Recreation pursuit took a back seat during a rare three-day break in the middle of Cal State Northridge’s football season. The Matadors have a bye this week, but wide receivers coach Mark Lovett has been spending his time in the emergency room and in and out of the doctor’s office.
Lovett suffered a scratched cornea in his right eye while celebrating Joe Vaughn’s blocked punt and Duc Ngo’s 35-yard return for a touchdown in the Matadors’ 39-0 victory over Sonoma State on Saturday.
Lovett extended his hand for a high-five as Ngo came off the field, but the pumped-up Ngo missed, poking Lovett in the orb with his index finger.
"(Ngo) was so fired up, he threw his hand up like a karate chop and I got right in the way,” said Lovett, currently the victim of teasing from coaches and players.
Note of irony: Even for night games, Lovett wears sunglasses but the one time the former Arizona State running back did not sport the Hollywood look, he paid for it.
The juggling continues for the Matador soccer team.
Keith West, Northridge’s second-leading scorer, will be moved from forward to midfielder, Coach Marwan Ass’ad said.
Sarkis Banyan, a freshman from Glendale High, moves from midfielder to forward. Raja Hawa, a freshman from Thousand Oaks, will spell Banyan.
West has been inconsistent as a scoring threat and Ass’ad hopes the move will capitalize on his hustle and athletic skills.
West has converted on five of 30 shots. Banyan has two assists, but has not scored in 25 attempts. Hawa has two goals in nine shots, plus an assist.
Sharon McAlexander, the women’s volleyball coach at Ventura, anticipated another strong season for the Pirates but things haven’t worked out that way.
Ventura, which plays at Pierce today, is 1-3 in Western State Conference play (1-4 overall) after being swept by Santa Barbara (3-1) on Tuesday, and the team’s ineffectiveness already is taking its toll on McAlexander.
“It’s been a real hard start,” she said. “We have great potential, but the girls are not playing well together. It’s frustrating as a coach.”
The Pirates have six returning players who McAlexander hoped would help the team challenge for the conference title. The Pirates finished second behind Cuesta last season but have dipped to the bottom half of the standings this season.
“It’s not even a rebuilding year,” McAlexander lamented. “It’s a struggling year.”
The men’s cross-country team at Glendale is the two-time defending Western State Conference champion, but Coach Eddie Lopez was nonetheless surprised with the Vaqueros’ large margin of victory in the first WSC conference meet last Friday.
Glendale placed five runners among the top 10 to easily defeat runner-up Canyons, 30-105.
“I thought the scores would be a lot closer,” Lopez said. “But we got some big performances from certain people. Nacho (Delgado) did a great job for us. He really came through.”
Delgado, a freshman from Glendale High, placed second with a time of 20 minutes 36 seconds over the four-mile course. He had been the Vaqueros’ No. 6 runner in Glendale’s opener at the San Diego Mesa Invitational two weeks earlier.
Around the Campuses. . .
* The CSUN football team surprised defensive captain Victor Myles by presenting him with the game ball Saturday night. Myles spent most of the week at the hospital bedside of his cancer-stricken father, Encell Rodgers. On Tuesday, Rodgers lapsed into a coma.
* A statistical check by Northridge officials revealed that Robert Trice carried 23 times for 261 yards, two more yards than previously reported. Trice’s effort set a school record and is the best rushing total in the NCAA Division I-A and I-AA this season. Trice, ranked 11th in rushing in I-AA with a 119-yard-per-game average, was honored as American West Conference offensive player of the week and team offensive player of the week.
* Moorpark running back Gil Carrillo and Valley quarterback Sean Fitzgerald were named offensive players of the week in the Western State Conference, and Pierce cornerback Ron McKelvey was named defensive player of the week. Carrillo carried 21 times for 158 yards and two touchdowns in Moorpark’s 34-21 victory over Santa Monica. Fitzgerald completed 17 of 34 passes for 244 yards and two touchdowns in Valley’s 23-16 victory over Glendale. McKelvey had three tackles and two interceptions in Pierce’s 23-0 victory over Harbor.
* Outside hitter Jill Enright of the Moorpark women’s volleyball team ranks third in the WSC in kills with 39. Jan Adeva of Canyons is second in the conference in kill percentage at .372, behind Santa Barbara’s Jennifer Grant (.422). Judi Gamboa of Ventura is third at .286.
* Valley is ranked seventh and Moorpark is 10th in the latest poll by the Southern California junior college sports information directors.
* Missy Clements set a Matador Gymnasium record with 30 kills for the Northridge women’s volleyball team against Fresno State on Tuesday. The effort is second-best in team history. Heather Hafner holds the school single-match record with 31 kills against UC Riverside in November, 1984.
Staff writers Fernando Dominguez, Theresa Smith Munoz and John Ortega contributed to this notebook.