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Results tagged “Riverside” from College Sports Blog

As Pirates rest, SoCal regional football playoffs take shape

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Under usual circumstances, a bye week for the final week of the regular season would just mean the Ventura College football season ending seven days early.

But this has been no ordinary season for the Pirates, who have finished 10-0 for the first time in school history, won the SCFA Northern Conference and clinched a berth in next weekend's Southern California semifinals.

"It's a three-game season right now," Ventura coach Steve Mooshagian said this week. "You're in the tournament. There's only six teams that get to do this throughout the state of California and we're one of them."

Mooshagian's team practiced Tuesday and Wednesday, spent Thursday in the gym and took the weekend off, ahead of Sunday's playoff pairings announcement.

"We should know who we're going to play at some point on Sunday," said the third-year Ventura head coach.

The SoCal playoff field will consist of the National Division's three conference champions, plus a wildcard team, and be seeded by the final regional poll.

No. 2 Ventura (10-0) has clinched the Northern Conference.

No. 1 Mount San Antonio (9-0) and No. 3 Riverside City (8-1) -- both 5-0 in conference play -- will determine the Central Conference champion Saturday at 6 p.m. with their showdown in Walnut, which will be broadcast by http://www.SoCalCollegeSports.com.

The Southern Conference is a mess. No. 6 Santa Ana (7-2), No. 7 Saddleback (5-4) and No. 9 Fullerton (5-4) are tied atop the standings at 4-1. Santa Ana, which owns the tiebreaker, can clinch the berth by beating Fullerton Saturday. Should Fullerton triumph, Saddleback can clinch the berth by beating Golden West. Fullerton will advance with a win and a Saddleback loss.

While much of the Pirates' coaching staff is schedule to scout the Mt. SAC-Riverside showdown Saturday, Mooshagian is planning on taking in Santa Ana-Fullerton in person.

"It'll be interesting to see how it plays out," Mooshagian said. "There are about six scenarios in play... We can't control it. I just hope there's no shenanigans involved."

The Mt. SAC-Riverside loser seems to have the inside track on the wild card berth, which is goes to the highest ranked non-champion in the final regional poll. But No. 4 Bakersfield (7-2) and No. 5 Citrus (7-2) could force their way into the discussion by beating Pasadena City (1-8) and No. 8 Los Angeles Harbor (5-4) Saturday.

An 8-2 Riverside and an 8-2 Bakersfield could make for a heck of a wild-card debate Sunday morning, considering, in that scenario, both teams would have lost to the same two teams -- Ventura and Mt. SAC.

Mooshagian is more concerned with what the bracket would look like if Mt. SAC loses to Riverside for the second straight year. Ventura would, most likely, ascend to the top seed, but might not get the benefit of facing the bottom seed.

SCFA bylaws say the seeding committee "may" reseed the field to avoid matching up two conference opponents. In that scenario, five-time defending SoCal champion Mt. SAC would visit VC next week, rather than a potential four-loss team.

"That's my only concern," Mooshagian said. "If we happen to be fortunate to make it through undefeated, then we should play the fourth seed. It shouldn't have to be manipulated so that Mt. Sac and Riverside don't play again."

Climbing VC football keeps perspective

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The Ventura College football team's 2-0 start is opening eyes across both the state and country.

Although head coach Steve Mooshagian is working to keep the Pirates' feet on the field.

"I try to take it low-key," Mooshagian said. "It's still so early in the season. I try to keep polls in proper perspective. I know it's a long season."

Impressive wins over former Mission Conference powers Riverside and Long Beach City has seen Ventura rise to No. 2 in Southern California and No. 7 in the state in this week's California Community College Football Coaches Association polls.

The Pirates also rose three spots to No. 10 in this week's JC Grid-wire/JCFootball.com national poll. The rankings represent a high-water mark for the program since running back Travis Rogers powered it into the 1999 Southern California title game.

"You can't get caught up in these things," Mooshagian said. "People will have to prove each week. You really have to keep it in perspective and stay humble."

Ventura should have no problem focusing on Saturday's trip to No. 2 Los Angeles Harbor, which is also ranked in the state (13) and nation (19).

"Anybody can beat anyone," Mooshagian said.

The Riverside team that Ventura upset on opening night rebounded with an impressive 47-7 win over powerful Palomar, which is why the Tigers are already back up to No. 3 this week.

"It shows the respect that people have for Riverside's program," Mooshagian said. "It also shows newfound respect for our (program). It is flattering."

VC makes all the right plays in upset

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There were more than two game-winning plays in the Ventura College football team's 28-27 upset of Riverside Saturday night at the VC Sportsplex.

Before quarterback Ebahn Feathers' stepped into a blitzing linebacker to deliver the game-winning points to receiver Dylan McDaniel and safety Matt Arve pulled down the game-clinching interception, Christopher Mack, Joe Mendoza and P.J. Gremaud ensured the game was still in doubt in that final minute.

"You never know when your play can make the difference," Ventura coach Steve Mooshagian said. "There are five or six key plays in a game and you never really know when they'll happen."

Before its game-winning 10-play, 91-yard drive, Ventura had two early chances to take the lead in the fourth quarter. The first ended at the Riverside 25-yard line, when cornerback Tray Hall stepped in front of a Feathers' pass in the flat and appeared set to give the Tigers a 10-point lead with an interception return for a touchdown.

But Mack, a freshman receiver, and Feathers raced back to halt the return on the Ventura 12.

"That effort was amazing," Mooshagian said. "The game is over if they don't make the tackle."

The hustle paid off six plays later, when Gremaud, the sophomore linebacker from St. Bonaventure High, stuffed EJ Schexnayder's third-and-goal carry from the Ventura 2 and forced a chip-shot field goal, keeping Ventura within 27-21.

"We practice a lot of those situations throughout camp," Mooshagian said. "Our kids rose to the occasion."

The game was still tied after Ventura, using an offensive package installed for a rainy day just four days prior, marched 91 yards on eight straight completions by Feathers and scored using on-the-fly adjustment drawn up on the sidelines.

Holder Joe Mendoza, a sophomore from Ventura High, had to control a tricky, low snap to get the ball down for Carlos Luna's game-winning extra point.

"That was huge," Mooshagian said. "He pulled it up off the ground."

VC football in final national poll

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The Ventura College football team was ranked No. 25 in the final JCFootball.com national poll released Monday.

The Pirates finished 7-4, tied for second in the SCFA Northern Conference and beat College of the Desert, 17-16, in the SCFA Beach Bowl, sponsored by Joe Kapp Real Estate.

There were five other Southern California teams in the poll, including SCFA champion Mount San Antonio at No. 4, 11-0 Riverside at No. 5 and Northern Conference champion Cerritos at No. 13.

City College of San Francisco, which held off defending champion Mount SAC 52-42 for the state title Saturday, earned the No. 1 ranking and mythical national title.

Haflich, unbeaten teams frozen out by system

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The California community college season has looked a lot like NCAA Division I football this year as two teams, one in each region, have put together impressive 10-0 seasons but yet will not be allowed to compete for the state title.

Because of the three-tiered systems employed by the SCFA and NCFA, 10-0 Riverside (ranked tied for No. 1 in Southern California) and 10-0 American River (ranked No. 3 in Northern California), who are both from their region's middle tier, were not placed in their region's playoff systems Sunday.

Former Ventura High and Ventura College linebacker Jerry Haflich is the head coach at American River.

"We're having a great time," said Haflich, who was inducted in the Ventura College Athletic Hall of Fame earlier this year. "I'm really proud of my guys. They've played their fannies."

Since giving defending state champion and top-ranked Mount San Antonio its only loss of the season, Riverside fans have called for their team to be considered for the national title, which is determined by polls.

Despite the Boise State-like situation, Haflich isn't calling for his team to be considered for playoff spot.

"Are we ready to compete for the state title?" asked Haflich. "I don't know. We haven't
been tested week in and week out like the guys in (the top tier)."

Instead, American River has applied to be promoted to the NCFA's top tier.

"If you want to play for the state title you have to jump into the conferences that are there," said Haflich. "We're preparing to take the next step and go from there. That'll take all the question marks away."

VC football rises to No. 15, MC falls out

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The 48-0 shutout of Santa Barbara City was enough to see the Ventura College football team (2-1) climb two spots to No. 15 in this week's Southern California football coaches' poll.

The Pirates remaining seven games are all against teams in this week's Top 16.

Moorpark (1-2) fell out of the poll following its 44-17 loss at No. 10 Hancock.

There are a pair of big games Saturday as No. 1 Mount San Antonio (3-0) faces No. 4 Riverside (2-0) and No. 5 El Camino (3-0) faces No. 7 Los Angeles Harbor (3-0).

Oxnard takes down No. 1

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Is it the biggest win in Oxnard College men's basketball history? Probably not, since it didn't lead to a banner, but it's certainly in the conversation.

Freshman forward James Ennis had 27 points, nine rebounds and six assists, and freshman forward Scooter Holmes had 21 points and eight rebounds as host Oxnard shocked No. 1-ranked and defending state champion Riverside, 89-79, Thursday night at the Condor Center.

Sophomore guard Ryan McLucas added 19 points, including 4-of-5 shooting from 3-point land, as Oxnard (6-6) improved to .500 with a decisive victory over the defending state champion.

Riverside eliminated Ventura, 83-66, in last February's regional semifinals and beat Moorpark, 84-57, in the final of the Rancho Vista Shootout on Dec. 6.

Jordan Richard had 16 points and Orion Palmer and James Calhoun added 15 points each for Riverside (10-3), which was playing without star point guard Daniel Redmon, who sprained his ankle as Riverside won its illustrious 16-team tournament last weekend.

Click here for the full story which appeared in today's paper.

Champs halt Moorpark winning streak

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The Moorpark College men's basketball team had its four-game winning streak snapped by defending state champion Riverside, 84-57, in the final of the Rancho Vista Shootout Sunday night in Lancaster.

All-tournament selections Dallas Rutherford and Mike Meza had 23 and eight points, respectively.

Moorpark (4-4) was within 34-29 in the final minute of the first half, but were outscored 50-28 the rest of the way.

"It's a lot of minutes for our guys in three days," said Moorpark coach Remy McCarthy, who sat out the game after being ejected Saturday night. "But it was a valiant effort."

VC women enjoy Visalia

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The Ventura College women's basketball team will play its 13th Gilcrest Invitational final in 15 years today.

The Pirates are 6-6 in the final of the top regular season tournament in the state.

Ventura defeated host Sequoias in 1995, Sacramento City in 1997 and 1999, San Jose City in 2000 and Mount San Antonio in 2001 and 2008 and fell to San Jose City in 1996 and 1998, Los Angeles Valley in 2002, Mount San Antonio in 2003 and 2007 and Riverside in 2004.

Ventura is also 7-0 against its opponent Sunday against Cerritos under coach Ned Mircetic.

UPDATE: Ventura College women's basketball team leads Cerritos 48-28 at the half, shooting 21 of 39.

Chanelle Brennan has 17 points and three rebounds. Kris King and Amanda Padilla have 10 points each. Padilla and Erika Ward have five assists each. Ventura also outrebounding Cerritos 24 to 11.

Riverside earns its first state title game trip in 33 years

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From Riverside Sports Information:

"Riverside Community College will play in its first state championship game in 33 years tomorrow (Sunday, March 15) after holding off City College of San Francisco, 61-57, in a semifinal game at Selland Arena in Fresno.

Coaching in his first California Community College Athletic Association Championship Final as the Tigers' head coach, John Smith will try to win the district's fourth men's state championship and its first since 1966. Riverside, under legendary coach Jerry Tarkanian, won three consecutive titles - 1964, 1965, 1966. The Tigers are the only college to have won three consecutive men's basketball titles.

In Sunday's final, Riverside will face Saddleback, champions of the Orange Empire Conference and the south's No. 1 seed. Riverside, which also plays in the Orange Empire Conference, split its series with the Gauchos of Mission Viejo. Riverside won its home game, 71-57, with Saddleback edging the Tigers 67-65 in the final game of conference play and thus winning the conference title and earning the south's top seed. Saddleback advanced with a 62-59 overtime win over San Joaquin Delta earlier today. The Gauchos (29-7), meanwhile, will be trying to win its first state title in men's basketball since 2002 when under hall of fame coach Bill Brummel the Gauchos beat Los Angeles City at Spanos Arena at the University of Pacific.

In the 47-year history of state championship tournament, the Saddleback-Riverside championship game will mark just the second time two teams from the same conference have meet for the state title. The first was back in 2000 when Porterville defeated College of the Sequoias, 79-66. Both programs are members of the Central Valley Conference.

In the win over City College of San Francisco, Riverside fell behind 20-10, but used an 8-0 run to conclude the first half to pull within one at 32-31. In the second half, Riverside tied the game at 49-49 and then took the lead for good, going on an 8-2 run over the course of 2 minutes and 43 seconds. The Tigers (29-7) never trailed again.

The game featured strong defense by both teams. The game featured seven ties and the lead changed hands six times.

Riverside, which turned the ball over 19 times, shot just 37.5 percent from the floor and 15.8 from the three-point line. CC of San Francisco responded with 31.8 percent from the floor and 23.5 from the three-point line. Only four players-two from both teams-managed to score in double figures. The Rams were led by Da'Ron Sims, an all-state selection, with 21 points. Teammate Greer Wright added 16. Riverside got 25 points from Kevin Bradshaw and David Norris added 12. Robbie Robinson, who was named to the all-sate team, finished with 9 points on 4 of 10 shooting. The Tigers' bench responded with 17 points, while CC of San Francisco's bench only managed 7 points."

Men's semifinals results

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California Community College men's basketball

State semifinals, Selland Arena, Fresno

Riverside 61, San Francisco 57
Saddleback 62, San Joaquin Delta 59 (OT)

VC begins search for new full-time men's basketball coach

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The same day the temporary association of Ned Mircetic and Will Cowen with the Ventura College men's basketball team ended, the Ventura County Community College District began advertising for their full-time successor.

The No. 10-seeded Pirates completed a 24-9 season with perhaps its only lopsided loss of the year, 83-66, at No. 7 Riverside Friday night in the Southern California regional semifinals.

Only hours before, the district posted an advertisement for a full-time coach on its website, http://www.vcccd.edu.

"It's going to be a normal hiring process," said Ventura president Robin Calote. "The district screens for minimum qualifications. There's a standard hiring committee that narrows down the pool and then I do the same."

Applicants must apply by March 29. The district lists the requested start date as Aug. 11.
Calote was asked if the events of the past 16 months would influence the type of candidate for which she was looking.

"I'm looking for a person who has both ability as an instructor and as a coach, and who has an impeccable reputation, strong ethics and commitment to student success," said Calote.

"(Someone who) understand that it's important to do so by working within college and district procedures and Commission on Athletics bylaws."

Ventura officials are preparing for a deluge of applicants.

"I think we're going to have a great pool and there's going to be a number of great applicants from in and out of the state," said Tim Harrison. "I'm sure we'll have a wide variety."

The job became open only two days after the man who filled the position for nine years, Greg Winslow, was arrested Wednesday on five counts of felony grand theft and one count of felony public officer crime, which involves the misuse of public money, allegedly stemming from his actions as men's basketball coach and athletic director.

He remains on non-disciplinary, paid leave.

Cowen begins his new role as the school's athletic director today.

Mircetic, convinced by Calote to steward the program for one year, until the school could fill the position with a full-time hire, returns full-time to his women's program, which is 32-0 and four wins from its sixth state title.

Which, once again, leaves assistant coach Jon Wyers as the only off-season face of the program.

Playing as a team

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Riverside coach John Smith made an interesting comment in complimenting Ventura's three coaches hours before tipoff Friday.

"They play as a team," said Smith. "They play like Ned's (women's) team."

"He has the men playing with that type of unselfishness you see in the women's game... That's hard to prepare for."

Mircetic on VC men being seeded No. 10

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Ventura College men's basketball coach Ned Mircetic on the WSC North co-champion being seeded No. 10 and facing No. 7 Riverside in Friday's regional final:

(on being seeded No. 10)

"I was hoping to be a little higher considering we're a conference champion traveling to a third-place team and we're seeded behind some teams we beat.
"But it is what it is."

(on the parity in Southern California)

"Between the top and the bottom, there really isn't much space. It's a good year for community community basketball. I think most teams that are in the playoffs this year feel like they have a shot and there's probably a number of teams right now that feel like, had they made the playoffs, they'd have had a shot.

(on traveling Riverside, which means the first women's coach to win three straight California community college state championships visits the gym of the first men's coach to win three straight California community college state championship)

"When Tark was there at Riverside was there, I was still a kid just beginning to understand basketball. When we arrive at the gym, we'll be pleasantly surprised with the colors. We should feel right at home."

(on Riverside)

"Riverside is going to be well-coached. They'll play hard. One thing I'm going to try to get across to the kids is that this game is the most important game that they'll ever play. This game is the gateway for the season to continue.

"All our energy and our entire focus has to be almost laser-like Friday at 7 p.m. Our energy and our focus has to be at its sharpest point."

"Everything we've done and prepared for the entire year has to be executed at its highest level. There cannot be a single play that we leave to chance. You have to have the mental and emotional discipline to play our absolute best for 40 minutes."

(Is this Ventura team capable of winning the state championship?)

"Of course, but it's capable of going out in the first round, too."

(On where the Pirates stand)

"We've made great plays, we've played great games. But we've also turned the ball over and been sloppy in our execution.

"For many of the kids this year, the discipline of playing hard, the discipline of keeping a tight focus on being a great teammate, has been a learning experience."

"This group, if we could keep this group together for another year and let them age and mature, they would have a clearer understanding of everything being taught and we'd be a far-superior team. But the negative side of community college coaching is you don't have the opportunity to be with the kids the third and fourth year, when you get to take advantage of all the learning that has gone on."

Riverside coach on drawing VC men

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Riverside College coach John Smith on being seeded No. 7 and drawing the No. 10 Ventura College men's basketball team.

"I don't know much about Ventura. I'm working on that as we speak."

(on where Tigers are at after the loss of Washington-bound center Charles Garcia)

"We're playing in one of the toughest conferences in the state without our all-state player You look at any team in the Top 8, take their best player away and see if they can still compete in our conference."

"They're still a strong enough team to make a statement in the playoffs."

(on the parity in Southern California)

"There was a lot of parity this year. There was not just one clear cut team. Citrus last year was deservingly the best team in the state.But this year, there's not one team head and shoulders above the others. In that parity anything can happen."

(on moving on)

"I love where our team is at. Taking the loss of Charles Garcia and moving forward. We're not even focused on that loss anymore."

College Sports Blog
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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.