The soccer, volleyball and cross country seasons are already underway as the Pioneers strive for a CCAA championship in 2013-14.
It’s difficult to believe that it’s already October, and we’re a month into our fall athletics season. Our teams are in the thick of their conference schedules, but home games always have a slightly more exciting atmosphere to them after the students return to campus for fall quarter.
The 2013 volleyball season began in epic fashion, as we co-hosted the second annual Route 92 Showdown with Notre Dame de Namur, a tournament that featured 12 matches over the course of two days at Pioneer Gym. The event was a huge success, particularly for the CSUEB volleyball team, which went undefeated in four matches to claim the tournament crown. The Pioneers made it five straight victories the following weekend with a three-set win over Cal State Stanislaus in the first match of CCAA play.
Our soccer teams also played a significant chunk of their home schedules in August and September. On opening night of the soccer season, the Pioneer men took on Simon Fraser University, which is currently ranked No. 1 in the nation, under the lights at Pioneer Stadium. It was a thrilling experience and a gorgeous night at what freshman soccer player Steffen Sauer (Kiel, Germany) called, “the best stadium I’ve ever seen for a college or club team.”
Pioneer Stadium was not the host for the most exciting moment of the women’s soccer season, however. On a cold afternoon in the pouring rain at Humboldt State, freshman Rachel Robbert (Brentwood) scored the first goal of her career, finding the back of the net five minutes into double-overtime to give East Bay its first CCAA victory of the season.
The new crop of Pioneer freshmen has impressed on the cross country course, as well. Our teams opened up the season against some of the top schools in Southern California at the University of California, Riverside Collegiate Open. The women turned in an impressive performance, with four East Bay runners finishing in the top 70 out of 208. Freshman Odyssey Tapia (San Jose) and Sarah Perrin (Union City) were particularly outstanding, taking 14th and 27th place, respectively.
Before the season started, I challenged each of our student-athletes to strive for excellence in the classroom, in competition and in their community. So far, I’m pleased with the enthusiasm with which these young men and women have embraced this challenge and their efforts to be outstanding representatives for the University.
It’s extremely important to me that Pioneer Athletics continues to grow its community engagement efforts to position CSUEB and our student-athletes as a positive influence in Hayward and the surrounding East Bay. We recently had an unexpected opportunity to do just that. Four members of the Pioneer softball team and head coach Barbara Pierce paid a visit to a young Hayward girl who was recovering in the hospital after being struck by a stray bullet from a drive-by shooting while sleeping at home. The 10-year-old is a huge softball fan, so the Hayward Police worked together with us to set up the visit. It was a valuable experience for our student-athletes, and, more importantly, they were able to bring some joy to a young child.
October is another busy month on the athletics calendar, highlighted by our annual Basketball Madness event on Oct. 16t at Pioneer Gym. This is always an exciting time of the year as the campus starts bustling with people once again. I want to say welcome back to all the students and faculty who have been returning to campus over the past couple weeks and issue a very warm welcome to all the new members of the Cal State East Bay family. I hope to see you all in the stands to cheer on our fellow Pioneers!