It’s hard to believe basketball season is already upon us, but our staff and student-athletes couldn’t be more excited about it. After a great fall campaign, we can’t wait to dive into basketball which brings along swith it Homecoming and plenty of fun promotions and events.
Before we can focus on what’s set to be a thrilling winter season, we can’t forget to congratulate the fall sports teams on a successful showing. Several Pioneer soccer players were recently rewarded for their efforts this season, earning All-CCAA honors. Seniors Kara Yamamoto and Zuly Diaz represented the women as All-CCAA Honorable Mention selections, while sophomore Rey Suarez and junior Timo Baeuerle earned Honorable Mention honors on the men’s side. During the 2012 campaign, the Pioneer men more than doubled their 2011 win total and notched five shutouts on the year, while the women saw Yamamoto finish second in the CCAA in assists and match their win total from last year.
On the trails, the Pioneer cross country teams had another successful season. The women took the team title at the Mills Invitational for the second straight year and went on to compete at the NCAA West Regional, where they finished 23rd and were led by Robin McClinton’s finish in the top half of the field. Meanwhile, the men had a season-high finish of fourth in a field of eight at the Mills Invitational and sent three runners to compete at the NCAA West Regional, their first appearance at the event since we rejoined Division II in 2009-10.
Not to be forgotten is volleyball, which is entering the final two weeks of the season. After much adversity due to injuries to some of their top players, the Pioneers are looking to finish strong, having won three of their last five heading into this weekend’s final road matches. Be sure to come out for our final home matches and Senior Night when the team plays host to Cal State Monterey Bay on Tuesday, UC San Diego on Nov. 16 and defending CCAA champ Cal State San Bernardino on Nov. 17, when we will honor our six seniors.
With the fall season nearly in the books, it’s time to shift our focus to basketball with both teams opening their seasons this weekend at home. The women, who return with All-CCAA selection Marlene MacMillan and CCAA Freshman of the Year Micah Walker, are set to play host to the CCAA/PacWest Challenge, welcoming Academy of Art, Dominican and Humboldt State for four games this Friday and Saturday. The Pioneers will meet the Penguins in the season opener at 7 p.m. on Friday night. On the men’s side, the team welcomes back CCAA Freshman of the Year Jacari Whitfield and will meet Notre Dame de Namur on Sunday at 2 p.m. at Pioneer Gym.
In addition to opening the season this weekend, we are excited to be celebrating our service men and women in honor of Veteran’s Day. In partnership with Sport Clips Hayward, fans who get a haircut at Sport Clips through Nov. 11 will receive a free weekend pass to all the Pioneer basketball games. In addition, we will be collecting donations for the “Help A Hero” program which benefits Veterans of Foreign Wars Operation Uplink, a program connecting deployed and hospitalized service men and women with their loved ones through free calling cards. Active duty and retired service members also receive free admission for themselves and a guest to the Pioneer men’s basketball game on Sunday; and Sport Clips is also offering them free haircuts this week.
Find out more about “Help A Hero”
Finally, I am proud and excited to announce our latest community engagement program. In collaboration with the Bay Area Women’s Sports Initiative (BAWSI), our department will be piloting the BAWSI Toolbox, a four-week program which will give our female student-athletes the opportunity to interact with local elementary school students. The program focuses on one simple goal: to get young girls active and moving.
Read more about the BAWSI Toolbox program
This fall, BAWSI and Pioneer student-athletes will pilot the BAWSI Toolbox in order to showcase the Pioneers as leaders in community service and make a positive difference in the lives of area children. Athletes from each of the Pioneer women's teams will bring “Pioneers Play” to three Hayward elementary schools: Fairview, Harder and Russ. The program begins today and continues for four weeks, at which point both the student-athletes and elementary schools will provide feedback before the program is released to colleges and universities nationwide.
With so much excitement going on in the coming months, I hope you’ll join us in celebrating during basketball season and beyond.