Daily 49er

You will survive LBSU sports

A guide to better understanding LBSU Athletics in the upcoming fall semester.

Josh Barajas, Sports Editor

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Men’s Basketball

Senior guard A.J. Spencer is coming back from a knee injury that sidelined him for all of the 2014-15 season.

File Photo | Daily 49er
Senior guard A.J. Spencer is coming back from a knee injury that sidelined him for all of the 2014-15 season.

The men’s basketball team at LBSU is the crowned jewel of the school’s athletic program for a good reason. Since LBSU lacks a football team, basketball is only rivaled by the Dirtbags – the baseball team – as the most popular sport on campus.

However, what sets basketball apart from baseball at LBSU is a thing called the NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Championship, otherwise known as March Madness. Nothing swells school pride more than having the basketball team participate in the tournament, and that is what the 49ers aim for at the start of every season.

LBSU hasn’t cracked the tournament since 2012 and hasn’t won a game in over 40 years. But, by constantly looking for NBA caliber players, like former 49ers Casper Ware and James Ennis, and playing one of the toughest non-conference schedules in the country every year, head coach Dan Monson has his team in position to succeed at every Big West tournament.

This year is no different. LBSU will play power houses BYU, San Diego State, UCLA, Oregon, Arizona and the defending National Champions Duke to get ready for Big West play. Don’t be alarmed if the 49ers enter league play with an atrocious record, keep in mind that their level of competition does more good than harm.

Some players to watch for this season are senior guard A.J. Spencer, junior guard Branford Jones, junior forward Travis Hammonds and junior guard Evan Payne. Spencer was huge off the bench two seasons ago and was poised to start for the 49ers last season before a season ending knee injury sidelined him for the entire season.

Jones and Hammonds, two of the top five scores for the 49ers last season, will join Spencer as returning veterans. Payne is a transfer from Loyola Marymount University and actually tore up LBSU two years ago as a freshman. The former Lion is a natural scorer, averaging 18 points per game last season.

 

Women’s Volleyball

Returning players setter Jenelle Hudson, middle blocker Ashley Murray and outside hitter Nele Barber will look to knock off Hawaii for the second year in a row in 2015.

File Photo | Daily 49er
Returning players setter Jenelle Hudson, middle blocker Ashley Murray and outside hitter Nele Barber will look to knock off Hawaii for the second year in a row in 2015.

The women’s volleyball team, like many other programs at LBSU, owns a rich tradition of success. The 49ers got a taste of that success as recently as last season.

The 49ers went 16-0 in the conference on their way to the school’s 13th Big West Championship. Senior Jenelle Hudson, the 2014 Big West Player of the Year, sophomore Ashley Murray, the 2014 Big West Freshman of the Year, and 31st year head coach Brian Gimmillaro will all be returning to the team in 2015.

Last year’s title was the first championship the 49ers were able to snatch away from new conference rivals Hawaii since the Rainbow Warriors returned to the Big West in 2012.

Despite LBSU’s outstanding season, this season’s preseason coaches’ poll almost unanimously picked Hawaii to reclaim their dominance over the conference. LBSU was the only other team to receive a first place vote.

LBSU and Hawaii will meet at the Walter Pyramid on Nov. 6 and that will be a game you won’t want to miss.

 

Women’s Basketball

Junior guard Anna Kim will lead an experienced backcourt in trying to replicate or improve upon last season’s impressive 22-10 record.

File Photo | Daily 49er
Junior guard Anna Kim will lead an experienced backcourt in trying to replicate or improve upon last season’s impressive 22-10 record.

There is a second basketball team at LBSU that deserves as much attention as the first. The LBSU women’s basketball team will also tip off this fall, and after the season they had last year they are a must-watch.

The 49ers started last season by going an incredible 17-2, which included a 15-game winning streak. They ended the season with a record of 22-10 and missed out on the NCAA tournament, but did participate in the National Invitational Tournament as a consolation prize.

Head coach Jody Wynn will return for her seventh season in charge of the 49ers, and she’ll need to bring a young team together to repeat the heroics of last season. LBSU will rely on their experienced backcourt consisting of junior guards Anna Kim and Raven Benton and senior guard Chantel Dooley.

 

Women’s Soccer

Junior goalkeeper Ashton McKewon will look to earn her second Big West Goalkeeper of the Year award.

File Photo | Daily 49er
Junior goalkeeper Ashton McKewon will look to earn her second Big West Goalkeeper of the Year award.

On the heels of the United States Women’s National Team winning the World Cup this summer, the LBSU women’s soccer team should have some inspiration going into the 2015 season and so should you. The 49ers, led by 12th year head coach Mauricio Ingrassia, are no strangers to championships and NCAA tournaments.

After a rough seventh place finish in 2013, LBSU returned as a protagonist in 2014 but fell short of making the NCAA tournament. The 49ers made it all the way to the Big West Tournament championship game only to fall to hated-rival Fullerton 2-1.

This season, many of the players that endured that 2013 season as freshmen and sophomores will be returning looking for a shot at their first Big West title, and some of them looking for their first NCAA tournament action after barely missing out last season.

Some important players returning in 2015 are the 2014 Big West Goalkeeper, Midfielder and Freshman Player of the Year recipients Ashton McKeown, Mimi Rangel and Ashley Gonzalez, respectively. The trio led the 49ers in every major statistical category and will look to do the same this year and the next.

The game to watch will be the league play opener against Fullerton on Oct. 4 at George Allen Field.

 

Men’s Water Polo

Senior defender Zacchary Kappos, LBSU’s leading scorer with 66 goals in 2014, and the rest of the men’s water polo team will try to finally win a Mountain Pacific Sports Federation title.

File Photo | Golden Bears Athletics
Senior defender Zacchary Kappos, LBSU’s leading scorer with 66 goals in 2014, and the rest of the men’s water polo team will try to finally win a Mountain Pacific Sports Federation title.

Water polo doesn’t get much attention at LBSU. In fact, water polo doesn’t get much attention in the United States. However, out of all the sports the fall semester has to offer, the men’s water polo team is the only team that is nationally ranked.

At No. 3 in the nation, the 49ers attract some of the best talent in the country and the world in water polo. However, as part of the toughest conference to play water polo in, the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation, the 49ers are hardly considered favorites to win championships.

That doesn’t mean the 49ers don’t try to spoil the title hopes of the powerhouses in the conference like UCLA and Stanford. Last season, the 49ers upset the Bruins in the MPSF tournament semifinals and lost a thriller to Stanford by a score of 9-8 in the championship game.

LBSU’s men’s water polo players are some of the best at what they do in this country. They are part of the elite, like watching Duke and Kentucky in college basketball and Alabama and Oregon in football.

Leave a Comment

If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a gravatar.




*

Navigate Right
Navigate Left
  • You will survive LBSU sports

    Commentary

    Chugg it at the Nugget: Episode 4

  • You will survive LBSU sports

    Commentary

    The Mighty Ducks are here to stay

  • You will survive LBSU sports

    Commentary

    COLUMN: One for the road, but not enough to compete

  • You will survive LBSU sports

    Commentary

    COLUMN: A long and winding road for the Dodgers

  • You will survive LBSU sports

    Commentary

    Game on, phones down

  • You will survive LBSU sports

    Commentary

    Hop on the Ram-wagon

  • You will survive LBSU sports

    Commentary

    Chugg it at the Nugget – Episode 2

  • You will survive LBSU sports

    Baseball

    Dodgers’ trade deadline strategy creates exciting way to lose

  • You will survive LBSU sports

    Commentary

    Chugg it at the Nugget – Episode 1

  • You will survive LBSU sports

    Commentary

    COLUMN: Nine solutions to Long Beach State’s identity crisis