Thursday, December 03, 2009


This late in the fall, coaches like to switch things up to keep their team sharp. Of course, Diamond Dust follows suit opening with a closing quote. It comes from a Mr. Buffett, Warren not Jimmy. “You don’t know who is swimming naked until the tide goes out.”

That seems to be a fitting sentiment, as we have a good-news flavored report on the Life’s a Beach crowd at LBSU. So far we like the look of things, but the tide is still coming in.

Last weekend, I was in my old stomping grounds at the University of Miami to take in a gritty women’s basketball road victory. LBSU and posse, (I counted seven fans wearing the company colors) won 68-64 over Rice in the Hurricane Thanksgiving tourney. LB head coach Jody Wynn put it in perspective, “It was a very important win; Rice is a big team, from a great conference, well coached and we just needed it.” The small but quick Niners, (3-3) are back home tonight (Thursday) to challenge Jody’s alma mater and most recent employer, Southern Cal (3-3) at 7 p.m. in their mini Pac 10 tour. Oregon is visited on Sunday.

Back on campus, Dan Monson’s not so maniacal 49ers, returned to class this week before climbing their next mountain, the U of Texas in Austin. At least the team is still smiling after they schooled UCLA in a 79-68 win in the 76 Classic. The win, arguably the most impressive since the 49ers beat Texas A&M 83-76 in December 2000, broke an 11-game losing streak to the Bruins.

Staying inside, and back in their 23rd consecutive NCAA Women’s Volleyball Tournament, Brian Gimillaro Niners (22-8) drew eighth-seeded UCLA (23-8) at Pauley Pavilion tomorrow (Friday. Georgia Tech (21-9) plays Baylor (22-9) in the "JV" match, beginning at 5:30 p.m.

Both the Bruins and the Beach are better since their Sept. 19 meeting, when Naomi Washington and the LB Sweethearts of Spike swept UCLA 25-19, 25-16, 25-14.

Great Stats — Ex-Dirtbag Danny Espinosa scored 90 runs for the Potomac Nationals, tops in the Carolina League, and among the leaders in fielding percentage, homers, walks, on-base percentage and extra-base hits. Espy also had remembrances on his new and very rich teammate, Stephen Strasburg, who went from a pudgy reliever buried in the Aztec bullpen to the highest-paid draft pick in baseball history. "He really worked hard to get where he is." Amen bro.

Scattered Dust — The winningest Trojan team in America, checking in at 9-3, is Troy (Ala.) University, which lost only to Florida, Bowling Green and Arkansas. The USC version, 8-3, has Arizona coming this weekend and then it’s bowling for both Trojan teams.

Great Dinner Deal — On Dec. 14, the Beach women’s volleyball team, back-to-back Big West champions, has a stimulus package for their fans with an open-to-all free banquet, passing on the chance to make it a VIP fundraiser. The evening begins with a multi-media program in the Pyramid and then some pasta bending at Spaghettini Italian Grill. RSVP to (562) 985-8739.

Great Dividend — Dirtbag pitching legend Troy Buckley picked up a 2011 early signee, Ryan Strufing, whose recruiting trip included sitting next to Buck during a scrimmage.

Ryan told his hometown paper he’s never met someone with “such a high baseball IQ. He’s the smartest baseball coach I’ve ever met,” Strufing said. “Some people have it and some don’t.” Strufing, the proverbial crafty lefty, was 5-2 with 67 strikeouts in 34 innings for Niwot, Colo. last season.

Real Closing Quote — From volleyball’s Tracy Lee, who saved a rally with her face — literally — as the 49ers won a pivotal point over UC Irvine. “I dropped my hands because I did not want to do anything to lose any points. So, I blocked it with my face,” the whimsical Ms. Lee said. “I told the coaches I’m going to practice that and just block with my face now.” DR. DAN