If it wasn’t apparent from the change in weather, the arrival of both basketball season and the end of the quarter make it clear that December is upon us. In addition to ensuring that our student-athletes are finishing out the term strong in the classroom, the Athletics Department is also looking to continue to build a strong winter campaign and head into 2013 on a high note. Though there are only two home games during the month of December, we have plenty to look forward to as we enter the second half of an already successful year.
Before we can turn our full attention to the winter sports, it’s important to reflect on our recently concluded volleyball season that saw the Pioneers go through adversity but end the campaign with two wins in their last three matches. In addition, junior opposite Suzy Ni Xu collected CCAA Newcomer of the Year honors and earn a spot on the All-CCAA First Team to become the sixth East Bay student-athlete to win an end-of-season award since the Pioneers returned to Division II competition in 2009-10. The honors were a great way to cap the season and were well deserved for Suzy.
With the fall season in the books, the focus now turns to basketball and swimming, both of which are already underway and finding early success. The Pioneer basketball teams opened the season last month, with both teams kicking off the season with a victory. Though they were on hiatus during the Thanksgiving holiday, the men and women returned to action last weekend, opening the CCAA season on the road. Both teams are set to return home on Dec. 8, when they will play host to Cal State Monterey Bay for their final home games of 2012.
In the pool, the Pioneer swimmers are almost midway through their season and just returned from a trip to Reno for a dual meet with the University of Nevada. Prior to the trip, the Pioneers posted five straight meet victories including a pair of wins over Alaska Fairbanks in November. Following a post-finals trip to the UNLV Invite, the team will continue with three more road meets before returning home to cap the regular season on Jan. 19 and 25.
In addition to the excitement of basketball and swim season, we’ve also got a ton of great community engagement events going on this winter. We’re already three weeks into our Pioneers Play Program with the Bay Area Women’s Sports Initiative (BAWSI), sending Pioneer student-athletes into local elementary schools with the goal of helping girls in the community be more active.
Read more about the BAWSI Pioneers Play Program
In addition, our Read with the Pioneers Program is in its third year, with five local elementary schools participating. Each participant is reading as much as they can and will receive four tickets to the Pioneer basketball doubleheader on Jan. 12, as well as a voucher for the Pioneer Bookstore. Last year, the Read with the Pioneers participants combined to read over 30,000 pages! We can’t wait to honor all of our great local readers during the women’s basketball game on Jan. 12.
Among other upcoming community events are Pioneer Basketball Youth Day and Dads & Daughters Day in partnership with BAWSI. After a successful Youth Soccer Day at Pioneer Stadium this fall, our staff is in the process of planning another great event for local youth basketball players to attend the games on Feb. 2. We’re also excited to host Dads & Daughters Day with BAWSI on Jan. 19 at basketball, which will include a meet and greet from 4:30-5:15 p.m. followed by the women's game at 5:30 p.m. The event is open to the public and tickets for the night will be $10 and will include admission for two to the meet and greet and game, two hotdogs and two drinks at the game.
Find out more about the BAWSI Dads & Daughters program
With all these great events coming up, I’d be remiss not to mention that Homecoming 2013 will be here before we know it! Make sure to mark your calendar for Feb. 4-10, when we’ll celebrate our Pioneer Pride with events like a Pep Rally, East Bay Idol Contest, Parade and tons of home athletic events including basketball, baseball and softball! Be sure to get out your best retro gear as we celebrate Cal State East Bay’s past and present with the theme ’57 Classic: Pioneers for Life!
Wishing everyone a happy and healthy holiday season from all of us in the Athletics Department! Go Pioneers!