2009-2010 Athletics Season in Review
For those of you who have been living in a cave for the past year, studying your tails off, or simply just don’t care about the UC Irvine athletic scene, here are some of things you missed out on.
After winning the championship last year, the UC Irvine Anteaters had some lofty expectations for the 2010 season. The ’Eaters started the year with a number two ranking and stormed out of the gates with a 4-1 record. But the loss of three seniors at three key positions proved to be a loss that UCI could not overcome.
The turning point in UCI’s season was the match against USC. Despite being up two sets to none, the Anteaters would go on to lose in five. This loss would foreshadow a trend in the Anteaters’ season. The ’Eaters would play in ten five-set matches and wound up losing nine of those contests.
Although the Anteaters had problems finishing teams off, they did show that they could compete with the best. The lone victory in a five-set match came against a second ranked Pepperdine squad. UC Irvine also took down CSU Northridge, who at the time was ranked No. 1 in the nation.
Paula Weishoff’s first year as women’s volleyball coach was nothing less than spectacular. Weishoff’s team finished in second in the Big West with a 22-8 record and the eight losses were fewest since 1978.
Weishoff’s demand for consistency showed, as the Anteaters lost only consecutive games twice. Wins against highly ranked Cal and Long Beach State teams put the Lady Anteaters in prime position to receive a playoff berth for the first time in program history.
However, two costly losses against UC Santa Barbara and two straight losses to close out the season derailed those hopes.
Although UCI struggled against Big West Play, Eric Wise and Michael Hunter were able to carry the Anteaters into the Big West Tournament. Wise was named to the All-Big West second team for the second straight season, as he averaged 16 points, six rebounds and three assists. Hunter was given Big West Honorable mention accolades. Hunter finished his career at UCI as the top three-point shooter in school history. His steals and assists also rank in the top ten in school history.
The end of the regular season proved to be full of drama. In order for the Anteaters to reach the Big West tournament they needed to win against Cal Poly. UCI trailed by eight points with only a minute to go in regulation. This would all change, as Darren Moore fired two three-pointers in the final nine seconds to tie the game. The Anteaters would win the game in overtime and make the Big West Tourney.
An early exit in the tournament did not get Head Coach Pat Douglass a contract extension. UC Irvine hired former Golden State Assistant Coach Russell Turner to take over the position. Turner looks to turn the men’s basketball program around as a first-time head coach.
Last year, men’s soccer managed to amaze everyone, as they were crowned Big West Champions and made it into the third round of the NCAA tournament for the first time in school history. This year, Coach George Kuntz kept up the team’s strong momentum.
After earning a spot in the Big West Tournament, UCI needed a win against CSU Northridge to secure home field advantage. However, a 3-0 loss to the Matadors meant that the Anteaters would have to win on the road if they wanted to be in the NCAA postseason for a second straight year.
With the help of the Big West Offensive player of the year, Irving Garcia, UCI was able to take their game on the road against Cal Poly and UCSB. Garcia did not do it alone, as he had help from Carlos Aguilar, Kevin Santora, and Amani Walker, whom were all named First-Team Big West.
UCI men’s soccer made the tournament for the second straight year. However, UCI’s season came to an end when the Anteaters lost in the first round to Stanford.
It is rare for any team to limp into a postseason tournament and find some sort of success. However, the men’s tennis team was able to do this.
The Anteaters closed out their regular season by going 3-7. Led by the Big West head coach of year, Trevor Kronemann, and the recipient of the Arthur Ashe Leadership award, Zac Tsai, the Anteaters were able to take the Big West Tournament by storm.
The men’s tennis team was able to pull off three straight wins, including a sweep of No. 1 seed Cal Poly in the finals, in order to be crowned Big West Champions.
Not to be outdone by the men, the women decided that they too were going to take the Big West Championships and complete the tennis sweep.
The women were led by Big West head coach of the year, Mike Edles. Courtney Bryon and Stephanie Hammel were among four Anteaters to earn Big West Honors.
In order for the women’s tennis team to be called Big West Champions, they would have to overcome the hurdle of beating Long Beach State, a team that had become their arch nemesis over the years, and had previously beaten UCI earlier in the season. And overcome they did. The Anteaters beat the 49ers four games to one.
Track and Field
No one has made more headlines and impressed more eyes than Charles Jock. The sophomore sensation has personified the saying “records are meant to be broken.”
Jock’s extraordinary year all started in March when he competed in the Cal/Nevada Championships. Jock made his mark by breaking a 32-year-old record, as he ran the 800 meters in 1:47.46 seconds. Jock’s feat did not stop there. In May’s Big West Championships, Jock ran the 800 meters in 1:46.93, shaving a second off his old time. Jock’s record-breaking times qualified him to compete in the NCAA West Quarterfinal Regionals, in Austin, Texas.
It was in Austin where Charles Jock would break his own record again. This time he ran the 800 meters in 1:46.67. Jock will now travel to Eugene, Oregon to compete in the NCAA Championships on June 9-12.
Women’s Water Polo
If you have never paid attention to women’s water polo, next year would be a good time to start doing so.
The Lady Anteaters matched last year’s Big West Championship by winning another one his year. The No. 4 seeded Anteaters upset the field to defend their title, led by Jessy Cardey, Courtney Collyer and Kat Plummer, who were all named to the All-Big West First Team.
Cardey also received the Big West Freshman of the Year award. Head Coach Dan Klatt was named the Big West head coach of the year for the second straight year.