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Category: Volleyball

Pepperdine advances to volleyball tournament final

Pepperdine's Paul Carroll winding up for a kill against Stanford in January. The best collegiate volleyball player in America is an Australian. Paul Carroll of Pepperdine, a 6-foot-8 senior who sent out e-mails and DVDs four years ago looking for a college after being a teenage standout in Australia, had 33 kills in helping the Waves defeat Cal State Northridge, 27-30, 40-38, 30-26, 30-23, Thursday night in a semifinal match of the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation tournament at UC Irvine's Bren Center.

No. 2-seeded Pepperdine (22-4) advances to Saturday's 7 p.m. final against No. 5 USC, which upset top-seeded Irvine, 30-25, 30-25, 30-27. The winner of the match between will earn an automatic berth to next week's NCAA Final Four at Brigham Young.

Carroll was selected the MPSF player of the year this season, and he was at his best in the decisive second game, contributing 15 kills.

"He was definitely the difference," Northridge Coach Jeff Campbell said. "He's a great volleyball player. He's played against the best in the world."

-- Eric Sondheimer

Photo: Pepperdine's Paul Carroll winding up for a kill against Stanford in January. Credit: Chris Michaels via Flickr.

USC's national championship comes a tad early

USC poses with their 2009 Collegiate Beach Volleyball Championship trophies.

The Women of Troy won the 2009 Collegiate Beach Volleyball Championship this past weekend.

The NCAA will start awarding national championships in the sport during the 2010-11 academic year.

While the title won't count toward USC's NCAA totals, it's still a big accomplishment for the program, which finished ahead of a number of fellow hard-court powerhouses. Nebraska was runner-up, followed by Texas, Hawaii, San Diego, North Carolina, Utah and UC Riverside.

When introduced at the Division-I level (it was already approved for Division II), the sport will officially be called sand volleyball, reportedly to appeal to landlocked schools. Semantics haven't seemed like much of a problem before -- the tournament just won by USC was held in Riverside, which certainly isn't ocean side. The 2009 AVP tour is visiting such tropical locals as Houston; Atlanta; Brooklyn; Las Vegas; Mason, Ohio; Muskegon, Mich.; and Glendale, Ariz.

The Trojans were led by the duos of Jessica Gysin/Alex Jupiter and Zoe Garrett/Geena Urango, who won their respective divisions. CBS Sports will air a one-hour program about the event on May 16 at 11 a.m. PDT.

-- Adam Rose

Photo: USC women's volleyball players pose with their 2009 Collegiate Beach Volleyball Championship trophies. Credit: Ricky Hang / USC Athletics

AVP has good first impression of Riverside Tour Open

After performing a series of slow-motion and fast-forwarded crowd waves, fans at Stadium Court were asked Sunday by the emcee of the Assn. of Volleyball Professionals whether they wanted the inaugural Riverside Tour Open to return next year.

Fans offered an enthusiastic response. 

"Thank God for the AVP, and thank God for Riverside," the emcee concluded in one of his many hyperbolic phrases during the organization's second tour stop. 

Afterward, Jason Hodell, who took over as head of the professional beach volleyball tour after Leonard Armato recently stepped down, felt confident the AVP will return to downtown Riverside in 2010.    

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Beach volleyball featuring Internet streams and fantasy leagues

Beach volleyball fans who can't make it out to the Crocs Tour Riverside Open this weekend can watch it streamed on the Assn. of Volleyball Professionals' website starting at 9 a.m. Saturday. Jason Hodell, the head of the professional beach volleyball tour after Leonard Armato recently stepped down, says 6,000 people already signed up.  

That project is one of two initiatives that Hodell is trying to spearhead as the 2009 season gets underway. The AVP also recently created its own fantasy league, which Hodell says already has 500 players. Hodell hopes the fantasy league will create more familiarity with the field, especially since two-time Olympic gold medalists Misty-May Treanor and Kerri Walsh are indefinitely sidelined for the 2009 season.

"Our volleyball base know most of the top players, not just Misty and Kerri," Hodell said. "I don't think there's too much learning that has to go on with the middle of the pack. But there are players trying to break through, and there's a lot of discovery that can take place."

-- Mark Medina
Photo: Todd Rogers, making a dig last season at the Long Beach Open, is part of the top men's tandem on the AVP Crocs Tour with partner Phil Dalhausser. Credit: Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times

Cal State Northridge No. 1 in volleyball?

They're celebrating at Cal State Northridge today after the Matadors upset No. 1-ranked Pepperdine, 30-24, 30-22, 33-35, 26-30, 15-12 on Wednesday night at Pepperdine.

It was the first victory for the fourth-ranked Matadors in Malibu in 13 years. Eric Vance had 23 kills for Northridge, which is tied with Pepperdine for first place in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation.

-- Eric Sondheimer

Dodgers' trade for Manny Ramirez voted No. 1 L.A. moment for 2008

Manny Ramirez hits a three-run home run when the Dodgers took on the Phillies in Game 2 of the NLCS.

Mannywood made the most impression on L.A.-area sports fans in 2008, according to the Los Angeles Sports Council.

For its 4th Annual L.A. Sports Awards, the council named the Dodgers' acquisition of Manny Ramirez as the No. 1 moment of 2008.

Kobe Bryant's selection as the NBA's most valuable player was second in awards voted on by a media panel.


3. Jason Lezak's anchor leg in the 400-meter relay in Beijing, enabling Michael Phelps to win another gold medal. Lezak is from Irvine.

4. Lakers' return to the NBA Finals against the Boston Celtics.

5. Dodgers advance to National League Championship Series against the Philadelphia Phillies.

6. UCLA Bruins earn third consecutive berth in the Final Four men's basketball tournament.

7. USC Trojans win seventh consecutive Pac-10 football championship.

8. Kerri Walsh and Misty May-Treanor repeat as Olympic beach volleyball gold medalists.

9. The Angels win 100 games.

10. Candace Parker named the WNBA's MVP and rookie of the year for the Sparks.

-- Randy Harvey

Photo: Manny Ramirez hits a three-run home run for the Dodgers in Game 2 of the NLCS against the Phillies. Credit: Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times 

Hugh McCutcheon looks back on Beijing Games

U.S. men's indoor volleyball head coach Hugh Mccutcheon celebrates a Beijing Games gold medal with his assistant coaches.

Times columnist Bill Dwyre reports on how U.S. men's indoor volleyball coach Hugh McCutcheon has balanced the incredible high associated with winning a gold medal during the Beijing Games and the hard reality of the shocking murder of his father-in-law at a popular tourist attraction in Beijing.

As Dwyre writes, "McCutcheon was thrust onto a stage where the bright lights usually blind and paralyze even the best-prepared. Not McCutcheon, who just kept doing the right thing, right to the end."

"There is no page in the book of life that tells you how to be a gold-medal winner and have your father-in-law murdered," said McCutcheon, who recently was named head coach of the women's volleyball squad.

-- Greg Johnson

Photo: Men's indoor volleyball head coach Hugh McCutcheon celebrates a Beijing Games gold-medal round victory over Brazil with his coaching staff on Aug. 24. Credit: Jonathan Ferrey / Getty Images

Hugh McCutcheon to coach U.S. women's volleyball team

During the Beijing Olympics, one of the most moving stories centered on Hugh McCutcheon, the coach who led the U.S. men’s volleyball team to the gold medal despite having to cope with the trauma of losing his father-in-law to a knife-wielding attacker at a popular tourist site shortly after the opening ceremony. McCutcheon's mother-in-law was badly wounded but survived.

That gold-medal victory meant McCutcheon could have coached anywhere in the world, but today he chose to coach the U.S. women's team through the 2012 London Olympics.

McCutcheon's wife is former UCLA volleyball star and Olympian Elisabeth "Wiz" Bachman, and it was her parents, Todd and Barbara Bachman, who were attacked.

"It would have been inappropriate for us to go to Europe at this stage," McCutcheon told the AP Monday. "Clearly, there could have been some big financial returns. This opportunity is a win-win in that it presents me this professional development opportunity while also allowing us to stay in the United States."

He replaces Jenny Lang Ping, who reportedly did not seek a contract renewal after the U.S. women won the silver.

McCutcheon said his mother-in-law, who eventually returned to her home in Minnesota, is doing better.

"Physically she’s pretty much healed from all of the trauma," said McCutcheon, who lives with his wife in Southern California. "Now it’s an issue of just dealing with the emotions and the grieving process."

-- Debbie Goffa

Misty May-Treanor, Phil Dalhausser win AVP awards

Phil Dalhausser hits the ball past Mike Morrison during an AVP Manhattan Beach Open match last month in Manhattan Beach.l

I had a chance to sit in on the Assn. of Volleyball Professionals year-end banquet Wednesday night. Like most fans, I'm used to seeing these athletes in their competition gear, so it was a little change of pace to catch them all decked out. Well, some of the guys refused to go beyond a Hawaiian shirt, but what do you expect from a beach volleyball player?

I was hoping to catch up with Misty May-Treanor, who was voted best offensive player, best defensive and most valuable player of 2008. Unfortunately, she wasn't feeling too well after getting her cast removed earlier in the day and opted to stay home.

In case you missed it, May-Treanor blew out her Achilles' tendon Oct. 3 while rehearsing for "Dancing with the Stars."

That's a significant injury for anyone, but for a beach volleyball player, who does so much vertical leaping and lunging, she could be out a while. Next season was already a question mark, since May-Treanor and teammate Kerri Walsh said before winning Olympic gold medals that they were hoping to become moms some time hext year.

Word around the banquet was another top women's player is pregnant. All of these potential openings have tour veteran Holly McPeak thinking she might just stick around for another season, but she's still in wait-and-see mode. It's only October.

The other big winner was Phil Dalhausser, the 6-foot-9 superfly who teamed with Todd Rogers to win gold in Beijing. Dalhausser was named best blocker, best offensive player and MVP. The funniest part was when tour commissioner Leonard Armato spoke eloquently about Dalhausser, except he was looking at another bald guy the whole time.

On the business end, Armato said that Paul Mitchell hair-care products has agreed to continue their sponsorship, and the AVP landed a new sponsor, Johnsonville, which plans to cook their brats and sausages at all the events next season, turning them into one big beach barbecue.

-- Dan Arritt

Photo: Phil Dalhausser hits the ball past Mike Morrison during an AVP Manhattan Beach Open match last month in Manhattan Beach. Credit: Christian Petersen / Getty Images


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