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January 25, 2011 > East Bay water polo opens up with split

East Bay water polo opens up with split

By Giovanni Albanese Jr.

While Cal State University-East Bay's athletics as a whole continue to struggle, the Lady Pioneers water polo team continues to be the bright spot for an athletic program still making the transition to NCAA.

Picked to finish third in Western Water Polo Association by the conference's coaches, East Bay began its 2011 campaign on Friday, Jan. 21, against No. 12 ranked University of California-Santa Barbara in Hayward.

After getting off to a sluggish start - trailing 10-2 going into halftime - the Pioneers, guided by the tutelage of coach Lisa Cooper, made a hard push in the second half, outscoring UCSB 7-4 (5-2 in the fourth quarter) only to fall short in the end, 14-9. Leading the way for the Pioneers was sophomore Claire Pierce with five goals. Freshman Sarah Grunberger chipped in with two goals of her own.

A day later at the Cal Invitational in Berkeley, East Bay took on Cal Baptist and rebounded from its season-opening loss, topping the Lancers 8-5 to improve to 1-1 on the year. Pierce led the Pioneers again, netting four in the winning effort. East Bay outscored the Lancers in each of the first three quarters - 2-0, 2-1 and 4-2 - before holding on in the fourth for the three-goal victory.

After two weeks off, the Lady Pioneer water polo team will return to action on Feb. 4 against Sonoma State in Hayward in the first conference match of the season.

As East Bay's water polo team's hopes are high beginning a new season, the same can not be said for the men and women basketball teams, who are winding down disappointing seasons. Last week, both clubs went 0-2.

On Thursday, Jan. 20, East Bay's hoops teams hosted Cal Poly Pomona. The women started the night with a 59-41 loss to fall to 1-14 (1-10 in CCAA). Sarah Finlay led the team with 10 points while Marlene MacMillan led the Pioneers in boards with 11.

"We didn't bring the emotional energy necessary to compete with one of the top programs in the CCAA," Pioneer coach Suzy Barcomb said.

For the men, they were dropped by Pomona, 69-60. Six Pomona players were in double figures to pace the Broncos to victory. Three East Bay (2-13, 0-11) players - Will Freedman (15), Mark Samuels (13) and Roshun Wynne (11) - had double-digit scoring nights, but in the losing cause.

On Saturday, East Bay was again host to another CCAA opponent, Cal State San Bernardino, and left its home floor with a loss: the women, 71-48; and the men, 74-51.

In the Lady Pioneers (1-15, 1-11 CCAA), Lauren Lucchesi was the lone bright spot, scoring 15 points. Brianna Terrance also added 10 in the loss.

"We must learn to raise our level of competition in our practice so that we can be better prepared to be successful during the games," said Barcomb.

As for the men, as they dropped to 2-14, still seeking its first CCAA win of the season, now 0-12, it was a one-man show with Wynne leading the way in his 15-point performance. East Bay was outscored by 16 in the first half (36-20) but played tougher in the second, only being outscored by seven (38-31) en route to the 23-point defeat.

"If our guys keep practicing hard," claimed Pioneer coach Will Biggs after the game, "the wins will come in the second half (of the CCAA season)."

And in East Bay's swim meet at the Chapman Invitational - a four-team event - the Lady Pioneer swimmers finished third with 294 points.

In the meet, Murphy Wimer set a program record in the 200 IM with a time of 2:12.04, which was 11 seconds better than the nearest competitor on Saturday. Wimer broke a 23-year-old record set by Julie Radecke (2:13.67) in 1988.

"Murphy's effort in the 200 IM was truly outstanding," said Pioneer swim coach Ben Loorz.

East Bay athletics returns to action this week. For times and locations of all games this week, log onto the Tri-City Voice Sports website: http://sports.tricityvoice.com.

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