SUPER SATURDAYS: FALL SPORTS CLOSE WITH ALL TEAMS A.I.I. CHAMPIONS

KYLE TREMBLEY & MORGAN HALL
CONTRIBUTOR & STAFF WRITER

The past three Saturdays marked several momentous occasions for Cal State San Marcos Athletics.

Saturday, Nov. 5

At 9 a.m., the Cal State San Marcos men’s and women’s cross-country teams swept the A.I.I. Cross-Country Conference Championships for the fourth time at their home track. In the men’s 8K race, 8th ranked CSUSM had a team total score of 24 points and time of 2:06:48. Cal State San Marcos’ Danny Lyon, returned from a mid-season injury to run an excellent time of 24:46, paced the field of 65 runners.

On the women’s side, 2nd ranked and reigning two-time NAIA National Champion Cal State San Marcos placed six runners in the top nine finishers and won the 5K with 22 points and team time of 1:29:38. Suzanne Cornwell ran 17:27 to win the A.I.I. Championship by 13 seconds.

At 7:30 p.m., in Oceanside, the men’s basketball team began its inaugural season with a convincing and resounding win at home over Vanguard University. The score: 86-61. Over 1,200 fans at MiraCosta College cheered on the team and saw guard Tim Steed throw down a thunderous dunk in the first minutes of the game.

Saturday, Nov. 12

At 2 p.m., the day began with CSUSM Volleyball competing at the A.I.I. Conference Tournament in Phoenix, AZ. Having already won their first two matches, the second-seeded Cougars easily blew by Mayville State in straight sets, setting up a championship game rematch with top seed La Sierra. CSUSM Volleyball played again that night at 10 p.m.

At 4 p.m., across the country, Cal State San Marcos women’s soccer kicked off the A.I.I. Championship game. Despite playing in hostile territory, the 13th ranked and top seeded Cougars persevered to take a 1-0 decision with a Kaleigh Dodson goal in the first half. The win earned CSUSM women’s soccer its third conference title in four seasons and a trip to the NAIA National Championship Opening Round.

Only thirty minutes later, the CSUSM men’s soccer team took its turn on that very same field to play for their first-ever A.I.I. Conference Championship. Facing a very tough Thomas (GA) squad, the top-seeded Cougars put together an effort that Coach Ron Pulvers called “arguably the best performance of any team I’ve ever coached.” CSUSM won the match 3-1, giving Cougar men’s soccer the conference title and sending them to their first-ever NAIA National Championship.

At 9 p.m., in Las Vegas, the CSUSM men’s basketball team was looking to make a statement against the 2nd ranked team in the NAIA, Mountain State (WV). Coach Saia’s team has been electrifying in its first season and defeated Mountain State by 10 points to earn a signature victory for the young program.

Tipping off just thirty minutes after the men’s team, the women’s basketball team was in Oceanside playing its home opener against Master’s College. Coach Sheri Jennum’s Cougars came out looking energized, organized and hungry for a win. CSUSM took an early lead, never surrendered and won 58-52, earning the program’s first-ever regular season victory.

Finishing the night at 10 p.m., Coach Andrea Leonard’s volleyball team hit the court once again against La Sierra in the A.I.I. Championship Game. Out for revenge from their previous defeat, the Cougars took the first two sets with relative ease, 25-16, and 25-18. La Sierra won the third 22-25, but on the strength of outside hitter Lindsey Sappington’s best match of the season, CSUSM took an extremely tight fourth set 25-23 to capture the conference championship in their first-ever season.

Saturday, Nov. 19

Two weeks after clenching the A.I.I. Cross-Country Conference both the men’s and women’s cross-country teams competed for NAIA National titles in Vancouver, Washington. The men’s team would come in 2nd and the women’s team won its third consecutive NAIA Women’s Cross- Country National Championship.

Sadly, all good things came to an end. Both the men and women’s soccer teams and women’s volleyball team lost in the opening round NAIA playoffs. The men’s soccer team lost 1-4 to Azusa Pacific and finished the season with a 10-7-1 record. The women’s soccer teams lost 0-1 in double-overtime vs. Westmont College and finished their season 15-4-1. After a dominant first season, the women’s volleyball team’s season officially ended with a 3-1 loss to #18 Point Loma.

The Cougar Chronicle The independent student news site of California