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Historic Season for Cal State San Bernardino

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Coyote women lose to Concordia in NCAA Division II title game

By Jon D. Gaede, BVN Sports –

SAN BERNARDINO - Last Friday night, the lady volleyball Coyote’s of Cal State University, San Bernardino won their 32nd consecutive game this year. On Saturday night, they lost their first, defeated 3-0 by Concordia of St Paul.

Led by big hitter, two-time national player of the year, Samantha Middleborn, the Coyotes simply dominated their opponents during the 2011 season.

After their undefeated conference season, the Coyotes would host the NCAA Division II Championships at Cassoulis Arena. The march toward the final included a tough semifinal against Hillsdale of Michigan.

In the match on Friday night, the Coyote women found themselves in unfamiliar territory, a 2-1 set deficit to a No. 8 seeded opponent. In front of a raucous loyal home crowd, these girls rallied to win the next two sets, 25-20 and a decisive 15-6.

The Coyote women were seeking the initial national title in any sport, at the university. In that semifinal, Cal State made some mental errors, allowing Hillsdale to run up points. Eventually, with superior athletic play, the Coyotes took what was theirs.

The Coyote women had 72 digs to Hillsdales’s 56 and 15 blocks to the Chargers 6. Samantha Middleborn had 22 kills at the net, while Pricilla Collings and Megan Johnson added 14 each.

Saturday’s highly anticipated match would pit Cal State against Concordia of St. Paul, an opponent who has bested them, five out of six times before. Nearly 3,000 students and local fans showed up for the big final at Cassoulis.

The Concordia Bears, 34-2 on the season, would continue to be the top Coyote nemesis as they spoiled Cal State’s perfect season 3-0.

For Concordia, it was their 5th title in five years. The sets were definitely competitive, the Coyote women were in every set, but the side from Minnesota was too strong in all phases of their game. Concordia takes the NCAA Division II Title 25-20, 31-29 and 25-18.

Samantha Middleborn tried to put things into perspective by illuminating the great season the girls have had and that they have watched this opponent celebrate in front of them, many times before.

Cal State coach Kim Cherniss has built a tremendous volleyball legacy. Approaching the magical 500 victory mark, over 20 years at the helm.

She and her fine Coyote staff will reload for next year and will likely be back to compete for what they feel is theirs, an elusive NCAA title.

Unbeaten Rancho Verde Returns to Title Game

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Mustangs struggle early then Turn it on to advance to finals

By Gary Montgomery, BVN Staff –

Moreno Valley – Rancho Verde knew it was in for a battle when the Colony Titans matched their efforts point for point in the first half.

Titans’ quarterback Matt Simko threw for 174-yards completing 15 0f 20 passes in the first half, getting his team a 14-14 tie at the break.

Colony (11-2) lead by its lethal passing attack and chronically stingy defense kept the ball in the air on offense and pressured Mustang quarterback Carlos Hernandez on defense.

The Mustangs (13-0) are the top team in the Central Division cruising through the playoffs. In the first three games Rancho Verde has outscored its opponents 138-42. Being tied at the half was definitely a new experience for Coach Pete Duffy and his team.

“We let them know what the stakes were during the half-time. We had to explain the situation,” said Coach Duffy.

Along with their half-time speeches the Rancho Verde coaches also must have done a little offensive scheming. The Mustangs opened the second half in the ‘Wildcat’ no huddle formation and immediately sprung tailback Kenney Torrence for a 65-yard run off tackle on the first play. However, Rancho was ticketed for holding on the play and Torrence’s run was nullified.

No problem, on the very next play, Devonte Collier sliced across the left side and dashed 75-yards for a 21-14 Mustang lead. Rancho Verde’s defense got in on the act after that and held Colony’s offense forcing them to punt the ball back.

On the next possession quarterback Carlos Hernandez went up top and found Demorea Stringfellow for a 35-yard touchdown to stretch the Mustangs lead to 28-14. And more importantly, extinguish the last bit of fight left in the visiting Titans.

Colony would mount only one more serious threat that ended on a fourth and eight at the Mustang 19-yard line. The Titans turned the ball over on downs and Rancho Verde moved the ball down the field and scored again on a 1-yard run by Reyko Green.

The Mustang’s would tack on another score to reach the final 42-14 score but the story of the game was the way Rancho Verde came out after the half and took control and finished off the game. “I think it energized the offense (Wildcat Formation) and that energy was contagious,” said Coach Pete Duffy.

Rancho Verde’s win propels them to the Central Division Title game for the second consecutive year. The Mustangs will travel to the desert on Friday evening to dual the 13-0 Palm Springs Indians in the Championship game.

G. Montgomery can be reached at sports@blackvoicenews.com

'Show Time' Trojans' Style

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Trojans show no respect for Bruins’ Crown and deal UCLA a crushing defeat

By Gary Montgomery, BVN Staff –

Los Angeles – Odds Makers, prognosticators and ever sports talk show hosts frequently use the term ‘Trap Game’ to describe an upcoming contest between two teams.

Although mostly slang and without an ‘according to Webster’ definition, it literally means that there are unforeseen forces that may have stacked the deck against one of the participants in a particular contest. Generally, these forces are inevitably damaging because they are unrecognizable or completely ignored by one of the participants.

In the case of Saturdays complete destruction of UCLA’s football team by its cross-town rival, every possible example of the definition of ‘Trap’ game were on clear display during the weeks leading up to the game.

If he knew the signs, Stevie Wonder could have seen this one coming. For me it started to become clearer last Saturday as I watched the UCLA Band perform a pre-game parody of the sacking of the Trojan city and its army before their game against Colorado.

I know these things are rooted in tradition and are harmless demonstrations of the natural competition between two great institutions but a dose of reality is an important thing when you are a pretender and not a contender.

And that is the situation the Bruins found themselves in on Saturday night. A team that had scratched and clawed its way to a respectable record but unable to accept the reality of the situation, the little engine that could get the job done on occasion but inherently fragile and particularly vulnerable away from the comforts of its home crowd.

Entering Saturday’s final game, UCLA had won only one road game all season against lowly Oregon State and had been outscored by opponents 136 – 79 in those games. Then, early in the week UCLA Coach Rick Neuheisel proudly proclaimed that “we have closed the (talent) gap” with USC. Whether Rick was looking for momentum or just being the eternal optimist, those words added even more fuel to the fire.

After the game seemingly still in denial Neuheisel said, “We found ourselves out of rhythm and found ourselves in too many third and longs. The key to us is being in third and manageable and executing, we missed some passes that we should’ve hit. We had guys wide open but just missed. And on the other side, Barkley was hitting everything.”

Not only was Barkley hitting everything, Woods and Lee were catching everything and McNeal was running everywhere and UCLA was finished after two possessions no matter how many more passes they caught or dropped. After winning the coin toss, USC took only four plays to reach the end zone on a 42-yard pass from Barkley to Marqise Lee to take a 7-0 lead.

The ensuing Bruins first drive consumed more than 6 minutes and delivered them to the USC 1-yard line with a chance to tie the game early but tailback Derrick Coleman was stopped for a loss on fourth down by Jawanza Starling and Dion Bailey turning the ball over to USC on downs.

After that stop, the Bruins would pose only one other serious scoring threat. Late in the second quarter, with the ball on the USC 7-yard line UCLA quarterback Kevin Prince was intercepted by T.J. McDonald.

Matt Barkley threw for 423-yards and 6 touchdowns. Freshman Wide receiver, Marquise Lee caught 13 of Barkley’s passes for 224-yards. Super sophomore Robert Woods caught 12 passes for 113-yards giving him 111 for the season shattering Keyshawn Johnson’s previous record of 102.

It was truly an awesome display of football and yet at the same time painful to watch knowing most of the young men on the losing side are great players and competitors but are trapped by their current system and forced to endure the most humiliating loss by either side since 1930.

Having locked up the title of Pac-12 South Division Champions after Utah faltered against Colorado, the Bruins likely felt some degree of false confidence from merely capturing the crown. Engaging in weeks of hyperbole or downright denial doomed any chance of survival for Rick Neuheisel and on Monday UCLA announced that he would be released after the Pac-12 Championship game.

The most important and least understood thing by UCLA was the determination on the part of the entire Trojan team to make this season special outside the traditional definition of a successful season. In other words, no conference title…it would be nice but no problem. No, Bowl game….yeah they are a lot of fun and it makes our school a lot richer but again, no problem.

The USC staff somehow convinced these young players that there was a bigger prize and rallied the entire team to avoid focusing on what wouldn’t be available to them and go after what was within reach. And that ended up being a 10 win season, a single digit national ranking, denying a conference opponent a possible title game appearance, humiliating their cross-town rival and a complete revision of the USC record book after the season is over. Oh, and possibly an unprecedented fourth Heisman Trophy in 10 years.

With and overall record 6–6 and 5–4 in conference the Bruins are the Pac-12 South Division Champions and will travel to Oregon on Friday to battle the Ducks for the conference championship. With a lame-duck coach and Saturday’s loss still on their minds, the Bruins could easily be walking into another trap.

G. Montgomery can be reached at sports@blackvoicenews.com

Glittering Galaxy - LA Wins the MLS Cup

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L.A. beats Houston 1-0 at Home Depot Center

By Jon D. Gaede, BVN Sports –

Carson - The Los Angeles Galaxy validated their fine season by beating the Houston Dynamo 1-0 and winning the MLS Cup. As the whistle sounded, one last Donavan-Beckham embrace, the Hollywood ending is preserved.

On a rain soaked pitch, the clubs sloshed through the grass, under a steady November drizzle. Slugging it out through midfield battles, the Galaxy struggled to put something together in the first half.

Steady Galaxy keeper Josh Saunders, who stepped in for the injured Donovan Rickettes, repelled Houston attacks and showcased the form that produced 19 regular season wins and 55 saves. The national ESPN audience watched an aggressive counter-attacking Galaxy effort, in the first 45-minutes of play. Set pieces from David Beckham, close finishes from Landon Donovan and Robbie Keane were covered by Houston.

The Dynamo, playing without the injured Brad Davis, had to be pleased with a level game at the half.

The pace and quality of play, picked up in the second. In the 56th minute, David Beckham served Robbie Keane with what appeared to be a perfect ball that Keane buried for an apparent goal. Only to be called offsides by the referee.

Beckham’s midfield vision and flurry of accurate passes would eventually find their way through the Houston defense. In the 72nd minute, Beckham headed a ball to Keane who delivered a perfect pass to a sprinting Landon Donovan who promptly scored past the lunging Houston keeper.

The superstars, Beckham to Keane to Donovan had delivered. With less pressure, the fans began to sense the result. The Galaxy protected the ball and their one goal lead for 20 minutes.

True to form, the Galaxy did not lose a single home match all year. The loyal Houston fans who traveled in cowboy hats, could only detonate their orange smoke bombs in vein, as the Los Angels Galaxy won the match and the MLS Cup, 1-0.

The MVP of the match went to Redlands East Valley’s Landon Donovan who recovered from injury to bring back the cup, after a five-year absence. His goal was the difference.

Embracing near midfield, Landon Donovan and David Beckham may have played their last match together at the Home Depot Center.

“Regardless of this win, we have had a wonderful season of success, but it is so nice to win the cup for our fans,” said a thankful Landon Donovan.

When asked about a contract extension, David Beckham said that he would take a couple of weeks to decide. “We love Southern California,” said Beckham. “The weather, American schools and life experiences for my family, have been wonderful,” he concluded.

Beckham’s five-year contract has come to an end. The grand experiment, the ‘Beckham era’ in Los Angeles, conceived by Tim Leiweke, the dynamic CEO of AEG has been an unprecedented success. The profile of American soccer has been permanently illuminated.

The Los Angeles Galaxy are currently on an Asia-Pacific exhibition tour in the Philippines. They will conclude their tour in Melbourne, Australia on December 6th.

Carter Edges La Sierra 15-14 in CIF SS Quarterfinals

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By Jon D. Gaede, BVN Sports –

Rialto - Coach Alex Pierce has said that he was somewhat skeptical when approached by a senior who wanted to play high school football for the first time.

Skill level, conditioning, and safety are the usual issues when students try to compete in a contact sport, without experience. Coach Pierce’s misgivings have been replaced with the joy of coaching a truly gifted young man.

His name is Gaylon Maxie. Establishing himself as a premier San Andreas (SAL) runner all year, Maxie has brought his Carter Lions, all the way to the CIF Semifinals.

At 5’8” and 195 lbs., Maxie, playing in his initial season of competitive high school football has rushed for 1,835 yards and scored 24 touchdowns. Averaging over seven yards a carry, opponents have found that he is very difficult to bring down and tends to speed up when being tackled.

The Carter Lions, 11-1 on the season, took on La Sierra of Riverside on Friday night. This CIF quarterfinal was by all accounts, a defensive battle.

The teams exchanged possessions over the middle of the field until La Sierra fumbled on their own 30. Carter’s Khlalil Sanders picked up the ball and ran it back 70-yards for a touchdown.

The aggressive Carter defense tackled La Sierra’s quarterback Johnny Salazar in the endzone for a safety and sacked the Eagles quarterback eight times.

Salazar managed to pass his team to a 14-8 halftime lead. Carter took advantage of a punt that hit a La Sierra player and recovered by the Lions. Carter then handed off to their sure thing, Maxie, for the go ahead score.

To preserve the victory, Carter’s defensive line sacked Salazar twice for big losses. An errant desperation pass was intercepted by Carter’s Ray Webster. The Lions held on for the 15-14 victory.

Maxie was the games leading rusher with 75-yards on 22 carries. Carter’s record setting season continues this Friday night, as they travel to the desert to take on Palm Springs in the CIF SS semifinal.

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