Briefs: Musselman commits to UCLA

Corona del Mar High junior girls' water polo goalie Alex Musselman has verbally committed to UCLA, she confirmed Wednesday night.

Musselman was the Newport-Mesa Dream Team Player of the Year this past winter for the Sea Kings. The two-year varsity starter earned a reputation as one of the best goalies in CIF, making 331 saves for the Sea Kings (21-8) and sparking the counterattack with her precise passes.

She was also named the Pacific Coast League's Most Outstanding Goalie for league champion CdM, helping her team advance to the CIF Southern Section Division I semifinals. She was a first-team All-Division I selection.

Musselman said she loved UCLA during her visit to the campus, one of several unofficial visits she said she made to schools across the country.

"I wanted a school that had a strong combination of academics, water polo and campus life," she said.

UCLA is the alma mater of both CdM girls' head coach Sam Bailey and assistant Brittany Fullen. Fullen won four NCAA championships with the Bruins as a two-year starter in goal, part of a run that saw UCLA claim five consecutive national titles from 2005 through 2009.

UCLA is the No. 4 seed in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation tournament that begins Friday. Musselman is the third local girls' water polo player to commit to the Bruins this year, joining Newport Harbor seniors Sarah Wilkey (goalie) and Mary Rose Wight (defender).

— Matt Szabo


Valerio singled out

UC Irvine's Ronnie Valerio was named Big West Conference Freshman of the Year in women's golf.

Anteaters junior Lalita Patipaksiri and sophomore Michelle Park join Valerio as second-team all-conference honorees.

Valerio was named Big West Golfer of the Month in November and ended the season with a 76.38 scoring average.

Paptipaksiri had a 76.72 average and finished fourth in the Big West Championships.

Park had four top-10 finishes and finished with a 76.14 average.

— From staff reports


Kearney earns honor

Chris Kearney helped the UC Irvine men's tennis team win the Big West Conference regular-season title with a 5-0 record to earn Big West Athlete of the Week honors.

With the winner clinching the Big West title and No. 1 seed in this week's league tournament, UC Irvine captured a 5-2 victory at Cal Poly on Saturday. Kearney, at No. 1 singles, defeated No. 104-ranked Andre Dome 6-2, 6-3 to help his team's cause.

Earlier in the week, Kearney nearly pulled off an upset victory over the nation's top-ranked singles player from USC. Kearney, owning a No. 41 national ranking, took Steve Johnson to three sets before falling 6-4, 6-7 (4), 10-2.

— From staff reports


'Eaters Collyer repeats

UC Irvine senior Cortney Collyer was named Big West Conference Player of the Week in women's water polo for the second straight week.

Collyer lifted the Anteaters to an 8-7 road victory over No. 16-ranked Long Beach State. Collyer scored twice on three shots and added two assists and one steal. She also drew two exclusions.

The two goals raised her season total to 35. She also leads the team with 30 assists and 49 steals, and ranks third on the team with five field blocks. She has drawn 28 exclusions while being excluded 14 times.

Collyer and the No. 10-ranked 'Eaters are the top seed in the Big West tournament. They get a first-round bye and play either Pacific or UC Davis in a semifinal on Saturday at 3:30 p.m.

The final is scheduled Sunday at 2:30 p.m.

— From staff reports


UCI's Hernandez lauded

UC Irvine senior Brian Hernandez was named to the College Baseball Foundation's National All-Star Lineup this week after stellar performances at the plate and on the mound.

Hernandez batted .556 in four games, recording 10 hits, including two doubles while earning a win and a save to help UCI win three of four games win its third Big West Conference series.

Hernandez was three for five in a 12-inning win against San Diego on April 19 and pitched the final two innings to collect the win and improve to 3-0.

In the bottom of the 12th, Hernandez delivered a clutch two-out single to set the stage for UCI's two-run walk-off home run.

The third baseman recorded a career-high four hits in the series opener against UC Davis, including an RBI single. He pitched a perfect ninth inning, striking out two, to earn his eighth save of the year.

Entering Friday, Hernandez boasts a .353 batting average and tops the Anteaters with 53 hits. He is second with eight doubles and tied for second with 24 RBIs.

Hernandez, who had not pitched since his senior year at Alemany High, is 3-0 and second in the Big West eight saves. He owns a .090 earned-run average and has 16 strikeouts in 20 innings.

— From staff reports


Wetzel inducted

Bob Wetzel, who guided the Orange Coast College men's volleyball program to four state titles and seven conference championships in 15 seasons as coach, was recently inducted into California Community College Men's Volleyball Coaches Assn. Hall of Fame.

Wetzel compiled a 185-61 record from 1978 through 1992, a winning percentage of .752. He was also coach of the Pirates club team from 1972 through 1976.

Wetzel's record in conference play was 124-25 (an .832 winning percentage).

— From staff reports


Ex-Pirate honored

Former Orange Coast College men's volleyball standout Andrew Pizula, a junior libero at USC, was one of 247 recognized recently as All-American strength and conditioning athletes of the year by the National Strength and Conditioning Assn.

Pizula, a second-team All-Pacific Coast Conference libero for OCC in 2008, when he helped the Pirates reach the state title match, was one of two Trojans singled out for the award.

Pizula started 16 matches for the Trojans in 2010, when he set a school record by averaging 3.15 digs per set.

— From staff reports

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