Thursday, September 27, 2007

High hopes

Just when people were beginning to worry if the football team's 2-0 record was too good to be true, it made just a little room for doubt with its 22-20 triple overtime loss to Golden West, Sept. 15.

But it shut the doubters up for a moment by reclaiming the Crosstown Cup against Long Beach with a 22-12 win last Saturday.

Hopes are surprisingly high for the team this year, following three consecutive dismal seasons. With virtually a new coaching staff and some impressive first-year players and returners, the team's giving good reasons for the optimism.

Offensively, the Falcons are doing well and it's no surprise. They have yet to score below 20 points in any game so far.

It always has impressive running backs and this season is no different. Lorenzo Goode seems to be most often used one, being that he leads the team in rushing and all-purpose yards, averaging 101.5 and 110.2 per game.

Junior Tivao, who does double duty playing running back and linebacker, leads the team in most touchdowns scored with three.

But defensively, the team needs a lot of work. Costly penalties, even in the games won, have hurt the team and may have been the main reason for it's lost the Rustlers.

It has over half the season, including a game against Fullerton Saturday, left to see whether it'll get Coach Mazzotta back to the winning ways he's used to, or whether we'll see another disappointing season.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Great balls of fire

As the baseball and softball teams wrap up season play, each are on the way to one of their finest in recent history.

With both teams missing the the playoffs last year, the significant turnaround that these teams made has some talking even bringing a championship home.

But before they can do that, the teams have to prove themselves in the playoffs. A spectaular regular season dosen't matter if you don't win a title, or even get close to one.

The baseball team is currently 30-10 on the year and 16-5 in the South Coast Conference
South Division. For most of the year, the team has been ranked as one of the top two teams in Southern California and in its respective division.

It has alternated between the No. 1 and No. 2 spot throughout the season with Santa Ana. Up until yesterday, it was No. 1 in the division and in the state.

But three straight losses, two to El Camino and one to East L.A. yesterday, 6-2, put them down to No. 3 in the region and No. 2 in their division. L.A. Harbor, who the Falcons beat in smashing fashion this season, is now the division leader.

Players say that the ranking dosen't effect them, but if they lose tommorow, it will be very anticlimatic way to end the season. The Falcons will have to practice the things that got it this far, such as timely hitting, a strong defense and consistent pitching, to keep its season alive.

On the opposite end of the gender spectrum, the softball team is making serious noise as well. It finished the regular season 30-9-1 and finished second in the SCC with a 12-3.

Unlike the basebal team, it has not cooled off as the season down. Four of the team's last seven wins were won in less than seven innings. Coach Murray has always told the team to hold on to your lead and not getting too comfortable.

The team did have its bumpy roads during the season, but you can tell by their play that they heeded what Murray told them.

Ever since a March 8 loss against Pasadena,the team has been more proficient in gaining and keeping leads. If the team can practice those qualities, it'll definitley make more noise within the state.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Running for their lives

Both the men's and women's track & field teams are looking to make their own mark after the individual successes of last year.

The women's team won the state title last year and was anchored by a heptathelete trio, none of whom returned.

The men's team had many of it's athletes graduate, become ineligible or move on to other sports.

But there are a few holdovers from the teams that have stepped up to excell in their individual races.

One being Tavonia Clay, who recently finished first in the 100-meter dash in 12.48 in the BakersfieldRelays last Friday.

Amanda Rosencratz, who placed fourth in the 400-meter at last year's state championship, has continued to excell in the 400-meter dash.

In the South Coast Conference All-Teams Invitational on March 8, she placed first in the with 400-meter dash with a time of 57.88 to help team finish second overall with 138 team points.

But the veterans aren't doing all of the work.

There are a few standout first-year players who have been showing that they're just as, if not more so, speedy than their more seasoned teamates.

Khandie Brooks (who graduated from my alma mater Dorsey High School in Los Angeles), has been a consistent runner in the 100 meter dash.

Rayneshia Pitts has become a speedy runner as well.

In the Bakersfield Relay, Brooks finished third (12.95) and Pitts fifth (13.27) in the 100-meter dash.

The men are in a similar predicament, though they don't have as much expectation to live up to as do the women.

According to team member Anthony Harbor, the men's 4x400 team is missing two of its normal runners. Even in that case, he felt that the team still did well in the Cerritos Invitational.

The team has a few notable returners including Harbor and Dennis Drisdom, who usually participates in the 800-meter run.

Harbor placed first in 400-meter hurdles with a time of 55.35 the SCC All-Team Meet.

Another is Genoa Dill, who has been doing well in the 200-meter run. He was also a wide reciever on the football teamin the fall semester.

A noteworthy first-year member is Daniel Clifford-Sorenson, who was the best runner on the cross-country team in the fall semester.

At the USC Trojan relay Invitational on Feb. 23, he placed third in the 3000-Meter Steeplechase with a time of 9.26.99 and was part of the 4x100-Meter Relay team that came in fourth with a time of 43.02.

Cerritos has always had great runners in the 100-meter dash and heptathalon. But the teams need to improve on its weak areas such as hurdles and relay races.

What's odd about both teams, is that in all of the prestigious heats, such as the 4x4 relay or 100-meter dash, those are the weakest areas.

Women's head coach Michael Allen said that one of the weakest areas for both teams are the realy races. He also mentioned that technical things, such as late hand-offs, could use vast improvement.

It's strong in its strong points, but weak in its weak points.

The team has the annual California Relays coming up this Friday and Saturday, in which it will face schools from all accross the state and in the process get to show off the new track placed in Falcon Stadium.

The teams should use this meet to get stronger and also get ready for state title in May.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Softball team finds fountain of youth

As people grow from youth to adulthood, they go through seasons and periods of trying times and mistakes. Even with those experiences, some people always find a way to never lose their zeal for life and to rejuvenate.

For the softball team, a youthful spirit may be just what it has needed to win.

After losing its first three games of the season, it has gone on to win eight straight and one tie.

With a team comprised of all first-year players, it is certain that Head Coach Kodee Murray will experience inconsistency with her young team.

Even within some of the team's wins, there have still been some imperfections. Coach Murray has been quoted as saying the team has made "dumb" mistakes and has shown their inexperience in things such as errors like missed catches, pitchers throwing too many balls and not enough strikes,etc.

But ever since a 5-2 win against Riverside on Feb. 2, the team's been on a quest to prove that youthfulness dosen't equal inexperience.

The streak continued with a one run win over Santa Ana on Feb. 20, keeping the Dons scoreless. The Falcons have gone from being shutout in two of its three losses (against Bakersfield and Ventura), to shutting out other teams.

One of the emerging stars is Jessica Navarro , starting pitcher and sister of former Falcon standout Joanna Navarro . In her role as a starting pitcher, she has shown that she has a rocket for an arm. She also pitched two straight shutouts, one of them in a 2-0 win against Golden West on Feb. 16.

But her strengths aren't limted from the pitcher's mound; she's been a force from behind the plate as well. In the win against Riverside (the one that started it all), she hit a two-run homerun. She also leads the team with a batting average of .500

Another of the young stars is catcher Nadine Garcia, who's right behind Navarro with a batting average of.462.

The team will try and keep its winning streak going by playing three straight road games starting tomorrow against Moorpark. Afterward, the team will be playing a double header this Saturday at College of the Canyons against the aforementioned Cougars.

Later on that day, the team will be matched up with Fullerton once again. The Falcons lost to the Hornets in its second game of the season. The two teams will match up twice more in back-to-back games on March 24 and 25.

With its newly found rejuvenation, the Falcons will hope to avenge the loss and hope to keep it going throughout the remainder of it's regular season schedule and maybe even into the post-season.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Getting served

Tennis season is underway, both in the professional ranks and at Cerritos.

But over the years, the teams at Cerritos have struggled somewhat. Not so much as with the ability to win games, but for off-the-court reasons.

With recruiting problems and not enough money to fund the team last season, the women came close to canceling the season until the team was blessed with some charity from the Bookstore accross the street from campus.

The men's team decided not to compete in last year's regional playoffs in regard to the athletes' individual schedules and to concentrate on schoolwork.

This year, both teams are looking to go further. While the women have started with two straight loses, the men however have won two straight.

Both are returning a few key players from last year and both have some impressive first-year members.

The men are led by the Wonder Twin duo of the Vachirajongkols. Individually, they may not be the absolute best, but when they "activate" their wonder twin powers, they are a force to be reckoned with.

Jackie and Jefferywere both 1st team All-SCC last year and are the best double players. Jeff is in the No. 1 singles slot with his other half followed closely behind at No.2.

Against Mesa College last Thursday , Jeff won 6-2, 6-1 and Jackie, 6-0, 6-2.

The women have Asha Badal, No. 5 singles player. She may be the Falcons' own version of Serena Williams.

Sonia Gutierrez got a 6-1, 3-6, 6-4 win in the #2 singles match against Orange Coast last Thursday. She is one of the first-year players to look at for the rest of the season.

According to women's coach Rosana Chatman, the team has to work on its footwork and consistency. I'm sure that the men have work on the same factors.

Next Tuesday, the men will try to do what the women could not; defeat Saddleback. The women lost 6-3 to the Gauchos on Feb. 1.The women's next game is against Glendale on Tuesday.

This season, may monetary difficulties not stop the tennis teams from reaching their full potential.

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Wait now, score later

One of the greatest things to watch in sports is to see a team come back from a deficit to win the game.

While thrillers and miracles do happen in sports, is it possible that teams (either directly or indirectly) sabotage games?

When a team plays haphazardly for one part and then out of nowhere comes back to win, what happens when every game is played that way?

The baseball team seemed to follow that pattern last weekend. In its three wins against College of the Canyons, Rio Hondo and Glendale, the Falcons fell behind within the first three innings.

But when the fourth inning came, the team decided to play serious baseball and put some points on the board.

It was as if the baseball team decided to play Superman every game; with different players being the leaders who rally the team from behind.

While it is understood that it takes time to get warmed up and adjusted to the style of the other team, this should not be made at the expense of losing points and/or eventually games.

Sometimes, the first pitch or first inning can decide an entire game. Do the Falcons plan on experimenting with this "let's not play hard until the fourth inning" phase for the rest of the season?

It shouldn't; one doesn't always have to learn things the hard way. It should not take a crushing defeat for them to learn that lesson.

Though it currently stands undefeated (3-0), it may be a matter of time before the team loses. When and how, within the games in its remaining schedule will remain to be seen.

Still, it's safe to say that the baseball team wants to win as many as possible and get a good winning streak going.

But it can't do that by playing lackadaisical and waiting until almost halfway through the game to show a strong effort.

The Falcons need to wake up and take each game seriously, unless it wants to repeat the scenario of last year and have its chances at making the playoffs come down to the final games of the season.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Injuries cause women to step up

When losing its leader(s), the situation can either bring out the best or worst qualities in a team.

It can be a motivational factor by causing other members to step up and fill in for the lost one. But if no one accepts the role of leading the team, that can be its downfall.

This season, the women's basketball team is in that predicament. It lost two of its starters, last year's leading scorer Maltressa Neely and guard Anna Conrad, to injury early in the season.

After starting 3-0, the team lost three straight games after the injuries. It appeared that the team wouldn't recover.

It has taken some adjusting, but the rest of the team is learning how to move along. It is learning how to communicate and play together. The responsibilites of carrying the team have spread around and caused it to not be so dependant on one player.

Among those who have stepped up include forward/center Genesis Lewis. She grabbed a career-high 18 rebounds in the team's win against Long Beach . She has been one of the more versitile players for the Falcons; driving the ball up court one play, the next play grappling for a rebound, and dipping low in the post on another one.

A returning starter from last year and All-SCC team member, guard LaTrina Payne has also increased her role by being the team's floor general and leading scorer.

Other noteworthy contributors include Jaquita Payne, Shontay Delpit (who has stepped up as a starter) and Tiffany Wilson, among others.

As the team gets further into league play, everyone will need to contribute both defensively and offensively.

It remains to be seen if the team as a whole will step up and reach for higher expectations or crash and burn.