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Capital University News, California State University, Sacramento

February 03, 2004

Hornet sports has high hopes for spring

From the finale of the basketball season to promising gymnastics, tennis, baseball and softball teams, the spring semester should feature plenty of sports highlights. Here’s a brief preview of what’s ahead in intercollegiate athletics:

Men’s basketball
The team is in the midst of a 2003-04 season that has seen the team average nearly 70 points a game and post a 4-1 record against the Big West Conference, including victories over Cal State Fullerton, UC Irvine, Long Beach State and UC Riverside.
The Hornets final regular-season home game is Feb. 21 against Idaho State.

Women’s basketball
Junior Roberta Fessenko of Russia is among the returning players to the defending Big Sky champion Hornet women’s tennis team. The team was ranked 55th in the preseason ITA Div. I national poll – the highest ranking in school history.
Junior Roberta Fessenko of Russia is among the returning players to the defending Big Sky champion Hornet women’s tennis team. The team was ranked 55th in the preseason ITA Div. I national poll – the highest ranking in school history.

The team has developed a reputation as one of the toughest defensive teams in the Big Sky Conference. At the end of January, the Hornets were ranked third in three-point field goal percentage defense and steals in the Big Sky Conference.

Because of their defensive prowess, seven of the Hornets' losses so far have been by 10 points or less. Last year's squad lost just three games by 10 points or less all season. The team’s final regular-season home game is Feb. 28 against Montana State.

Gymnastics
Having won four straight conference titles, the team will set its sights on a bid to the NCAA Regionals in 2004.
Leading the charge is senior Binta Coleman. Earlier this year, the Elk Grove native recorded the second-best all-around score in school history. The team has strong depth, but is still trying to fill the void left by the career-ending leg injury to Toni Petersen.

Softball
Fresh off a season in which the team recorded a 12-win improvement over the previous year, the Hornets enter 2004 with nine returning starters, the most in head coach Kathy Strahan's 12-year tenure with the team.
The Hornets appear to be primed to top last year's breakthrough season.
At one point during last season, the Hornets were 25-15 before fading in the last 16 games, largely due to injuries.

Baseball
The squad opened last season in a newly renovated Hornet Field and responded with a 23-9 home record and a 33-24 overall record. It marked the first time the team had surpassed the 30-win mark since 1993.
Head coach John Smith, who recorded his 700th career win in 2003, enters his 26th season with the program. The team returns seven starters from last year.

Men’s tennis
The team is aiming for its fourth-consecutive Big Sky Conference title and sixth in the last seven years. The Hornets return just four players from last season, but second-year head coach Sherif Zaher is excited about the incoming class of six freshmen – the most in program history.
Since 1998, the team has a 99-49 record and has advanced to the NCAA Championships four times.

Women’s tennis
The team enters the 2004 season ranked 55th in the country, the highest ranking in program history. The Hornets have won each of the last two Big Sky Conference championships and have combined for a 36-12 record over that span.
This year's team has one player ranked nationally – sophomore Margarita Karnaukhova at No. 41 – and four players ranked among the top 30 in the Northwest Region.

Rowing
The rowing squad enters the season poised to make a run at its third Western Intercollegiate Rowing Association (WIRA) championship in five years.
The team returns a total of 23 student-athletes from the 2003 team, including senior co-captains Adelle Reimer and Stephanie Brow.
The CSUS Aquatic Center, the team’s home facility in Rancho Cordova, will host the NCAA Championships in both 2004 and 2005. That will mark four times in nine years that CSUS will have served as the host institution to the national championships.

Track and field
The CSUS track and field teams will have a decisively different look in 2004 under the leadership of first-year head coach Kathleen Raske. During six years at Central Michigan University, Raske coached 15 Mid-American Conference champions and had 44 athletes earn all-league honors.
Senior Brandon Parker highlights the roster. Last year, Parker earned a bid to the NCAA Championships, won the Big Sky Conference title and set the school record in the long jump.

Golf
The men's and women's golf teams each return to the course this spring for four tournaments.
The women's team will be led by senior Courtney Cotter, who will be looking to close out her collegiate career with a strong showing. The women's season culminates at the Big Sky Championship on April 19-21 in Phoenix.

The men's team has a youthful look with just two seniors. The men will open their season on Feb. 29 before hosting the Sacramento State Invitational on March 8-9 at Rancho Murieta Country Club.

For schedules and the latest sports news, visit www.hornetsports.com.

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California State University, Sacramento • Public Affairs
6000 J Street • Sacramento, CA 95819-6026 • (916) 278-6156 • infodesk@csus.edu
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California State University, Sacramento • Public Affairs
6000 J Street • Sacramento, CA 95819-6026 • (916) 278-6156 • infodesk@csus.edu