Sunday, October 10, 2004


Broken plays, busted plays, garbage time.

As sordid as these statements sound, the truth is that all the above often explains the difference between winning and losing.

This notion came to mind last weekend while following the Mash Unit that is LBSU women’s volleyball. The Beach lost to UC Irvine when the amazing Anteater Kelly Wing scored off of an assortment of shanks, overpasses and under-sets and the 49ers did not.

Against way-over-matched UC Davis the Beach gals scrambled from time to time with their who‘s-healthy-tonight rotation but won three games in less than an hour keeping the Aggie offense from scoring even when the LB passing broke down. “We can get better at that sort of things” skipper Brian Gimmillaro would comment post-match, “but we just don’t know who’s going to be on the floor these days.” Erika Chidester has been out since day two but Brian figured he could adjust for that major loss with healthy help from Mariko Crum, or Kristen Voyson or Rosie Lewis. All three were reduced to cheerleader status alongside Erika and gimpy but game Natalie Uhart and Makini Thompson (both off of major knee surgeries) had to be plugged in.

“If we could practice together I think we could make those adjustments better during games but we don’t and when we don’t communicate during games it is a struggle” Uhart would note. All this by the way that is from a leader on a team that takes the road this weekend a nifty 13-2 and have a great chance against dismal Cal Poly (0-7 in the Big West) and struggling Santa Barbara (losers of three of their last five). Win those roadies, hold serve at home, get some players back and the Beach could be busting the NCAA brackets for another Sweet Sixteen appearance.

MORE BREAKING DUST-Men’s cage czar Larry Reynolds kept his cards close to the chest in his recent booster gab fest but keeping to today’s theme, how well the lads can adjust to strangers on the court will have a lot to say about the basketball fortunes of LB and LR. That opening night starting lineup will likely have just one returnee mixing with folks from Ohio (JUCO’s Erik Atman (6-10) and Shawn Hawkins (6-6) plus Xavier transfer Anthony Coleman (6-11) and Oklahoma State transfer Onye Ibekwe (6-8). That’s a lot of new beef on the court for slender guard Jabril Hodges to orchestrate. “We should be more or a presence under the basket and I hope that we will do a better job on the offensive boards,” Reynolds would say. Translated, get some put-back garbage points.

NAME GAMES-Linda Robertson in the Miami Herald….”We need a star -- an athlete with Muhammad Ali's verbosity, Wayne Gretzky's dominance and Dan Marino's sense of urgency. In one swoop of those giant hands, Shag O'Neal transforms the Heat franchise.” Thanks Kobe.

I sent Wayne Morgan his birthday card last week (54 years young) but what makes his NIT Final Four fans really happy these days is another Bronx guy, Iowa State sophomore guard Curtis Stinson. The Cyclones leading scorer was named to the preseason Wooden Award list and was a first-team freshman All-American in 2004.

New addresses for a couple of last year’s basketball players, 7-footer Alex Graham to Hawaii Hilo and utility guy Ulric Pattillo to a practice-conflicting mechanical engineering lab. Ulric may be back next year as will heralded guard Jazz Henderson who is getting eligible going the JC route ala Shawn Hawkins.

The closing quote from UC Davis volleyball coach Stephanie Hawbecker newcomer to the Big West conference. “"Playing Long Beach State is exciting. They have national championships under their belt. Let's learn from them and imitate them. I want to go in and play our best volleyball. These teams are where we want to be down the road. They're the matches I'm most excited about.”—DR. DAN


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