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2013-14 SCV college season preview

Posted: August 14, 2013 9:31 p.m.
Updated: August 14, 2013 9:31 p.m.

The Master's College outside hitter Sam Dougherty was a 2012 NAIA All-American second-teamer.

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College of the Canyons and The Master’s College stopped nowhere short of state and national championships last season in sports.

How about an encore performance?

Yes, the 2012-13 season will be a lot to live up to for both colleges in many ways, but some of the best athletes for each school are in line to come back and try to follow up on an immensely successful season for Santa Clarita Valley college athletics.

College of the Canyons

Baseball

The Cougars were impressive last season, enjoying their most impressive campaign since 2003 and reaching the Super Regional round of the California Community College Athletic Association Southern California playoffs.

COC finished conference play as Western State Conference, South Division runners-up and could see the return of All-Southern California player Quincy Quintero come spring, but will have to do without conference player of the year Alex Bishop, who departed for Long Beach State University.

Men’s Basketball

The men’s basketball team won a conference title last season, but in order to repeat, the Cougars are going to have to replace a lot of talent.

Gone are Jaylen Bland, Tyler Barber, Terrez Scott and Ron Harris off head coach Howard Fisher’s roster.

David Horst returns as an All-Conference honorable mention last season, and will look to keep the Cougars on top of the WSC South.

Women’s Basketball

The women’s team will be led by Shawn Kolani and Kiki Matthews, who will try to restore order after the Cougars came up short of winning an eighth straight WSC South title. Matthews is expected back after suffering an injury last season and could be a big boost to the team’s chances.

Cross Country

The women’s cross country team struggled last season to a sixth place finish in conference play. But the return of All Conference runner Jessica Gill, who ran in the Southern California state championship meet last season, will be a boost for the Cougars.

For the men’s team, the team will be without state championship qualifier Alex Ruther, but will see the return of Chase Wheeler, who also ran at state, to the fold.

Football

The football team is in a transition year in 2013 with first-year head coach Ted Iacenda taking the helm for the departed Garett Tujague.

Last season was a struggle for the Cougars, who lost four of their first five games and barely earned a postseason berth into the So Cal Bowl, where they lost 24-21 to Santa Ana.

The team will also have to deal without All-Conference wide receiver Tim White, who will gray-shirt this season.

The team returns some top talent, though, led by tight end Dan Vear and line backer Joey Cicoria.

In addition, two former Cougars, running backs Matt Bowen and Travion Tucker, will rejoin the fold after taking a year off from the team.

All eyes will be focused on COC this season to see how the program changes in Iacenda’s first year.

Men’s Golf

The men’s golf team was the top team on campus last season for College of the Canyons.

The men won a state title to go along with their conference championship.

All-State golfer Sidney Wolf returns to the fray.

The Cougars also picked up a top golfer from Norway in freshman Jonas Dahl.

Women’s Golf

The College of the Canyons women’s golf team said goodbye to standout golfer Kris Grimes after she won the Southern California Championship this past season.

The team was fifth overall at the event and went on to finish fourth at the CCCAA Women’s Golf State Championship.

Sophomores Madison Lomas, Isabelle Muschamp, Chelsea Reed and Kaylie Sadlon could all return with experience this season.

Men’s Soccer

The men’s soccer team struggled last season on its way to a seventh place finish in the Western State Conference, South Division. Brandon Davy provided a bright spot by earning All-conference first-team honors as a freshman and should provide some power this season.

Women’s Soccer

The women’s soccer team loses a lot of top talent off last season’s conference championship team, and will have to fill the void this year.

So far, coaches around the country expect them to do just that. The National Soccer Coaches Association of American released it’s preseason rankings on Wednesday, and the Cougars are ranked No. 7 in Junior College Division III.

Helping out will be sophomore Saugus High graduate Stacey Atwater, who earned Second Team All Conference honors last season.

Softball

On the softball diamond, the Cougars excelled, winning the Western State Conference, Blue Division and advancing to the Super Regionals for the second straight season. The team will have to do without the departed Savannah Gutierrez and Kimmie Lockhart, who were both key in their run last season. Among impact sophomores who could return to give the Cougars a boost are West Ranch’s Alyssa Hernandez, Saugus’ Karlee Bickford, Golden Valley’s Alyssa Rocha, Daniella Jimenez, Ashley Sandoval-Colon and Casey Scheller.

Track and Field

Some of COC’s top athletes from a year ago were freshmen, and they could all come back for big seasons this coming spring. Tim White was the most accomplished athlete as he won a state title in the triple jump and went on to win a junior national championship in the same event over the summer. His freshman teammate Anthony Fowler broke a record in the 400-meter and qualified for the state finals. On the women’s side, sprinter Jessica Gill may return for her sophomore year.

Volleyball

The College of the Canyons volleyball team is another squad that lost a lot after the 2012-13 school year, but the Cougars will welcome the return of Saugus graduate Ashley Pagan.

Setter Jordan Carter and libero Cassidy Fitzpatrick also return to help the Cougars.

The Master’s College

Baseball

It will be hard for The Master’s College to top a school-record 44 wins in 2012 and a second all-time appearance in the NAIA World Series. The good news is the Mustangs bring back NAIA All-American first-team outfielder Steven Karkenny. Other expected returners in 2013 will be All-Golden State Athletic Conference players Jonathan Popadics and Tommy Kister.

Men’s Basketball

Though the team lost two of its top three scorers in Leif Karlberg and Devin Dyer to graduation, younger players like Jason Logan, Derrick Fain and Chris Patureau return with valuable minutes under their belts. The team is looking to rebound from a sixth-place finish in conference.

Women’s Basketball

TMC will try to build on last year’s appearance in the NAIA National tournament, the team’s first since 2008. It will help to have NAIA All-American second-team forward Jacquelyn Marshall coming back, along with returning starters Whitney Best and Zoe Scott.

Cross Country

The men’s team will have to move past the decorated era led by a pair of three-time NAIA All-American runners in John Gilbertson and Anthony Pizzo. The team will go for its fourth straight GSAC title and fourth straight NAIA National Championship apperance. On the other hand, the women’s team will have 2012 All-Americans Karis Frankian and Hannah Kellerman to work with this year.

Men’s Golf

Due to players committing school violations late last season, the Mustangs won’t be able to compete for an NAIA National Championship this season. That doesn’t mean the team can’t win though, as former All-American first teamer Thane Ringler returns along with three other experienced seniors.

Men’s Soccer

A young team last season made for an early end to the year for TMC, which brings back a big portion of the team and a promising signing class.

Women’s Soccer

Gone are All-GSAC players Kristyn Richards and Shea Richards, but All-Conference goalkeeper Ilyssa Espiritu returns as a senior as TMC hopes to improve upon a fourth-place finish in conference a year ago.

Track and Field

A school-record 10 athletes qualified for the NAIA National Championship this past year, four of them earned All-American honors and one of them, John Gilbertson, was a national champion. Gilbertson graduated, as did All-American hurdler Ayla Draper. But two other All-American distance runners return in Frankian and Kellerman. The men’s team has four national qualifiers from last season coming back as well.

Women’s Volleyball

The women’s volleyball team had a strong season last year, reaching its first NAIA National Championship tournament in program history under third-year head coach Bobby Blanken. He returns as GSAC Coach of the Year, while senior outside hitter Sam Dougherty returns to lead the Mustangs as they look to repeat last season’s success.

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