Sunday, August 29, 2010

It's a free futbol Sunday! (or, the Pacific Women's Soccer 2010 outlook!)

It's 8:30 on a Sunday Morning and while most on the West Coast might still be sleeping...yours truly is up and at 'em for the day.  But why might you ask?  Cause its a free futbol Sunday! (and hey, if it's free, I'm there!).  The Spot himself (ok ok, more like the company who pays his bills, Barnes & Noble) will be co-hosting the Pacific Women's Soccer Team's annual "Community Night" as they take on the Lady Hornets of Sacramento State at 6pm under the lights (by the 2nd half at least!) of UOP's Stagg Memorial Stadium.  Rumor also has it that a certain "Big Red Dog" by the name of Clifford will also be making a special appearance...and yes kids, the rumor is true...feel free to grab him by the tail all you want!.

Which leads us to the Pacific Women's Soccer team itself.  I could reinvent the wheel and give my season preview on the team...but hey, its way to early in the morning for that!  So I give you the Stockton Record preview of this year's team.  To make a long story short...Coach Keith Coleman is excited about the prospects of this year's team and it looks like he has good reason to be.  He returns midfielder Marciela Padilla, who scored 8 goals last year even though she missed more than half the season with injury, along with first team conference players Angelica Figueroa and Kylee Ah Choy.

After going 1-1 in Hawaii to start the season (win over the Univ. of Hawaii, loss to Wagner Univ.), Pacific starts an 8 game stretch which probably gives them one of the toughest non-conference schedules in the West Coast, including games vs. perennial power Santa Clara University and four PAC-10 foes (Stanford, Cal, Oregon, Oregon State).

Will this year result in the Tiger's first NCAA tournament apperance since 1998 (When they beat Cal to advance to the 2nd round)?  That we'll have to wait to see...but in the meantime....if you're in the Stockton area...come on out to Pacific tonight at's fun, it's free...what a better way to end your weekend!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

2010 Fall Preview....Pacific Tigers Golf

What's that?...a Tiger on the golf course? no no...put away the paparazzi cameras and groupies need not apply!   I'm not talking about the Tiger we all think of when it comes to golf...I'm talking about the Pacific Tiger's Golf Team.  Not only are they snazzy dressers (seriously, who doesn't love the sweater vest action!) but they're pretty good on the links too!  So without further is your Fall 2010 Pacific Tigers Golf Preview....

With Head Coach Brandon Goethals’ first recruiting class at Pacific all seniors, the Tigers should be favorite to win the Big West Conference for the first time in more than a decade. The Tigers finished runner-up last year in the Big West Conference and return their entire team, while perennial powerhouse UC Irvine lost Conference POY John Chin. The Tigers play one of the strongest West Coast schedules, including trips to Washington’s Husky Invitational, Stanford’s Palm Springs’ Prestige, and the Callaway Match-Play in Georgia featuring the Top 16 teams in the nation this spring. 

The Tigers are lead for the fourth year in a row by TJ Bordeaux, who starts off the year by playing in his second US Amateur in his home state of Washington. Local product Patrick Kucich (St. Mary’s) is also a team leader for the third year in a row and expect huge contribution from senior Alex Johnson (team and indiviudal win last year) and 2010 US Amatuer qualifier Alex Edort (sophomore). A good recruiting class for the Tigers in 2010 adds freshman Matt Ogden of Salinas and San Diego native Alex Wagner.

The year is also highlighted by the Pacific Invitational in November at Brookside Country Club. The invitational is regarded as one of the top five collegiate tournaments in the country thanks in no small part to incredible amenites, the 3-day format and the hype surrounding the popular event. 

This is the make it or break it year for the Tigers as they have steadily improved over the past five years since Goethals took over, but have yet to taste postseason play as a team or indiviudally. Two victories in two years, plus two more individual wins in the past three years give the Tigers plently of experience as the core of the team has been together for the past four years. The Tigers have crossed numerous hurdles as a program but are still looking to establish themselves as the West Coast force that head coach Brandon Goethals envisoned when he took over in 2005. 

Wednesday, August 18, 2010 spin me right 'round baby right round....

Yes, that's how the Spot feels after today's WAC/MWC rat-a-tat-tat...for those who haven't been able to keep up with the breakneck pace of things...let's recap....

  • BYU pretty much ups and says they're leaving the MWC, going independent in football, a la Notre Dame, and landing in the WAC in all other sports.
  • Conventional wisdom has the WAC staying together to create a very strong Basketball Conference with BYU, Utah St., New Mexico St., Nevada and Fresno St. being the power players in the new and improved WAC for men's hoops.
  • the MWC turns around and invites both Nevada and Fresno St. to join....
  • Nevada and Fresno St. say "see ya" to the WAC, showing that football is driving the bus here, giving the MWC a fairly strong football conference with Boise St., TCU, Nevada and Fresno St. the cream of the crop football wise.
Are you still with me?...good, cause now we have this little snippet from an ESPN article on today's events...
         "WCC commissioner Jamie Zaninovich told early Wednesday the league would be interested in pursuing BYU for all sports except football. Zaninovich said BYU would fit well with the other church-based institutions in the eight-team league."

That would leave the West Coast Conference with 9 teams...10 would be ideal for travel parings...hmm...I wonder what other private university on the West Coast could be the ideal fit for the WCC to bring it to an even 10?...wait for it....wait for it...yes, that's right....the Alma mater of your's truly, the Pacific Tigers.  A WCC in men's hoops with Gonzaga, BYU, St. Mary's, Pacific, and in good years a team like USD, Portland and Santa Clara...easily the best mid-major league in the nation...possibly creeping up into major status, and definitely a regular multi-bid league.

Where does this leave a now 6 team WAC?  Looking towards the Big West and possibly poaching UC Davis and Cal Poly SLO.  Where does that leave the Big West?  Unfortunately for the remaining schools...nearly dead.

But that's neither here nor there.  As for now, things are looking up for Fresno State Football, and might possibly be looking up for Pacific Athletics as a whole...hold on to your seats everyone, this is far from over....

...Just when you thought the dust had settled...

Should I stay or should I go now?  That's the question Fresno State has to be asking itself this morning...just when you thought all the dust from conference re-alignment had settled...BYU decides to do this.  BYU has decided to go the route of another major religion based university (i.e Notre Dame) and go independent in Football and join the WAC in all other sports....and yes, those screeches you hear are from all the Boise State fans who are now asking, "What the &*#@?!?!?!"

The decision by BYU actually makes sense.  The Mormon Church gives them a following to allow them to be a draw in football and as a result give them a much easier time putting together a high profile schedule a la Notre Dame.  The fact that BYU also has it's own television network will also be appealing to the football schedule makers.  Just where would BYU schedule in football?  California is an obvious choice....the strength of the BYU football program along with the large Mormon population in California makes scheduling games vs. the likes of USC, UCLA, Cal and Stanford a no brainer.

Now this is the part where Fresno State comes in.  BYU as an independent in football would allow for a greater chance to have the Cougars come to Bulldog Stadium, and vice versa, thus helping Fresno State in it's flagship sport.  BYU's move to the WAC in all other sports only strengthens the WAC, especially in the other flagship sport, Men's College Basketball.  A WAC roster of BYU, Utah State, New Mexico State, Fresno State and Nevada automatically makes it one of the tougher mid-major conferences in the nation.

But...but....but....what if the Mountain West now comes calling and wants Fresno State for expansion?  It would be a better league in football (for the time being....I'm sure that TCU is looking for an out clause as we speak) but in all other sports, it would now be a step down, especially in Men's Basketball.

So when all is said and disappointed as Fresno State fans were that they weren't included in this summer's games of conference musical chairs...looks like things will come out alright for them in the end after all...go figure

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Another Saturday Night at "The Wagon"

If it's Saturday Night Soccer that can only mean one thing...the Spot was out at "The Wagon" once again to see the FC Gold Pride take on the Washington Freedom.  With a playoff birth and at least one home play off game guaranteed, the Pride are looking to close things out and clinch first place and the automatic spot in the WPS Championship Game (and the right to host the Championship Game)...alas...that will have to wait for a future date as the Freedom hung on by the hairs on their chinny-chin-chins for a 0-0 tie.  Although it was the third straight scoreless game for the Gold Pride (and third straight tie), Coach Albertin seemed upbeat that the ladies played much better today than the previous two weeks.  Per usual, here are the post-game interviews...this week with DC Coach Jim Gabarra, Gold Pride and USWNT Midfielder Shannon Boxx and Coach Albertin...enjoy!

DC Coach Jim Gabarra

Shannon Boxx

Coach Albertin Montoya

'Till next time Spot fans...

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

College ball (of all sorts) is back!

Well Spot Fans, after a bit of a break (to now become an official resident of the City of Stockton!) its time to get back on the horse.  Since we're nearing the middle of August that means that all sorts of College Ball is just around the corner!  In the coming week...your's truly will take a look at the upcoming seasons for:

Fresno State Football
Pacific Women's Soccer
Sacramento State Football
UC Davis Football
Pacific Volleyball
Pacific Golf

How will they do?  Is there a Bowl Game in store for the Bulldogs this year?  Can Pacific Volleyball make it back to the NCAA Tourney?  Will the Pacific Golf Team continue to be the best dressed outfit this side of a David Beckham sideline sighting? (I want one of their sweater vests please!)....only one way to find out! Stay tuned for more from the Spot!

Monday, August 2, 2010

A new College for the Valley...

There's a  new College here in California's Central Valley.  Now before you, it won't be trying to join the Pac-Whatever they call it now....or trying to get a ticket to March Maddness on a yearly fact it won't even field any athletic teams.  Why is the Spot bring up this new College then you may ask?  Because if you're lucky enough, one day, your sons or daughters...nieces or nephews...grandchildren even...may be taught, or for our purposes here at the Sports Spot, coached, by one of it's graduates.

Teacher's College of San Joaquin, located in Stockton, just recently celebrated it's one year anniversary (word on the street has it that the anniversary cake was quite good!).  Created for those College Graduates seeking to enter the teaching profession (hence the name...of course!), Teacher's College seeks to be an innovative, collaborative institution that seeks to help reform California's current K-12 educational system (side note here....our current K-12 public ed. system can use all the help it can get!) by making sure that its graduates are successful not only in a traditional teaching environment, but also in carrer oriented and other multiple educational pathways.

Ok, enough of the talk that sounds like it belongs in a glossy catalog.  Why exactly is the Spot writing about a graduate college that will most likely have it's only athletic event be a slow pitch softball game at the annual school picnic? Because as mentioned before, their graduates will mostly likely be our future elementary, Jr. High and High School coaches to thousands of our son's and daughter's.  Because having a College that teaches its student's to think outside the box can only be a good thing for our future generation.  And because as a guy who coached High School Basketball for 3 years, I know that more often than not, Coaches can have a greater impact on our school age children than almost any adult they encounter not named mom or dad. We are mentors and role models for our future generation..

Need more proof?  Take it from the NFL's Brian Waters, Offensive Lineman for the Kansas City Chiefs, who nominated the NFL's 2008 Teacher of the year, George Solis, Spanish Teacher at Waxahachie High School in Texas:
          "“I had heard of George Solis before I took Spanish. I think everyone in Waxahachie has   heard of him. He migrated from Mexico and split his time at Waxahachie High School in the classroom and in the cotton fields. Like most in this area of Texas, he needed to work in order to help his family make ends meet. His unwavering support and confident candor has taught me and countless other Waxahachieians about more than just the language of Spanish. He taught us to give our all and how to be successful. Most importantly, he taught us how to accept the consequences of our actions.”

Or take it from your's truly, and one of my biggest influences growing up (and former Hilmar H.S. History Teacher and Vice-Principal) my High School Basketball Coach, Alan Peterson.  Coach Peterson accepted me for the semi-talented, highly eccentric, ball player that I was.  But more importantly, taught me that there is more to growing up, and being an adult, than just who had the most points at the end of four quarters.  He taught us that there are much more important things in life, like family, and the type of person you are.  That it's about doing what's right not only in front of a packed gym, but also when no one else is looking.  Those are lessons that I somehow lost along the way, but was lucky enough to remember, and reapply, not only to myself, but also to those that I coached for my three unforgetable years (yes, the good, the bad and the ugly kinda unforgetable) as "Coach Lee".

So there you have it Spot Fans.  If you're as excited about Teacher's College as I am...then look 'em up on Facebook and become a fan...follow them on twitter (@teachcollegesj) and get their latest up to the minute news...and be confident in knowing that they are producing the coaches, teachers and role models that our next generation will be looking to for role models.

"Till next time....