Farewell Anteater Graduates

Here’s to the seniors who made monumental impacts on an up-and-coming UCI Athletics program.

For the past four years, UCI Basketball has been synonymous with one name: Michael Hunter. Head Coach Russell Turner has his work cut out for him next year, as he is losing more than a 5-foot-10-inch, 160-pound frame might indicate.

Hunter led the Anteaters in assists three out of four years. Hunter left his stamp on the UCI Basketball program by leaving UCI as the all-time leader in three pointers with 236. His 160 steals and 298 assists rank third and seventh respectively in UCI history. With 1,308 points scored, Hunter ranks as the ninth best scorer in school history.

UC Irvine Women’s Volleyball amassed a 22-8 record, best since 1978.  This success was largely due to the consistent play offered by setter Taryn Robertson. As a senior, Robertson notched 1,144 assists, 10.33 per set. She was also third on the team with 60 blocks.

During her first year as an Anteater, Robertson proved she would be a tremendous player. As a freshman, Robertson dished out 1,150 assists including a season high of 52 against UC Santa Barbara. Performances like these earned her a spot on the Big West All-Freshman Team.

As a sophomore, she handed out 1,431 assists and in that same season she topped her previous career high by recording 62 assists against UCSB. In her four years at UCI, she collected three All-Big West Honorable Mention awards.

Few have made as big of an impact on his or her team as Irving Garcia made at UCI throughout past couple of seasons. In the two years that Garcia spent at UCI, the Anteaters had two of the best years in Anteater men’s soccer history.

In 2008, Garcia was named to the All-Big West first team. He was second on the team with 23 points, as he recorded seven goals and nine assists.

In 2009, Garcia helped the Anteaters reach the NCAA tournament for the second straight year by posting eight goals and nine assists. Garcia went on to be named to the first team All-Big West for the second straight year and was also named the Big West Offensive Player of the Year.

Women’s Water Polo will surely miss the leadership and guidance of Kat Plummer. Plummer proved to be an instrumental piece on a two-time Big West Championship team.

As a freshman, she notched 18 goals for fifth on the team. As a sophomore, she finished second on the team with 31 goals. Plummer’s junior year saw more improvement, as she finished third on the team in scoring with 48 goals and moved into seventh on UCI’s all time scoring list.

She capped her junior year by earning second team All-Big West honors. Plummer ended her senior year by leading UCI to the Big West crown for a second straight year and was named first team All-Big West.

For the past three years, Daniel Bibona regularly took the mound every fifth day and kept the Anteaters in ballgames. As a freshman, Bibona made 16 appearances, five of which he started. He proved to be a key piece in the 2007 College World Series team. From his freshman year, Bibona skyrocketed. In his second collegiate year, he appeared in 20 games, starting in 16. His win-loss record improved to 9-3 and his ERA dropped to an impressive 3.08. In 2009, his numbers kept improving. In 15 games, the pitcher amassed a 12-1 record with a slim 2.63 ERA. In his final year of eligibility, Bibona started 12 games with a 9-2 record. He notched a 2.48 ERA and 102 strikeouts in 94 inning pitched. Bibona capped it all off by being named Big West Pitcher of the Year for the second straight year. The southpaw will leave UCI as the all-time leader in strikeouts.

The hard work that this Anteater displayed on and off the baseball diamond has shown, as he is taking his talent to the next level. Daniel Bibona got drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals in the 8th round and is expected to play in their farm system.
Bibona was also honored with the Lowe’s Senior CLASS award for baseball, an accolade that rewards student athletes for being “complete student-athletes;” players that make a positive impact in their community.

Ronnie Shaeffer has his work cut out next season, as he is replacing one of the crown jewels in the 2007 recruiting class.
As a freshman, Larson had an average season with flashes of brilliance. He batted .233 with one homerun and 11 RBIs. His moment of greatness came against Loyola Marymount, hitting four doubles (one shy of the NCAA record) and knocking in five runs. Larson continued to improve in his second season as an Anteater. His batting average climbed to .314 and he became an offensive spark plug, notching seven home runs and 40 RBIs. Against the Hawaii Warriors, Larson tied his career high of five RBIs.

In his junior year, Larson’s average went down to .309 but his power numbers increased. He smashed nine home runs and led the team with 43 RBIs. He was a Johnny Bench finalist, an award given to the best collegiate catcher in the nation.
As a senior, Larson tied for first on the team with eight home runs and second in RBIs with 42. He also earned a second straight spot on the All-Big West Team. He leaves UC Irvine as the all-time leader in home runs with 25. Larson will be taking the next step in his baseball career as the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim selected him in the 22nd round.
Here’s to you Michael Hunter, Taryn Robertson, Irving Garcia, Kat Plummer, Daniel Bibona and Francis Larson. Eater Nation and your respective athletic programs will certainly miss you.