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Category: Volleyball

Sinjin Smith on life and volleyball lessons from Coach Al Scates

While writing a story on UCLA men’s volleyball coach Al Scates, who has won 19 NCAA titles and is in his 50th and last season, I heard some wonderful stories and got some great insights from two of his former players, John Speraw and Karch Kiraly.

But deadline arrived before I could include some observations from the legendary Sinjin Smith, who won two NCAA titles while playing for UCLA and was an all-America honoree twice. Smith, whose jersey was retired by UCLA, later went on to team with Kiraly on the beach and became an enthusiastic promoter of beach volleyball.

Smith had some interesting thoughts on Scates that I thought were worth passing along, so here they are.

Incidentally, Scates’ Bruins have four home matches coming up at the John Wooden Center: Friday against Stanford, Saturday against Pacific, Wednesday against Cal State Northridge and Jan. 27 against UC Santa Barbara.

From Sinjin:

Al has set the standard for all coaches in any sport. It will be very difficult for anyone to have the longevity combined with the success that he has had.

Continue reading »

Talk about pressure -- who's going to replace Al Scates at UCLA?

Volleyball_640
UCLA Athletic Director Dan Guerrero will have many duties this coming school year, but one of his most important will be finding a replacement for men's volleyball coach Al Scates, who's scheduled to retire after 50 years as coach and 19 NCAA championships.

It's a tricky hiring, because Scates is coaching one final season and several of the likely candidates are involved with their own teams.

The No. 1 possibility to succeed Scates might be UC Irvine coach John Speraw, who has guided the Anteaters to two NCAA titles in nine seasons and is a former UCLA player and assistant coach.

Then there's the greatest UCLA volleyball player of all time, Karch Kiraly, who's working as an assistant coach for the U.S. women's national team.

Other possible candidates are longtime UCLA assistant Brian Rofer and UCLA women's coach Mike Sealy, who led the Bruins to a national title as a player.

If hiring a replacement for Scates doesn't produce enough drama, there's the season ahead as he tries to go out with a final national championship in 2012.

ALSO:

UCLA's Tyler Rahmatulla suspended, out for rest of baseball season

Where does former USC recruit Lamont 'MoMo' Jones' exit at Arizona leave the Wildcats?

-- Eric Sondheimer

Photo: Karch Kiraly in 2006. Credit: Branimir Kvartuc / Associated Press

USC volleyball: fifth-ranked UC Santa Barbara upsets top-ranked Trojans, 3-1, in NCAA Final Four semifinal match

Ucsb-logo_200 The fifth-ranked UC Santa Barbara Gauchos upset the top-ranked USC Trojans, 29-27, 24-26, 25-15, 25-18, in a national semifinal match Thursday at Penn State University in State College, Pa.

The Gauchos (18-14), who are making their fifth Final Four appearance, advance to play the winner of Thursday night's second semifinal between Nο. 10 Penn State (24-6), thе second-seeded team, аnԁ Nο. 9 Ohio State (24-6), thе third-seeded team.

Thе championship game wіƖƖ bе at 4 p.m. PDT Saturday and wіƖƖ be broadcast οn ESPN2. UC Santa Barbara has been the NCAA runners-up four times, most recently in 1988, but has never won an NCAA title.  

USC (23-4) was the top-seeded team in the NCAA Final Four while UC Santa Barbara is seeded fourth. Coincidentally, the Trojans were upset, 3-2, in their last match, held April 30, by the Gauchos in the final of the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation tournament at the Galen Center. USC fell to them again Thursday, largely behind 20 service errors as compared to seven for UC Santa Barbara. 

Trojans senior outside hitter Murphy Troy, an All-American and the MPSF player of the year, finished with 18 kills. Fellow senior outside hitter Tri Bourne led USC with 20 kills. 

For the Gauchos, senior opposite/outside hitter Cullen Irons had 15 kills and sophomore middle blocker Dylan Davis had 15. 

First-team All-American senior outside hitter Jeff Menzel, who has carried UC Santa Barbara on its run to the NCAA championship game, had only 13 kills, short of the season-high 28 he had against USC when these teams met Saturday. 

Thіѕ waѕ USC’s 13th trip tο thе Final Four, аnԁ thе Trojans were seeking thеіr first NCAA title sіnсе 2000. It was thе third time USC entered thе Final Four coming οff a loss; thе Trojans won thе NCAA title thе initial times thаt happened, іn 1988 аnԁ 1990.  

ALSO:

Pac-12 secures television rights for 12 years

Nine Trojans selected in NFL draft

-- Baxter Holmes

[Updated] USC volleyball: UC Santa Barbara leads Trojans, 2-1, after third set in NCAA Final Four semifinal match

Usclogo_200[Updated 5:43 p.m. After three sets, the fifth-ranked UC Santa Barbara Gauchos lead the top-ranked USC Trojans, 2-1, 29-27, 24-26, 25-15, in a national semifinal match at Penn State University in State College, Pa.] 

The winner of this match will play the winner of tonight’s second semifinal between Nο. 10 Penn State (24-6), thе second-seeded team, аnԁ Nο. 9 Ohio State (24-6), thе third-seeded team.

Thе championship game wіƖƖ bе at 4 p.m. PDT Saturday and wіƖƖ be broadcast οn ESPN2.  

USC (23-3) is the top-seeded team in the NCAA Final Four while UC Santa Barbara is seeded fourth. But the Trojans were upset Saturday by the Gauchos (17-14) in the final of the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation tournament at the Galen Center.

Thіѕ іѕ USC’s 13th trip tο thе Final Four, аnԁ thе Trojans are seeking thеіr first NCAA title sіnсе 2000. It’s thе third time USC enters thе NCAA contest entrance οff a loss; thе Trojans won thе NCAA title thе initial times thаt happened, іn 1988 аnԁ 1990.  

This is the Gauchos' fifth Final Four appearance. They have been NCAA runners-up four times, most recently in 1988. 

RELATED:

Football: Game at Colorado moved to Friday night, Nov. 4

Volleyball: Trojans receive at-large bid to NCAA Final Four

-- Baxter Holmes

USC men's volleyball: Trojans receive at-large bid to NCAA Final Four

Usc The top-ranked USC men's volleyball team is going to the NCAA Final Four.

The Trojans (23-3) earned the sole at-large bid Sunday and, as the top-seeded team, will face fourth-seeded UC Santa Barbara (17-14) Thursday at 4 p.m. PDT in a semifinal match at State College, Pa., the site of this year's NCAA Final Four. That match will be shown live on ESPN2. 

It will be a rematch of Saturday night's match, when the fifth-ranked Gauchos upset USC in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation tournament final at the Galen Center, giving the Gauchos the automatic berth to the Final Four.

The winner of the USC-UC Santa Barbara match will face the winner of Thursday's 6 p.m. PDT semifinal between No. 10 Penn State (24-6), the second-seeded team, and No. 9 Ohio State (24-6), the third-seeded team.  

The championship game will be held on Saturday at 4 p.m. PDT and will air on ESPN2. 

This is USC's 13th overall trip to the Final Four, and the Trojans will be seeking their first NCAA title since 2000. It's the third time USC enters the NCAA tournament coming off a lost; the Trojans won the NCAA title the first two times that happened, in 1988 and 1990.

-- Baxter Holmes

Memories of George Steinbrenner, beloved sitcom character

A baseball legend has passed away, and some are honoring his memory by watching clips of a sitcom that he never actually appeared on.

New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner, who died at 80 on Tuesday, was a key character on "Seinfeld." Only seen by the back of the head, the fake Steinbrenner was voiced by show cocreator Larry David.

And he was hilarious. Here's a sample:

Soon after Steinbrenner's death was announced, the phrase "steinbrenner seinfeld" was trending high on Google Trends (I saw it as high as No. 2). As Michael David Smith on FanHouse.com points out, the Steinbrenner character appeared on the show 16 times, more frequently than several other popular characters such as Uncle Leo and Puddy.

Smith also indicates that Steinbrenner himself actually filmed some scenes for an episode of "Seinfeld," but they never aired (you can see them here). But the fake Steinbrenner was definitely funnier, so here's one more clip of the character who is hopefully putting a smile on the faces of sad Yankees fans:

-- Chuck Schilken

Cal State Northridge receives NCAA volleyball berth

It was in 1997 when Cal State Northridge's men's volleyball program was briefly eliminated, resulting in players scattering to other programs before it was reinstated. Coach Jeff Campbell had to start from scratch.

Thirteen years later, the Matadors are back with a vengeance. They have received an at-large berth for this weekend's NCAA Final Four at Stanford. Northridge is seeded No. 2 and will face third-seed Penn State on Thursday. No. 1 seed Stanford will face No. 4 Ohio State.

The championship match is Saturday at Maples Pavilion.

-- Eric Sondheimer

AVP's Misty May-Treanor, Kerri Walsh to reunite this month

Fabforum

After an Achilles' tendon injury sidelined her for the first 15 events in the Assn. of Volleyball Professionals' 2009 season, Misty May-Treanor will reunite with Kerri Walsh beginning Sept. 25 in the AVP Crocs Tour World Challenge in Glendale, Ariz.

"It's hard to believe it has been an entire year since I last played on tour," May-Treanor said in a statement. "I've been working hard to get back into shape after the injury and I think it will be a lot of fun getting back on the sand and playing with Kerri."

The two won gold medals in the 2004 and 2008 Olympics and lead the AVP Tour in career wins (105 for May-Treanor, 103 for Walsh)

Walsh returned last month from maternity leave, partnering with Rachel Wacholder. May-Treanor, who suffered the injury during a taping for  "Dancing With the Stars," appeared in an exhibition match with Walsh against Shaquille O'Neal for ABC's "Shaq Vs."

"I'm so excited to play with Misty again," Walsh said in a statement. "I know she's been training on her own and I think we're going to find our rhythm really quickly. I couldn't ask for a better partner for this event, and her decision to play with me means so much. We have such a special relationship and I think that will really show on the court."

-- Mark Medina

Photo: Kerri Walsh, left, and Misty May-Treanor show off their gold medals at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Credit: Natacha Pisarenko / AP.

Shaq hits beach, takes on May-Treanor and Walsh

Shaq_240 Shaquille O’Neal is taking cross-training to a new level.

He’s starring in a new reality show on ABC, called “Shaq vs.,” where he battles other superstar athletes at their sports. He’ll take on Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, retired boxer Oscar De La Hoya, swimmer Michael Phelps and Cardinals slugger Albert Pujols.

He’ll start Sunday, when he’ll play pro beach volleyball players and two-time Olympic gold medalists Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh. He’ll play with Olympic gold medalist Todd Rogers, and Rogers’ partner Phil Dalhausser will coach.

“I just now added Hermosa Beach sand to my salad. I eat sand,” O’Neal said during a news conference with May-Treanor and Walsh.

Their banter was light-hearted, yet Shaq is taking this seriously. He believes he has what it takes to win the challenge – and he better, because if he loses, he has to walk two miles in a pink Speedo.

“Three sizes too small,” he said.

Continue reading »

UCLA, UC Irvine bring home NCAA championships

UCLA celebrates their national championship in women's water polo.

UC Irvine celebrates their national championship in men's volleyball. A pair of NCAA championship trophies are coming to Southern California.

The UCLA women's water polo team upset rival USC, 5-4, to win its fifth straight NCAA title and 11th overall. The Bruins own a collective 104 NCAA team titles, tops in the nation. It was the last game for coach Adam Krikorian, who will become the U.S. Women's Water Polo National Team coach. He will also continue serving as a coach for the UCLA men's team.

UC Irvine also won a national title by beating USC last weekend, with the Anteaters' 3-2 victory earning their second NCAA title in men's volleyball in the last three years. In all sports, UC Irvine has now collected 26 NCAA titles.

--Adam Rose

Top photo: The UCLA women's water polo national celebrates its national championship. Credit: Jamie Schwaberow / NCAA Photography

Bottom photo: The UC Irvine men's volleyball team celebrates its national championship. Credit: George Frey / Associated Press

Beach volleyball queen Holly McPeak retires

Holly McPeak, shown here during an exhibition match at the Hermosa Beach Open, has decided to retire.

The Association of Volleyball Professionals just announced that Holly McPeak has retired.

McPeak, who will turn 40 later this month, is among the most decorated beach volleyball players in history, having played in three Olympics, winning what was then a record 72 consecutive matches during one span, and with career tour earnings of more than $1.5 million.

McPeak and partner Jenny Kropp finished in ninth place at the AVP tour stop at San Diego last week.

No reason was given for her decision, though a segment on her website said McPeak had "not been happy with her own play" during three consecutive ninth-place finishes this year. McPeak is married to Leonard Armato, former chief executive of the AVP tour.

--Mike Hiserman

Photo: Holly McPeak, shown here during an exhibition match at the Hermosa Beach Open, has decided to retire. Credit: Holly Stein/AP Photo.

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