Pirates set for playoffs

The Orange Coast College women's volleyball team, the defending state champion, is the No. 7 seed in the Southern California Regional playoffs and will play host to Golden West in a first-round match tonight at 7.

Coach Chuck Cutenese's Pirates (15-5), who won their last five regular-season matches to finish third in the Orange Empire Conference with a 10-4 record, have beaten the Rustlers (9-12), who finished sixth in the OEC, twice this season.

OCC swept Golden West, 25-23, 25-8, 25-10, in a Nov. 5 road match. The Pirates earned a 22-25, 25-22, 27-25, 26-24 home triumph over the Rustlers on Oct. 13.

The Pirates are led by sophomore setter Kimya Jafroudi, the Most Valuable Player of the state tournament in 2009. Jafroudi has 648 assists this season.

Additional OCC standouts include freshman Aimee Melone (181 kills), freshman Katie Bergen (156), and freshman Katherine Wirchner (152). Bergen has 29 service aces to rank third among OEC players.

Maddie Baird, a freshman libero, has 319 digs to lead the Pirates and rank No. 2 in the conference.

A victory would propel the Pirates into the regional quarterfinals on Saturday against either Long Beach City (12-10) or No. 2-seeded Los Angeles Pierce (24-2).

OCC swept Long Beach in its season opener and was swept by Pierce, 25-16, 25-13, 25-10, in their only meeting this season on Sept. 25.

Cypress (21-4), the OEC champion, is the top seed. El Camino (23-2) is seeded No. 3 and Pasadena City (20-4) is the No. 4 seed.

— From staff reports

UCI seeded fifth

UC Irvine is seeded No. 5 and will play host Stanford in the quarterfinals of the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation men's water polo tournament that begins Friday.

The Anteaters (16-7), ranked No. 5 in the nation, will square off against the No. 3-ranked Cardinal (13-7), the No. 4 MPSF seed coached by former Corona del Mar High head man John Vargas, at 3 p.m. Friday.

Stanford topped the Anteaters, 7-2, in their only meeting this season, Nov. 7 at Stanford.

The UCI-Stanford winner would meet either top-seeded Cal (21-2) or No. 8-seeded Pepperdine (9-15) in one semifinal Saturday at 1:30 p.m. The championship game is Sunday at 3 p.m.

The MPSF Tournament champion receives an automatic berth into the four-team NCAA championships, Dec. 4-5 at Cal.

The Anteaters are paced by senior twin brothers Brandon and Matt Johnson. Brandon leads Coach Marc Hunt's team with 42 goals. Matt, a goalie, has 169 saves.

— From staff reports

Ex-Anteater honored

Megan Braun, who played two seasons of women's water polo at UC Irvine, has been named a 2011 Rhodes Scholar.

Braun, a former goalie who earned a history degree from UCI in July, will enter a two-year master's program at Oxford University in England.

She is the first UCI student to be a Rhodes Scholar. The scholarship, created in 1902, recognizes high academic achievement, integrity of character, a spirit of unselfishness, respect for others, potential for leadership, and physical vigor.

"Megan is the most extraordinary human being I have ever met," UCI women's water polo coach Dan Klatt said.

Braun was president of the Associated Student of UCI her last two years at the school.

— From staff reports

Attaway recognized

UC Irvine senior men's soccer defender Corey Attaway was named third-team academic All-American by ESPN, as voted upon by the Collegiate Sports Information Directors of America.

Attaway helped the Anteaters (14-3-3) win the Big West Conference regular-season title, their second in three seasons, on his way to first-team all-conference recognition.

In addition to contributing heavily to the team's 11 shutouts, he chipped in five goals, including three game-winners, as well as three assists.

The Anteaters were ranked as high as No. 7 nationally and were ranked No. 1 in the West Region for six straight weeks.

— From staff reports

UCI's Johnson lauded

UC Irvine senior goalie Matt Johnson was named Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Player of the Week in men's water polo for the week ending Nov. 14.

Johnson had a season-high 17 saves in a 7-6 conference win over UC Santa Barbara Nov. 13.

Johnson, a three-year starter, helped the No. 5-ranked Anteaters finish fifth in the MPSF. They will open MPSF Tournament action Friday.

He has 169 saves and a 7.96 goals-against average this season for UCI (16-7).

— From staff reports

Peters closes well

Newport Harbor High product Kasey Peters, a senior quarterback at Rocky Mountain College in Montana, was named Frontier Conference Offensive Player of the Week the last two weeks of the regular season.

Peters earned the honor after leading the Battlin' Bears to a 49-17 triumph over Montana State Northern on Nov. 6. He completed 24 of 29 passes for 327 yards and four touchdowns and also rushed for 47 yards and one touchdown.

He was also honored after he spearheaded a 34-28 win at Eastern Oregon that clinched sole possession of second place in conference for RMC (6-5, 6-4 in conference). Peters threw for 276 yards and two TDs, while rushing for 83 yards and another TD. He completed 19 of 29 passes.

— From staff reports

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