Coussoulis Arena will be empty this fall.
Cal State San Bernardino won’t have to defend its 2019 NCAA Division II women's volleyball championship.
That may, or may not, be a good thing.
On Tuesday, May 12, California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) officials suspended athletic competition for the upcoming fall season ⎯ a sign that similar actions are sure to follow in the coming weeks.
Similar actions, perhaps, will be taken by high school and college officials that affect area campuses.
As for women’s volleyball, consider that last year’s Cal State squad, loaded with talent and depth at every position, not only won the national championship, but finished unbeaten in the process.
Returning AVCA Player of the Year Alexis Cardona will have her senior season cut out, likely leaving last year as the finale in a brilliant career.
Likewise a group of highly skilled returning players to coach Kim Cherniss’ roster. A pair of returning freshmen ⎯ setters Marlee Nunley and Mehana Ma’a ⎯ were also eligible to return.
They won’t get to defend their championships.
It was no surprise that Chico State’s Dr. Gayle Hutchison noted the decision came “with utmost consideration for the health and welfare of our students, coaches, staff, faculty and communities, CCAA member institutions have determined that NCAA sport competition will not occur during the fall of 2020.”
Speaking for the entire CCAA, which numbers 11 institutions from UC San Diego to Humboldt State in Arcata, Hutchison said the “vast majority of CSU classes will be virtual for the fall semester of the 2020-21 academic year.”
Cal State volleyball, which has showcased a rich display of championship-level performance for well over two decades, finally reached the apex of more than two decades of effort last December.
It’s when the Cherniss-coached Lady Coyotes swept through an unbeaten regular season, following that up by not losing a single match throughout the post-season ⎯ 33-0 at season’s end.
On one hand, Cal State will wear the crown for another season.
On the other hand, the Lady Coyotes appeared ready to unleash another full roster of talent in search of another deep playoff run.
Scoring a four-game triumph over Nebraska-Kearney at the championship in Denver, Cardoza blasted 20 kills in a .370 hitting performance, adding eight digs and four blocks. Stephanie Doak also claimed 20 kills, mostly on feeds from the Nunley-Ma’a combination.
Libero Leila To’omalatai’s 27 digs topped the defensive effort. Jalyn Hayes added seven blocks on defense and seven kills at the offensive side.
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Cal State’s soccer programs ⎯ both its men’s and women’s sides ⎯ will be taking this upcoming season off as well.
Goalkeeper Jacob Huber was lost off a roster that reached deep into last fall’s NCAA Division II tournament.
Also gone are San Gorgonio’s Jesus Ortega, who played in the middle and up front, plus Redlands East Valley’s Jonathan Garcia, another midfielder, plus scoring threat Brandon Sagbarani ⎯ all seniors.
There were plenty of freshmen and sophomores on that roster, piling up playing minutes that could have carried over into another phase of coach Darren Leslie’s plan for a repeat.
The squad went 14-4-3 last season. Two of those losses and a draw came against CCAA powerhouse Cal State Los Angeles. A 2-0 setback in the NCAA Division II West Regional finals killed the Coyotes’ chances.
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A 7-10-1 side lost all of one senior from last year’s Cal State women’s soccer roster.
Interim head coach Katie Rumfola had a roster chock full of youthful players off solid high school squads.