2014 CSUB fall sports preview

By Josh Bennett
Sports Editor

One of the biggest parts of being in college is supporting the school’s athletic teams. Since tickets are free for all students, and parking is now free for everyone, there is no reason why the students of CSUB cannot go to any of the games this season. Here are some short previews of the teams that will be playing this fall season.


The ’Runner volleyball team is coming off a very successful season. After falling in the finals of the Western Athletic Conference Tournament, the team found itself without a head coach as Coach Jolene Shepardson left CSUB to become head coach at San Jose State. In her place is new Director of Volleyball Giovana Melo, who has a successful pedigree in the junior college ranks at Western Nebraska Community College.
“I think every year is a new year and this year we are making some changes so things are a lot different for them,” said Coach Melo on if there is any pressure or momentum from last season’s successes. “It is a long process.”
The ’Runners, who were ranked fifth in the WAC preseason polls, will be led by senior middle blocker Molly O’Hagan, who was awarded WAC preseason all-conference honors.
The team has already had their season begin, as they were runner-ups at the Sam Houston State Tournament, defeating Mississippi State and Louisiana-Monroe before falling to eventual tournament winner Sam Houston State.
The ‘Runners then participated in the Flyer-Raider Invitational in Dayton, Ohio where the team dropped all four matches they participated in over that weekend.
“Honestly, I just want us to get better every day,” said Coach Melo on team goals for the season. “We have so much to learn.”
The first home game for the ’Runners will be September 19 and 20 as they host the Roadrunner Classic at the Icardo Center.

Men’s Soccer

The CSUB men’s soccer team also lost their head coach to San Jose State during the offseason, as longtime coach Simon Tobin also went to San Jose State to leave the door open for new Head Coach Richie Grant. Grant has a successful resume of his own, as he is the all-time winningest coach in Memphis soccer history. He also has two Conference USA Coach of the Year awards while heading that program.
“As a coach, it’s about putting together a program that excels in the classroom, nationally known on the field and where we’re graduating top-level people. Those three things are really important to me and I think they all go hand-in-hand,” said Coach Grant. “You can only call on your own experiences that you’ve gained on the path that you’ve been down. I’ve brought Gerry [Cleary] alongside me, who’s a very experienced head coach to come in and assist with reaching the goal we had with the program.”
The ’Runners were picked third in the WAC preseason poll. Two student-athletes were also awarded with All-WAC honors; senior midfielder Joe Masumiya and junior midfielder Christian Duarte.
The team opened up the season strong as they traveled to San Diego State and left with a 1-0 victory. CSUB earned two more shutouts to open their season by defeating Howard 5-0 and IPFW 3-0, to open the season with three straight wins. The next home game for the team will be on Sunday, Sept. 28 against Sacramento State.

Women’s Soccer

Another team and another new coach for the ’Runners’ former head coach Melissa Phillips resigned over the offseason, causing new head coach Gary Curneen to step in. Curneen was the assistant coach at Cincinnati last season, and previously coached at Wingate University for 11 years.
“We are looking to change the culture of the program by developing successful habits in our training, academics, and game performances,” said Coach Curneen.
The team looks to improve from last season’s disappointing season, and being ranked fourth in the WAC preseason poll seems to be a step in the right direction. Sophomore forward Hedda Regefalk was also awarded with All-WAC honors.
The team has struggled to get out of the gates to open up this season, dropping five of their first six contests, only mustering up a 1-1 draw against Northern Iowa. of their difficult out of conference schedule.
“We showed outstanding commitment and resilience on Friday night against a nationally ranked program (against Gonzaga). It was huge growth for our team and showed us what we are capable of when everyone is moving in the right direction.”
“(The Eastern Washington game) was nowhere near the same level and we got nothing out of the game as a result. The challenge now becomes that consistency and we must be prepared to commit ourselves to being successful every single time we come together.”
The team won’t have a home game until Oct. 3 against Utah Valley, but Curneen expects the team to be prepared.
“I think a student can expect to see an honest, hard working group of players trying to put CSUB Women’s Soccer on the Division I map.”
“The energy that this group can drive is phenomenal and can be pretty cool to see up close. I hope excitement and goals are on the agenda too!”

Cross Country

The only fall sport to not replace their head coach was the Cross Country team, and Director of Cross Country Marcia Mansur-Wentworth expects the team to improve upon last year’s results.
The top five runners for the team are:
Redshirt senior Megan Thompson, who coach Mansur-Wentworth said “had great success on the track and is translating that to solid workouts thus far.”
Sophomore LaShya Morgan – “who lead each race for the us last year as a freshman, is showing progress and maturity in her workouts.  She has always trained hard but we hope that she can translate into good races this season.”
Sophomore Ariana Mariscal – “was two time all-conference on the track in the 800m and has put in a good summer and will be a much improved runner this fall.”
The final two scorers in CSUB’s top five are freshman Angel Valdez, and junior Orieth Rodriguez.
The team finished last at their first meet, the Mark Covert Classic in Brea, but many personal times were improved upon, and the scoring team as a whole improved by 23 seconds, compared to last year’s result. The ‘Runners also finished last at the Fresno State Bulldog Invitational 4k but improved upon past times yet again.
The team’s next meet will be the Mustang Challenge 5k in Santa Clarita on Sept. 20.