With five starters from a team that finished 19-6 and advanced to the second round of the 1992 Southern Section playoffs, the Crescenta Valley water polo team is favored to win its second consecutive Pacific League championship.
The Falcons lost Troy Nickell and Jason Berry, but they still have two of their top scorers, all-league driver Ryan Bittle and hole man Romas Kudirka.
The 6-foot-6, 235-pound senior Kudirka was selected to the national 16-and-under youth team in August. He will represent the United States at a tournament in Canada in December.
The Falcons, who were 17-4 during the summer, are ranked fifth in a Southern Section Division II preseason poll.
“We’ll be trying to utilize our team speed and play solid team defense,” second-year Coach Pete Loporchio said. “We’ve had some success, but I’ve tried to tell our players that we’re either going to step up and play with the better teams or stagnate where we are.”
The La Canada girls’ volleyball team, under Coach Tami Aldrich, is trying to repeat its success of 1992 when the Spartans advanced to the semifinals of the Southern Section Division IV playoffs.
The Spartans are expected to be led by seniors Tiffany Neumeier and Cate Weaver.
The Marshall High girls’ volleyball team once again figures to be among the best in the City Section.
Under Coach Wendy Triplett, who also coaches the Barristers’ girls’ basketball team, Marshall has become a perennial playoff participant.
Marshall lost several key players from the 1992 team, but the Barristers are favored to win the Northern Conference and contend for the 3-A Division title.
The Glendale College football team opens its season Saturday at home against Citrus.
Glendale, under fifth-year Coach John Cicuto, was 8-3 in 1992 and second in the Western State Conference Northern Division behind Moorpark.
Glendale should have a good running game with sophomores Pathon Rucker and Jerome Casey. Rucker, a former All-Southern Section back at Glendale High, gained 1,040 yards and scored 17 touchdowns last season for the Vaqueros. Casey, a former All-City performer at Sylmar High, played at Western New Mexico in 1991.
Other key Glendale players include sophomore quarterback Chris Ray, sophomore linebacker Mike Stewart, defensive back Andy Cleland and defensive lineman Tai Takapu.
The Glendale College men’s and women’s cross-country teams open their seasons Friday at the San Diego Mesa Invitational at Balboa Park.
The Vaqueros will participate in the Santa Monica Invitational Sept. 17.
Glendale opens Western State Conference competition on Sept. 24 at Santa Monica.
The Glendale men are coached by Ed Lopez and the women by Gretchen Lohr.
The Glendale women’s volleyball team opens its season Sept. 17 at home against Pierce at 7 p.m.
The Vaqueros are coached by George Rodriguez, who is in his third season.
Occidental opens its football season Sept. 18 against Azusa Pacific.
The Tigers, under Coach Dale Widolff, finished 5-4 in 1992. Occidental is led by senior running back Brian Madlangbayan, who averaged 7.8 yards a carry last season, and punt returner Andrew Wind, who led NCAA Division III schools by averaging 18.7 yards a return.
More than half of the 70 players who reported for fall workouts are freshmen or transfers. Occidental probably will be competitive, but the Tigers are not expected to challenge Redlands for the championship of the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.
The Occidental men’s and women’s cross-country teams will travel to Fresno for a season-opening invitational Sept. 18.
The Tigers, coached by Bill Harvey, will participate in meets at Riverside and Stanford before opening Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference play Oct. 16. The opponent and site have not been determined.
PREP ATHLETE OF WEEK
Romas Kudirka, Crescenta Valley--Kudirka, a 6-6, 235-pound senior on the Crescenta Valley water polo team, was selected to the national 16-and-under youth team in August.
He will represent the United States at a tournament in Canada in December.
A golf tournament that will benefit the Hemophilia Foundation of Southern California will be staged Oct. 18 at Oakmont Country Club in Glendale. Information: (800) 371-4123. . . . A silent-bid auction for sports memorabilia that will benefit the Glendale Adventist Medical Center will be staged Sept. 26 at the Ritz-Carlton Huntington Hotel in Pasadena.