sports trophy for the 27th time in history and 26th time in the last 30 years.
The Athenas won the women’s All-Sports trophy with 75.3 points and the Stags won the men’s title with 95.5 points, 20 points higher than the next program.
In the 43 years of the men’s SCIAC All-Sports competition since 1972-73, CMS has won 38 times (including three years as Claremont-Mudd) and this marks the eighth consecutive year. The women’s competition began in the 1976-77 season and CMS has taken home the trophy 20 times with this season making five in a row.
During the 2014-15 season in the 21 sports, CMS had 11 SCIAC championships and two tournament championships. The Stags and Athenas totaled nine SCIAC Athletes of the Year and 129 all-conference selections.
The University of Redlands was second in the men and third in the women, making for a second overall.
Pomona-Pitzer was second in the women’s race.