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Results tagged “Mark Schmidt” from College Sports Blog

VC water polo teams host, compete for WSC titles

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What figures to be a very competitive weekend begins at 9 a.m. this morning when the Western State Conference water polo championships opens at City of Ventura aquatics center.

"It's a pretty level playing field," said Ventura men's coach Mark Schmidt.

"It's going to come down to a couple goals here and there," Ventura women's coach Larry Baratte said. "It's going to be competitive and that's the way it should be."

After unbeaten WSC campaigns, the Los Angeles Valley men (12-9) and Los Angeles Pierce women (10-4) are the top seeds

The Ventura College men (15-8) are the No. 3 seed and faces No. 2 Cuesta (24-10) in the 12:45 p.m. semifinal.

"It's a little bit unusual to play them in the first round," Schmidt said. "I don't know if I've done that in a long time. But we typically know we have to play Valley and Cuesta, if we want to win a championship."

The Ventura men have won 11 of 12 matches since Oct. 10, the only loss coming 10-9 to Valley on Oct. 17.

"We're confident," Schmidt said. "We've been playing well. This is how you want to be playing going into the tournament... We feel like we have a chance."

The four-time defending champion Ventura College women (13-9) are the No. 2 seed and hosts either No. 3 Los Angeles Valley (17-8) or No. 6 Santa Monica (8-16) in the 3:15 p.m. semifinal.

"We're healthy, so I think we're ready to go," Baratte said. "We've had the bug bites, concussions and illnesses... We've had our share of distractions."

But the Pirates, who have enjoyed excellent seasons from sophomores like Olivia Barry and Emily Pinsky, have experience winning a title from the No. 2 seed. They achieved the feat a year ago.

"It's about them," Baratte said, "winning it for themselves and winning it for each other."

The championship matches will be held at Rio Mesa High Saturday at 1 p.m. and 2:45 p.m.

Winning streak pulls VC men's polo above water

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It took five wins in a four-day span last week for te Ventura College men's water polo team to get its head back above water.

The Pirates fought their way back to .500 on the season by edging Santa Monica (13-10) in Western State Conference play before beating Santa Rosa (14-1), Ohlone (15-6), DeAnza (12-6), and Cabrillo (14-3) over the weekend at a tournament in San Luis Obispo.

"We got ourselves back to even this past weekend," Schmidt said.

The winning streak was snapped Wednesday, when Ventura (8-9) dropped its third one-goal decision of the season Wednesday, 10-9, against first-place Los Angeles Valley.

"We've had a good run," Schmidt said. "Valley has a good group of returners... There were a lot of positives.

"It's a young team and we're learning how to win some close games."

Ventura had lost its first seven matches against non-conference competition. Its has lost to seven of the Top 10 teams in the state, including No. 3 West Valley, No. 4 Long Beach City and No. 5 Riverside.

"We played a tough schedule to start," Schmidt said. "We don't have any easy games."

The team is founded upon sophomore returners Zach Graper (Royal), Ben Gossard (Buena) and Griffin Pool. Graper, an All-American selection as a freshman, has 37 goals, 15 assists and leads the team with 25 steals.

"He's had to adjust, so as a team we've had to adjust," Schmidt said of Graper. "A lot of our offense came out of five-meter fouls he drew last year. This year, teams are trying not to foul him.

"They're drawing up his defense trying to stop him, so we've put him in difference places in the pool."

Tim Allen (Ventura), who has scored a team-high 39 goals, and Joe Yamamoto (Rio Mesa) and lead a crop of freshman that also includes goalie Sean McGee.

"He's made up for some of our defensive deficiencies," Schmidt said.

Ventura gets back in the pool today in the Golden West tournament.

VC water polo teams earn postseason berths

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The Ventura College water polo teams were both seeded in the Southern California championships Sunday. Both will open the tournament in Thursday's quarterfinals at Riverside College.

The Ventura women (17-10), which won their fourth straight Western State Conference title Saturday, were seeded in No. 9 and will face No. 8 Cypress (14-11).

The Pirates dropped a tight 9-8 loss at Cypress on the opening day of the season, Aug. 27.

The Ventura men (13-13), which finished third in the WSC, earned the No. 10 and final seed and will take on No. 7 Cerritos (19-13).

Cypress, the South Coast Conference runner-up, is coached by former VC and Ventura High coach Joe Abing. Ventura and Cerritos have split eight meetings in Abing's six years with the Falcons.

"We're definitely the underdogs, but that should be fun," said Ventura coach Mark Schmidt.

Greater Graper

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The Ventura College men's water polo team is picking up steam behind freshman Zach Graper.

The Royal High product earned Student-Athlete of the Week honors for both Ventura College and the Western State Conference by scoring 29 times as the Pirates swept four matches at the Cuesta tournament over the weekend in San Luis Obispo.

"He's found himself in the situation where he's had the green light for much of the year, a lot out of necessity, and he's found a way to score," said Ventura coach Mark Schmidt. "He's taken advantage of the opportunity."

Graper has 70 goals in 16 games for Ventura (8-8), which has won eight of its past 12 games.

Graper piled up 11 goals in the 15-12 opening win over Sierra.

"We don't have the traditional primary center forward," said Schmidt. "We rely on post ups and matchups to get goals.

"He's real skilled at drawing fouls and earning 5-meter shots... He's got a real good shot, which developed quite a bit over the summer."

Graper added nine in the 16-14 win over Cabrillo, three in the 18-8 win over Ohlone and six in the 17-4 win over Santa Rosa.

"I've never seen a (four-game) stretch like that for sure," said Schmidt.

VC men under water

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The Ventura College men's water polo team (4-9, 2-1) will be looking to come from behind in the WSC race after a 11-5 loss at Cuesta Wednesday, despite four goals from Spencer McGrath.

"We played them tight for almost three quarters," said Ventura coach Mark Schmidt. "They're just better than us right now."

But that doesn't mean the Pirates don't think they can turn the tables by next week's WSC championships.

"I've seen both sides of that," said Schmidt, whose team beat Cuesta three times last season before falling to the Cougars in the postseason.

VC men's water polo healing

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Also the two-time defending WSC champion, the Ventura College men's water polo team may not be feeling like it either, as injuries have kept the Pirates (1-6) from a strong start.

"We've just had a perfect storm of things hitting us," said coach Mark Schmidt.

Neither Spencer McGrath (eye), the reigning WSC Player of the Year, nor sophomore defender Nathan Nix (perforated eardrum) were available for Ventura's WSC-opening 17-3 win over Santa Monica Wednesday.

Sophomore Michael Craft has also been limited by a hip injury.

Paperwork issues have kept another key player, Steven Tennant, a transfer from Chaffey, from seeing the pool, although he is expected to be cleared soon.

"We're trying to get things in order," said Schmidt. "A lot of our freshmen are getting opportunities to step up, so it could be a good thing for down the road."

Freshman Eric Donahoo, who has scored 15 goals in the first seven games, is one of the new players who has shone.

"He's having to shoulder a lot of the offensive load," said Schmidt, "which may not be the case when we have other people there."

A pair of All-America swimmers, Collin Baratte and Daniel Colvin, have also shown promise in their first year of playing the sport.

"He's got good skills, he's obviously real fast and he's got good feel for the game," Schmidt said of Baratte.

Colvin, who won the state championship in the 50-yard freestyle last spring, is from a high school (Quartz Hill) that didn't offer water polo.

"He's progressing really nicely," said Schmidt. "He's learning the game real quickly and doing some nice things."

VC men's water polo readies for familiar foe

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The Ventura College men's water polo team will open the Southern California regional playoffs Friday against a familiar foe.

The No. 3-seeded Pirates (19-4) will face conference rival Cuesta for the fifth time this season in the regional quarterfinals at Pasadena City College.

"We went over the game plan today," said Ventura coach Mark Schmidt Wednesday. "At least we don't need to replan. We pretty much know what we're supposed to do."

Postseason play is supposed to be about unfamiliar teams sizing up each other. But Schmidt isn't too bothered about facing a conference rival in the postseason considering Ventura is 3-1 against the Cougars this season, including a 13-6 win in Saturday's Western State Conference title game.

"They don't have anything in the seeding process to account for conferences," said Schmidt.

Ventura will be without drivers Michael Crowley and Michael Craft, who were ejected from Saturday's WSC title game. Crowley leads the team in steals (28) and ranks second in goals (56) and assists (23).

"He's a key player," said Schmidt of Crowley . "The game against Cuesta, on paper, he only gave us one goal and one assist, but he makes the guys around him better.

"He's always a threat. But we've been missing guys at different points throughout the season. We have a bunch of guys who score."

Ventura may also be without driver Hayden Adler, who has been stricken by the flu this week. Schmidt said that all Ventura players were told to get tested for swine flu.

Womack backstops VC men's water polo WSC title

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VALLEY GLEN -- Spencer McGrath and Jonnie Pare scored four goals apiece and goalie Cody Womack made 14 blocks in a dominating performance as the Ventura College men's water polo team defended its Western State Conference championship with a 13-6 win over rival Cuesta Saturday afternoon at Los Angeles Valley College.

Ventura (19-4) scored the first three goals in opening a 11-1 lead on Pare's goal three minutes into the second half.

"We played our best game as a whole," said Ventura head coach Mark Schmidt. "We played very, very well. We took control of the game and kept it.

"I was really proud of the guys."

Hopeful of a Top 4 place, Ventura now awaits their Southern California regional playoff seeding Monday.

Although the Ventura men could be without starter Mike Crowley and key reserve Michael Craft for its first postseason game. Both were ejected, along with two Cuesta players, as the game unraveled in the second half in the face of Ventura's huge lead.

"I felt like the game was going to get physical and I asked (the officials) to keep control of it," said Schmidt. "But they lost it."

Cuesta had as little luck handling Ventura's counterattacking speed as it did beating Womack.

"Cody was a wall today," said McGrath.

"He was definitely today's MVP," said Pare. "He played huge."

VC men's water polo thriving

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Key returners like Mike Crowley, Hayden Adler and Daniel Olivier.

Redshirt sophomores like Tyler McClure, who has returned after a year away, and true freshmen like Spencer McGrath.

Four-year transfers like Jonnie Pare, who arrived after playing a year for the University of the Pacific.

Celebrating diversity has the Ventura College men's water polo team thriving.
"It's kind of a diverse group," said Ventura coach Mark Schmidt.

The Pirates (13-3), ranked No. 6 in the state, improved to 3-0 in Western State Conference play Wednesday with a 13-7 win at Citrus.

Outside threat Crowley, a Pacifica High product, leads the team with 36 goals and 10 assists. McGrath, a recent Ventura High graduate, has 32 goals and 14 assists. McClure (Royal) and Adler (Ventura) have given the Pirates a combined 57 goals from hole set. Pare (Oaks Christian) and Oliver (Buena), the left-hander, have 21 and 14 goals, respectively.

The 24 players on the roster come from 12 different high schools, including 10 from the county plus Carpenteria.

Ventura has won 11 of last 12 games, the lone loss being a 8-7 loss to No. 3 Long Beach City.

"We're hoping to repeat in conference," said Schmidt. "That's the No. 1 goal."

But Ventura has also shown that it can compete on the state level. The Pirates held third quarter leads on the top two teams in Southern California, No. 2 Golden West and No. 3 Long Beach, before falling 13-9 on Sept. 18 and 8-7 Oct. 10, respectively.

"We really played well, that's what the guys have taken confidence from," said Schmidt. "We just made a couple of mistakes and it got away from us."

The Pirates hope to learn from past mistakes at this weekend's Golden West tournament, where they open up Saturday with a rematch with the powerhouse hosts.

VC men's water polo wins WSC title

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Jeremy Allen scored five goals and Mike Lee and Tyler Pool each added two goals and two steals as the top-seeded Ventura College men's water polo team won its second WSC championship in 20 years with a 10-5 win over conference-power Cuesta.

Down 3-1 after the first quarter and without second leading-scorer Mike Crowley for the second half, the VC men (15-8, 6-0) responded to complete the program's first unbeaten WSC season.

"We got down... but we fought back," said Allen. "Everyone kept their head and continued to push through it."

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Ventura County Star sports writer and columnist Joe Curley covers college sports and soccer for this Star. This is the place to click for local college football and basketball coverage, including USC, UCLA, Moorpark College, Ventura College and Cal Lutheran.

Curley will update from live events and also interject with periodic comment on both international soccer and the local Ventura County Fusion.