Winter Sports Prepare for Matches to Start in November

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Author: Sant Kumar & Jeremy Shapiro

Men’s Basketball

The Occidental men’s basketball team hopes to rebound from last season. In 2010 the Tigers compiled a 12-13 record, including a 6-8 campaign in the SCIAC. “Rarely have I been more excited about the start of a basketball season. We have everyone back off last year’s team and I think we are all coming into the season with a chip on our shoulders. Nobody was happy about the way last year finished up,” said Coach Brian Newhall. The team is returning the entire roster, which is mostly comprised of sophomores and juniors.

The Tigers have play-makers on the offensive and defensive sides of the ball. Forward Deshun McCoy (junior) and guard Jack Hanley (senior) were both tied for fifth in the SCIAC in points per game with 13.5 last year. Additionally, forward Jake Copithorne (senior) finished second in the SCIAC with 8.8 rebounds per game.

“We have a great group of guys who work hard everyday to maximize their individual, and our team’s, potential. I am very excited to see how good we can be,” said Anahit Aladzhanyan, the Tigers’ assistant coach. The Tigers have reason to be excited. With all of their players returning, including standout players in the SCIAC, they hope to make last year’s season a distant memory.

The men begin their season Nov. 5 at the Pepperdine Exhibition.

Women’s Basketball

Last year the Occidental women’s basketball team compiled a 19-9 record, including a 12-2 finish in SCIAC play, and they now look to pick up from where they left off. “Our team is young, but experienced. I believe our team is mature. We have great chemistry and excellent leadership. We compete hard and have fun doing so,” said Head Coach Heidi VanDerveer, who is beginning her third year.

The Tigers are led by guard Makenzie Brandon (junior) who ranked fourth in the SCIAC in points per game with 13.3 and third in the SCIAC in assists, averaging 3.8 per game. The Tigers are returning 13 players from last year’s roster in addition to two first-years and one transfer.

They look poised to compete for the SCIAC championship yet again. “We have a vision of what it takes to be very competitive, and that vision includes a daily dose of hard work. Players on our team have high expectations for themselves individually and for our team collectively.

We understand that in order to be successful we have to play hard, play smart, and play together,” said Coach VanDerveer.

The Tigers season begins Nov. 21 versus Trinity University.

Men’s Swimming

Last year the men’s swimming team had a first-year class of eight, and they helped the team to be the seventh most improved team in Division III. This year, the team returns three seniors—Alex Budig, Zachary Condon and Riley Kimball—along with two juniors and three sophomores. This year, the team brings on another incoming squad of 10. Though the team is still young, it hopes to develop into a dominant force in the SCIAC.

Leading the team will be the new Director of Aquatics and head coach, Shea Manning. Despite being a first-year head coach, Coach Manning is familiar with the SCIAC and Occidental College because he swam at Claremont-Mudd-Scripps. Before being an assistant coach in Division I, Manning also helped coach his alma mater to a pair of SCIAC titles. With a talented young group of swimmers and a senior core, Coach Manning hopes that he has similar success here.

“The men come back this season with something to prove. There is a strong belief among each member of the team that the 7th place finish at the SCIAC Championship was not representative of the level of talent or dedication of this team. With the return of a strong core of leaders, matched with new talent, the men’s team has the necessary ingredients to lead a resurgence on the Conference and NCAA level. Keep an eye on several of those 20-35 year old team records as the men will be eyeing them at the end of the season,” said Coach Manning.

Men’s swimming kicks off their season at the Redlands Pentathlon on Nov. 12.

Women’s Swimming

 

Similar to the men’s team, the women’s swimming team is dependent on a group of young swimmers and a few seniors to be competitive in SCIAC. The team finished third last year in the SCIAC, behind Claremont-Mudd-Scripps and Redlands, respectively.

Many of the first-years performed very well at SCIAC, including Juliet Suess (sophomore) and Caroline Chang (sophomore). Suess won the Women’s 200-yard Freestyle, while Chang won Women’s 100 and 200-yard breaststroke.

Coach Shea Manning hopes to lead this talented group of young swimmers, including seven freshman, to a better record than last year. Though CMS boasted a meet record of 7-0, Occidental was not far behind. The women’s team raced to a 5-2 record. The Tigers, however, will face stiff competition this year as Pomona-Pitzer and Redlands also recorded five wins and two losses.

“The women’s team is energized coming off of the most successful season in recent history. Their third place finish at the SCIAC Conference Meet, dual meet defeat of the University of Redlands and first NCAA qualifier since the 1980’s have the potential to spark continued growth this season. They have the opportunity to solidify themselves as one of the SCIAC’s top teams, while also making strides toward becoming a perennial presence at the NCAA meet,” said Coach Manning.

The women will join the swimming men at the Redlands Pentathlon on Nov. 12.

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