Cal State East Bay Director of Athletics Debby De Angelis (Photo: Barry Zepel)
The leaves outside are falling and a chill has begun to fill the air outside signaling the change of seasons here at Cal State East Bay. The changing weather and scenery also mark the end of the fall sports seasons and the beginning of an exciting winter slate for Pioneer athletics. With November underway, our staff and student-athletes as well as the university community, can look forward to the beginning of our first season of California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) basketball. Basketball brings along with it the excitement of CSUEB Homecoming, to be held the week of Feb. 21. Homecoming will culminate with basketball games Feb. 26 against Sonoma State.
With the season coming to a close, I'd like to recognize all of our fall student-athletes and coaches for completing their first year of competition against Division II opponents. On Oct. 24, our men's and women's cross country teams competed in their first CCAA Championship race in McKinleyville, finding success in the form of top finishers such as sophomore Kelly Guerrero and freshman Michael Lucero. The pair led the women and men to ninth and seventh place finishes, respectively, at the event.
This past weekend, our men's and women's soccer teams wrapped up their seasons. The two squads battled through the tough CCAA conference season where they played against the likes of defending men's national champion Cal State Dominguez Hills and teams ranked as high as No. 7 in the nation, and hung in there collecting victories, on and off the pitch, along the way. Both teams have made continuous improvement, and we are already looking forward to next season when our players will have a year of Division II experience to draw upon as we look to climb up the conference standings in our second year.
Women's volleyball still has four matches remaining, including two home events Nov. 13 and 14. After capturing its first victory of the CCAA season on Sept. 25 against Cal State Stanislaus, the squad has made a steady rise, including a three-set sweep of then-No. 23 Chico State on Sept. 26. Though this is the initial season in the conference, the team, formerly a regular participant in the NCAA Division III playoffs, is sitting in the middle of the pack in the league standings and looks set to make its presence felt at the top of the CCAA in the years to come.
Though the fall seasons are coming to a close, November is a busy time for everyone in the Pioneer Athletics Department. With the official start of basketball season just a week away, the Cal State East Bay squads are already underway in their training and exhibition schedules.
Under Head Coach Will Biggs, the men's squad captured the 2009 Cal-Pac Conference Tournament title and is looking forward to opening the regular season Nov. 21 at home against San Diego Christian. The team will prepare for a difficult conference schedule that features 2009 national runner up Cal Poly Pomona, with exhibition games against Division I opponents UC Davis and Pacific on the road this week.
On the women's side, second-year head coach Toni West is looking to lead a revamped squad to success in the CCAA. West and first-year assistant coach Nikki Turner, formerly the head women's basketball coach at UC Santa Cruz, will be roaming the sidelines at Pioneer Gym when Cal State East Bay opens the regular season Nov. 20 against Western Washington.
Though the fall is coming to a close, the upcoming basketball season brings with it excitement and a new beginning for Pioneer Athletics on the court. My suggestion for anyone suffering from the inevitable end-of-the-quarter stress is to take a break and join us for some Pioneer basketball this season.