Director of Athletics Debby De Angelis
There's nothing quite like bringing a successful year in Cal State East Bay Athletics to a close with our best-ever finish at the Western Water Polo Association Championship. Head Coach Lisa Cooper and the Pioneers went 1-2 at the tournament, hosted by Pioneer Athletics at Chabot College, to take fourth place and improve on last year's previous top finish of fifth place. The tournament was a great success and was the perfect ending to the 2011 water polo season.
The water polo team finished the regular season with some great honors as well, as sophomore Claire Pierce was named to the All-WWPA First Team, junior Jayme Pekarske earned an All-WWPA Honorable Mention selection and freshman Sarah Grunberger was named to the conference's All-Freshman Team. Both Pierce and Pekarske also earned All-Tournament Team honors last weekend.
The baseball and softball teams also capped their seasons on a high note. The softball team upset No. 10 UC San Diego in its last series, earning an eight-run rule victory. The team also honored its four seniors - Nikki Freiberg, Kassandra Winger, Dani Foster and Catherine Schorn - and saw Winger collect CCAA Player of the Week honors for the last week of the regular season after hitting .538 in the final weekend. The weekly honor was the softball team's second of the season.
Baseball finished off the 2011 campaign this past weekend with a three-game sweep of Grand Canyon University in Arizona. The team held Grand Canyon to just eight runs in the sweep and capped the season with a four-game winning streak and took five of its last six games, including a pair from conference leader Chico State.
The track team is still in action and will travel to the CCAA Championships as well as the Cal State Stanislaus Twilight Meet to cap the season. The team will be looking to improve on last year's eighth-place finishes at the CCAA Championships.
Later this month, we will honor our student-athletes for all their great achievements - athletically, academically and in the community - at our annual Student-Athlete Banquet. This year has seen many successes, including the women's volleyball team finishing second in the CCAA and Head Coach Jim Spagle earning Coach of the Year honors. Our soccer teams opened the newly renovated Pioneer Stadium, while the cross country teams improved their times and finishes at the CCAA Championships.
In the winter, new head coaches for the swimming and women's basketball teams, Ben Loorz and Suzy Barcomb, helped bring both programs to new heights, while men's basketball brought in a talented recruiting class and sent seniors Will Freedman and Jared Waters out on a high note. The department was also privileged to play host to an exciting CCAA Basketball Championships at Pioneer Gym.
Our spring sports have also found success in our last season of the transition to NCAA Division II, with softball earning its first CCAA sweep over Cal State Monterey Bay and baseball splitting with CCAA leader Chico State.
With this season nearing its end, it's time to look ahead to the 2011-12 campaign, which will not only be the Pioneers' first as a full member of Division II, but also the 50th anniversary of Cal State East Bay Athletics. In honor of this milestone, we will host several events in the fall and welcome back all former Pioneer student-athletes and the community to celebrate with us during the weekend of Sept. 23-25. The weekend will feature men's and women's soccer against Cal State Stanislaus and Chico State, a swim meet, a water polo alumni game and several events for Pioneer Alumni, including a reception, poolside party and recognition. So be sure to save the dates for the Pioneer Athletics 50th Anniversary Weekend in the fall.
As always, our successful season would not work without the support of the University, including outgoing President Mohammad Qayoumi, the students, our fans and the community. This department and the experience for our student-athletes would not be the same without the help of all these key individuals and groups and for that, we owe each of you many thanks.