COLLEGE NOTEBOOK : Transfer Is a Tribute to Late Father

Times Staff Writer

When Regan O'Hara graduated from Louisville High in 1984, her parents wanted her to attend Loyola Marymount.

O'Hara, who wanted to play basketball wherever she went, wasn't offered enough scholarship money, however, and she opted instead for Cal State Northridge, where she established herself as one of the premier forwards in the California Collegiate Athletic Assn.

When her father, Thomas, died last month of a heart attack, O'Hara decided to transfer to Loyola Marymount as a tribute to him.

"That made a big impact," she said of her father's death. "It was the final blow. He would have never pushed me into something he thought I didn't want to do, but I know that going to Loyola is what he would have wanted."

O'Hara, who just completed her sophomore year, said she had wanted to transfer to Loyola. Her father's death was only one of the reasons behind her decision.

"I didn't like the atmosphere at Northridge," she said. "The school itself just didn't do it for me. Coming from a small high school, Northridge was just too big. Loyola is a smaller school and it's Catholic. That was part of it, too. My mom is really happy now, and so am I."

NCAA rules require O'Hara to sit out next season before resuming her career in the 1987-88 season.

Had she stayed at Northridge, she would have had a chance to break almost every career record.

After only two seasons, she is 12th on the all-time scoring list with 605 points. She needed 660 in her final two seasons to break CSUN assistant coach Paula Moran's mark of 1,264 points. She was 10th in career average at 11.4 points a game. She was this year's leading rebounder at 8.2 a game.

Northridge Coach Leslie Milke expected O'Hara to move to the top of those lists before she left CSUN.

"Regan is going to break every record before she's done here," Milke said during the season.

O'Hara was named to the All-CCAA team during both of her seasons as a Lady Matador and was a key factor during the 1985-86 season, when Northridge posted a school record 20-9 mark.

The Lady Matadors continued on to the NCAA Division II West Regionals, where they lost to national champion Cal Poly Pomona in the championship game.

Forward Denise Sitton, who will be a senior next season, is the only starter left from that 1985-86 CSUN team. Rene Loch, Marcella Nino and Tara Flanagan have all completed their careers.

"It's very disappointing to see her go," Milke said of O'Hara. "That's one less person we'll have with experience next season. But she was only coming here to play basketball. That's not what we wanted and that's not what she wanted."

Add Northridge women: The last batter Cal State Northridge pitcher Kathy Slaten faced in her college career did what 1,536 had done before--strike out.

Slaten, a four-time All-American, finished her college career with a won-lost record of 123-33-1. She pitched 21 no-hitters--including two perfect games--had 97 shutouts, a career earned-run average of 0.24 and 1,536 strikeouts in 1,222 innings.

Now, however, it is CSUN Coach Gary Torgeson who must strike out in search of people to replace Slaten and three other seniors. Those four contributed to the Lady Matadors three national championships and last week's second-place finish to Stephen F. Austin of Texas in the NCAA Division II World Series in Akron, Ohio.

Slaten, catcher Jamie Gray, outfielder Terri Lamoree and designated hitter Nancy Lucero all will be gone next season.

"Next season is going to be interesting," Torgeson said. "The leadership will be coming from a different group of people. We've got some talented people coming and all of them should have an immediate impact. "

New players include Debbie Dickmann, an All-Southern Section pitcher from Newbury Park High, catcher Reggie Lyons from Sacramento City College and infielder Leslie Plank from Burbank High.

They will join a group of experienced players who, once again, figure to challenge for the national title.

Barbara Jordan, CSUN's two-time All-American center fielder, will return for her senior year. This season, Jordan set three single-season school records for batting average (.397), hits (73) and walks (20).

Left fielder Beth Onestinghel will return after a sophomore year in which she batted .301 and set a school record with 32 RBIs. Lamoree will probably be replaced in right field by Priscilla Rouse, who hit .257 in a part-time role this season.

Next season's infield will feature three players who were named to the all-tournament team in Akron, including first baseman Kelly Winn who batted .267, drove in 28 runs and set a school record with 8 doubles this season. Third baseman Barb Flynn and shortstop Lori Shelly also return for their senior years. Kim Bernstein, who split time at second with Lucero this season, will be a junior.

The Lady Matadors' pitching staff returns Delanee Anderson and Lisa Martin, both sophomores. Anderson was 15-3 this season and had a streak of 90 consecutive innings without yielding an earned run. Martin (13-2) had eight shutouts. Desiree Molnar (1-1) will also help fill the void left by Slaten.

"Coming in second this year is going to help us next season," Torgeson said. "The pressure to repeat is gone. Next year's team can play without having to worry about it."

Add softball: Joining Slaten and Jordan on the All-American team were Kecia Gorman and Jill Hancock of Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. Gorman is from Thousand Oaks High; Hancock attended Monroe High. Both were named to the second team.

Coming home: Each of the four baseball teams competing in the NCAA West Regional today at UCLA's Jackie Robinson Stadium--UCLA, Loyola Marymount, UC Santa Barbara and Hawaii--prominently feature Valley-area players.

UCLA is being led toward the College World Series by Pacific 10 Conference co-most valuable player Torey Lovullo of Montclair Prep. Catcher Todd Zeile, from Hart, was also an All-Pac-10 selection for the Bruins. Scott Cline and Charlie Fiacco, who led Camarillo to the Southern Section 4-A championship game last season, also will play.

First baseman Steve Polk of Simi Valley and College of the Canyons played an important role this season as Loyola Marymount won the West Coast Athletic Conference title.

Polk, a senior, hit .363 with 8 home runs and 52 runs batted in. He was a first-team All-WCAC selection. Teammate Damien Bonenfant of Crespi also will help the Lions try to reach the College World Series for the first time in the school's history.

Vince Teixeira terrorized pitchers in the Pacific Coast Athletic Assn. and paced UC Santa Barbara to the conference title. Teixeira hit 15 home runs and had 69 RBIs, both school records.

Todd Crosby, a second baseman from El Camino Real, and Paul List, an outfielder from North Hollywood, both start for Hawaii. Crosby was an All-Western Athletic Conference selection.

Whaling away: Kevin Whalen of Cal State Dominguez Hills was named to the NCAA Division II All-West Region team after he slugged two home runs against Cal State Sacramento last weekend. The Toros lost to Sacramento, however, three games to one.

Sacramento State will open the Division II World Series today in Montgomery, Ala., against Tampa. Sacramento's Rocco Buffolino, who played at Montclair Prep, is expected both to pitch and to be a designated hitter. Whalen once played for Pierce.

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