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No Time Like Present to Start Building Golf Legacy

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No one is calling trophy shops for bids yet, or sizing up the guys for those nifty conference championship rings. Or, dare they dream, national championship hardware.

No, they’re not there yet.

Still, what happened last week at Wood Ranch Golf Club in Simi Valley has given the Long Beach State men’s golf team something to feel good about. And that’s a lot more than recent history has provided.

The 49ers won their first team tournament since 1992, defeating a 12-team field in the Cal State Northridge Matador Classic. Immediately afterward, 49er Coach Bob Livingstone was full of pride and optimism.

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“We’re really happy and very satisfied,” Livingstone said. “This shows that we are competitive and that we’re moving in the right direction.”

Long Beach, in its season-opening tournament, shot 890 in three rounds, finishing three strokes ahead of runner-up San Diego State. Long Beach got it done by starting fast, fading in the middle and regrouping just in time.

“We played really well in the first round and were just absolute manure in the second round,” Livingstone said. “We were 23 [strokes] worse in the second round and the kids were tired. Luckily we held on, so I guess you can say that we’re happy, satisfied . . . and relieved.

“This was a long time coming.”

The team victory was the first in Livingstone’s career at Long Beach. That’s a three-year run of 23 bad experiences before last week.

Livingstone, though, took the job with his eyes open. The 49ers’ history in this area is less than glory-filled.

Their 1992 victory came against an eight-team field that wasn’t particularly strong, Livingstone said. And that ended a stretch of futility that had started in 1988.

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“Well, just glancing through the books, we really don’t seem to have too many records on golf,” said Randy Franz, 49er media relations director.

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Young gun: Freshman Terry Noe, a former standout at Sunny Hills High, finished third individually behind teammate John Wurzer and runner-up Ryan Fowlkes of the Matadors.

Despite finishing three strokes behind Wurzer at 222, Noe was the most consistent 49er, Livingstone said. He shot 71, 78 and 73 over the tournament’s three rounds.

Noe is the centerpiece of Livingstone’s plans to turn the 49ers around.

“Our superstar freshman played really well,” Livingstone said. “We’re very pleased that Terry chose us.”

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Star still rising: Nothing Misty May (Newport Harbor High) does surprises anyone because the volleyball player is so talented, everyone expects the unexpected.

But Coach Brian Gimmillaro said May’s current level of play exceeds even her past accomplishments. May, last season’s Big West Conference freshman of the year, averages more than 10 assists per game. Moreover, she is third in the nation in hitting percentage at .512.

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“Misty has just been super,” Gimmillaro said.

Freshman outside hitter Anja Grabovac will miss the rest of the season because of a knee injury.

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(Young) road warriors: To test his 15-member team, which includes six sophomores and three freshmen, Gimmillaro scheduled every women’s volleyball match in September on the road. Long Beach doesn’t return to the Pyramid until Oct. 2. The results? The 49ers are 12-0 and ranked sixth in the latest USA Today/American Volleyball Coaches Assn. poll.

“It’s all part of the plan to get them seasoned,” Gimmillaro said. “It’s good to get them used to a hostile environment.”

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Coming Attractions

Here’s a look at key events this week for Long Beach State:

* Women’s volleyball tonight and Saturday. The 49ers (12-0) play at Cal State Fullerton tonight and at UC Irvine Saturday. Both matches are scheduled at 7 p.m. Long Beach leads both all-time series, 50-4 and 35-3, respectively.

* Water polo against Stanford today and Pacific Saturday. The 49ers (1-3) were off last week and used their break to prepare for this usually tough in-state trip.

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