Her collegiate volleyball career came to an end Dec. 5 when Cal State Northridge lost to USC in the first round of the NCAA Division I playoffs, but Nancy Nicholls is not necessarily through competing in the sport.
The 6-foot middle blocker from Cleveland High will attend a tryout camp for the World University Games team at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo., from Jan. 21-24, and she is seriously considering playing on the women's professional beach volleyball circuit on a regular basis next summer.
"I feel like I've learned as much as I can on my own," Nicholls said of beach volleyball. "If I want to advance further, I need to hook up with a coach who can teach me about beach volleyball and train me for it."
Nicholls also plays for Northridge's basketball team and she has another season of eligibility remaining in that sport.
The Cal Lutheran men's basketball team has evolved from a one-man gang in the span of a year. Last season, Kingsmen guard Jeff DeLaveaga led all Division III players with a 29.5 scoring average. Simon O'Donnell, with a 15.4 average, had the second-highest average on the team. They were the only Kingsmen to average in double figures.
This season seven players are averaging 10 or more points, led by Damon Ridley (13.4). Down the list: Jared Byrne (11.1), Kelly Crosby (11.0), Paul Tapp (10.9), Derrick Clark (10.6), Dave Ulloa (10.4) and Rupert Sapwell (10.1).
Cal Lutheran basketball opponents can be forgiven for checking their wallets after a game.
The Kingsmen average 22.6 steals a game, led by Ridley (4.4), Sapwell (4.0) and Ulloa (3.8).
BACK TO THE FUTURE
Canyons, two-time defending Western State Conference South Division champion, has struggled to a 6-8 record because it rarely has been able to put its best team on the court.
The Cougars played their first nine games without starting center Jason Joynes, an All-Western State Conference second-team selection as a freshman. Joynes was back for only one game before leading scorer Rasaan Hall sustained a broken nose in the consolation final of the Cuesta tournament Dec. 12.
Hall, a sophomore from Crespi High, was averaging 16.2 points and 5.8 rebounds.
Although he did not play in the Cypress tournament last week, Hall is expected to return to Canyons' lineup when the Cougars play host to a tournament, starting Monday.
Joynes' absence was not because of injury. The 6-foot-9 sophomore from Adelaide, Australia, returned home in November because of an illness in the family. While he was away, his visa expired, preventing him from returning to the United States until he could be issued a new one.
Although Joynes is still working his way back into top playing shape, he averaged 18 points and 11 rebounds a game in the Cypress tournament.
The week of Jan. 4-11, most eyes in the U.S. soccer community will turn to . . . Cal Lutheran?
Well, the eyes of coaches will.
More than 150 coaches will travel to the CLU campus in Thousand Oaks to take part in the U.S. Soccer Federation licensing program.
Bob Gansler, national director of coaching for USSF and former national team coach, and Berhane Andeberhan, Stanford women's and under-19 national team coach, will attend and administer the weeklong testing program.
They will teach and test high school coaches, club coaches and even some Division I college coaches in tactics, anatomy and physiology.
Staff writers Kennedy Cosgrove and John Ortega contributed to this notebook.