Director of Athletics Debby De Angelis
It’s hard to believe that the fall sports are nearly finished and basketball season is already upon us, but here we are in November and set for what we’re expecting will be an exciting hoops campaign. With Homecoming scheduled to coincide with our Feb. 5 meeting with cross-bay rivals San Francisco State and our Pink Zone breast cancer awareness game set for Feb. 10 versus Chico State, we can’t wait to get underway.
Though our fall sports teams played their final home contests of the 2010 campaign, both volleyball and cross country are still in season and looking to finish things off on a high note. The cross country team heads to Whittier this weekend to face off against the rest of the conference at the CCAA Championships, looking to improve on last year’s performances and prepare for next year when it will be eligible to score at the event.
Meanwhile, the Pioneer volleyball team is having an impressive season, reaching its highest ranking ever as a Division II program last week, checking into the American Volleyball Coaches Association Division II Poll at No. 22 in the nation. The Pioneers have collected some impressive wins over the last month, including a five-set victory over No. 4 Cal State San Bernardino, which hadn’t lost a conference match in three seasons, and a 3-2 win over San Francisco State that saw East Bay come back from a two-set deficit. The team has also been as high as second in the conference standings this month and has made a solid impression in just its second season in the CCAA and Division II.
With basketball season on the horizon, our entire department is excited to see what our teams have in store for us this year. Under the watch of new Head Coach Suzy Barcomb and Associate Head Coach Holli Howard-Carpenter, the women’s team welcomes back six players, including leading scorer Claudia Nelson and 2009-10 CCAA Freshman of the Year Lauren Lucchesi. Six newcomers will also join the women’s team, including Brianna Terrance, a guard out of Washington who was a junior nationals All-American in 2007, and Reno native Sarah Finlay, who was a McDonald’s All-America nominee as a prep.
On the men’s side, a number of new faces will be present on the court and the sidelines, including Assistant Coach Darren French, who joins Head Coach Will Biggs’ staff after spending three seasons as an assistant at one of the top programs in the CCAA at Cal State San Bernardino. The men return four players from a year ago, including Mark Samuels, who led the team in scoring and notched a season-high 30 points against Cal State Monterey Bay as a rookie last year. Among the newcomers for the Pioneers are Rodrigue Maza, a forward from France, forward Jacob Straley, out of Poly High School and Brandon Hrboka, a forward from San Pedro High.
The Pioneer men will kick off the home slate on Nov. 16 against Academy of Art, while the women spend the first month of the season on the road before finally coming home to Pioneer Gym on Dec. 19 to face Sonoma State.
With all the diverse talent joining our basketball teams and the always-thrilling CCAA season fast approaching, we can only be excited for what’s to come in the next few weeks, months and years in Pioneer Athletics. We hope you’ll join us and support the Pioneers this winter season as you have in the fall. Without our fans being loud, proud and positive in the stands, our student-athletes would lose both home-court advantage and the opportunity to play in a true collegiate athletics atmosphere. Your support means a lot to the student-athletes and Athletics Department as a whole.
We’ll see you at Pioneer Gym!