Tennis Teams Set Foundation for Next Year


Next year cannot come soon enough for the women’s tennis teams at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and Cal Poly Pomona.

Although San Luis Obispo and Pomona fell short in their bids for the NCAA Division II title, both might well be in the final four again next season.

San Luis Obispo finished second to UC Davis at Industry Hills on Sunday, and Pomona finished third. But neither team will lose a player to graduation.


Pomona’s hopes for a third consecutive NCAA title ended in a 5-2 defeat by Davis on Saturday. Pomona finished 14-8.

“There are always expectations in America to repeat or ‘three-peat,’ and I always have high expectations,” Pomona Coach Ann Lebedeff said. “But we have mostly new players--four out of the top six had never been to the national championships--but we get everybody back next year.

“We were worried about not making the playoffs a month ago. I’m happy with how far we went. You can learn from losing. The best way to learn is to go through the tournament.”

Pomona’s roster includes five juniors, two freshmen and a sophomore, so there might be a greater sense of urgency for success next season.

In contrast, SLO seems to have plenty of time. In singles competition, the Mustangs go with four freshmen and two juniors. Those six lost in the championship matches to UC Davis, 5-1.

Chris Epright, San Luis Obispo’s coach, said the lack of experience didn’t hurt his team, and the Mustangs’ 22-9 record seems to back him up.


Against Davis, Epright said, his players were “overplaying, trying to force too much.”

“I don’t really consider (the lack of experience),” Epright said. “It usually takes freshmen a while to adjust, but we have been playing well all year.”


Doug Barnett, the offensive coordinator of Azusa Pacific’s football team for the last five years, is leaving the school to become the head coach at Rocky Mountain College in Billings, Mont.

Barnett was also the softball coach at Azusa Pacific and directed his team to a school-best 37-15 record this season. His four-year softball record is 125-75, with two Golden State Athletic Conference titles and two National Assn. of Intercollegiate Athletics District 3 titles.

Barnett attended Azusa Pacific, where he played defensive line in football and ran track. He was a fifth-round draft choice of the Rams in 1982 and played with them for two seasons. He also had brief stints with the Atlanta Falcons and the Washington Redskins.


Azusa Pacific reclaimed the NAIA District 3 titles from Point Loma Nazarene in both men’s and women’s track and field Saturday.

Azusa Pacific men had won 10 consecutive titles before Point Loma Nazarene dethroned the Cougars last year. On Saturday, Azusa Pacific returned the favor, winning easily, 269-168. Osmond Ezinwa won the 200 meters in a wind-aided 20.98 seconds for the Cougar men.


For the Azusa Pacific women, the wait was a little longer. Although they had won seven of the previous 11 meets, finishing as runner-up in the four others, Point Loma Nazarene’s women had won the last three. But freshman Michelle Campbell won the 200 meters, the 100 high hurdles and anchored the winning 400-meter relay in leading the Cougars to a 214-144 victory over the Crusaders.

The NAIA national meet will be run May 20-22 at Abbotsford, British Columbia. The Azusa Pacific men have won nine of the last 10 national titles.


Bruise update: Southern California baseball players were hit by a record number of pitches this season.

Cal Poly Pomona’s Brian Dennis was hit again last weekend, for the 19th time. That set a Division II record. Before this season, the record was 17, set by Devlin Mull of Ft. Hays State in 1992.

Cal State Dominguez Hills’ Greg Bergeron, who broke that with 18 two weeks ago, did not get hit again and finished second to Dennis.

In the NAIA, Azusa Pacific outfielder Steve Allyn was hit five times this season, which gave him that organization’s career record, 39. Allyn was hit a record 34 times last year.


College Division Notes

In a Title IX equality move, Southern California College will field women’s soccer and tennis teams next year. Bob Pacieznik has been hired as the soccer coach. Pacieznik coached and will continue to coach boys’ soccer at Santa Ana High, where he led the team to a Sunset League title this season and a second-consecutive spot in the CIF Southern Section semifinals. Rob Pearson, SCC men’s tennis coach, probably will coach the women’s tennis team, according to Athletic Director Rob Prettyman. . . . Colleen Marcum has been selected as the women’s soccer coach at Redlands. Marcum previously coached at Lynbrook High in San Jose and replaces Paul David Seldis, who will become an assistant for both the men’s and women’s teams at UC Santa Cruz.

Tony Barbone, Azusa Pacific baseball coach, was voted the NAIA District 3 coach of the year for the fifth time in eight seasons. He has a record of 255-127-1 and seven consecutive 30-victory seasons. Tom Nelson has the best record in Azusa Pacific history (325-223). Barbone played for Nelson in 1975 and ’76. The Cougars are 33-7-1 this season, and will be the host team for the NAIA District 3 playoffs starting Thursday. Southern California College will play Point Loma Nazarene at 11 a.m. and Azusa Pacific will play The Master’s at 3 p.m. The Cougars won the GSAC title and are the fifth-ranked team in the NAIA.

Cal Lutheran will hold the NCAA West Regional in softball on Friday and Saturday. Buena Vista of Iowa, La Verne and Cal Lutheran will play in the double-elimination tournament. . . . Christ College Irvine will change its name to Concordia University on July 1.