Monday, October 02, 2006

MUNCH ON THIS—THE BEACH REPORT CONTAINS NO SPINACH

If Diamond Dust has a dogma it is alliteration so today’s edition of notes on my napkin will start with Misa and the Munchkins and finish with high hopes for hoops. In between we promise to cover much of the remaining sports landscape but the without a pigskin to squeeze, fumble or even inflate, volleyball and basketball are the feature fall topics at LBSU.

Volleyball first. Thanks to my subscription to the web casts of CSTV here in FLA, I compared the video and re-wind version of volleyball with the live act I saw before slipping South last month. I am no expert but I can count. In Saturday’s struggle against SLO the Beach sent 13 players into the fray, a figure in the past that you might not even see on senior night. More intriguing was that except for the outstanding summer import Misa Hasalikova (6-4), much of the rotation that led a gritty comeback from down 2-0 to overtime was made up of what the chat room crowd called “The Munchkins”, players in the 5-5 to 5-8 range as opposed a typical long and tall LB lineup.

What’s next, well the volleyball landscape that LB dominated until recent years is very competitive. Even in the Big West the Beach is midway down the table looking up at three or four teams in the standings. The Munchkin movement makes it fun but in the long haul the Niners will have to reload the program with another hand of aces like those that hung the banners in the past.

Next up a program clearly on the rise, the suddenly amazing soccer team. After two key conference wins last weekend over Pacific and Northridge the Niner booters travel to UCSB Friday and Cal Poly on Sunday. Using what is becoming known as a twin tower offense, 5-foot-8 Hayley Bolt and 6-1 Sarah Strohl, the Beach youngsters were physical (two Tigers left the contest) and resilient, up 2 zip, tied at two and then winning in the 69th minute, to up their record to a fancy 10-2 and 2-0.

Back to the bases, the hot stove leaguers spend their autumn afternoons ranking the 2007 collegiate recruiting classes and the news is not all good for the Dirtbags. There were 86 teams ranked and USC was first, that would be South Carolina, followed by Miami, Florida and Oklahoma. The Dirtbags came in 46th but fortunately the games are played in the spring between white lines not from the Barca-lounger in the fall.

Last add soccer. The loss to Eastern Washington was the Eagles' first victory over a top 25 team ever and a fluke swing and miss by the Niner goalie opened the door. Take that away and you have just a 1-0 loss to UCLA.

One more Jered Weaver report. Insiders say that over the winter opponents will try and figure out his deceptive delivery that keeps hitters off-balance. But what about that impeccable control and ability to handle the pressure of big-time environments.

One more long distance sports reporting. I can tell you for sure that a net serve via CSTV to FLA hurts as much as it does in the Pyramid. The difference is that my senior citizen neighbors in this condo by the sea come out and cuss me back for me waking

Last add hoop city, which might be the name of this town next march. The men are picked to win the Big West and the women shared that title last year. Both squads add some firepower and give the fans an early peek by hosting “Friday Night Hoops” on October 13 just after the last whistle of the 49er women’s volleyball match against UC Davis. And as our pal Vic Cegles would remind you, plenty of good season seats still available. –DR. DAN

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