August 18, 2004

Fall sports preview

 

Photo: Jameel Pugh
Jameel Pugh

The arrival of the fall sports season brings new opportunities for fans to cheer on the Hornets.

Here’s a look at what's ahead:

Men’s Basketball
The Sacramento State men's basketball program has grown leaps and bounds over the past four seasons, improving its overall and Big Sky Conference records each year during that span. After finishing tied for second in the Big Sky standings last year, the Hornets look to raise the bar even further in 2004-05 behind the strength of senior forward Jameel Pugh (ranked among Big Sky leaders in four categories last year) and junior point guard DaShawn Freeman (fifth among Big Sky leaders in steals and seventh in assists in 2003-04).

Sacramento State opens the season at Michigan on Nov. 19, and will have home games against UC Davis and San Francisco, among others.

Women’s Basketball
The women's basketball team will undergo major changes in the 2004-05 season as second-year head coach Dan Muscatell rebuilds the program. With only six players returning from last year's squad, the Hornets will have an entirely new look and style of play. Returning to the squad will be seniors Tyeisha Brown, Samania Black and Kristine Knowlton along with juniors Katelyn Ciampi and Sarah Craig, and sophomore Stephanie Cherry. Redshirt sophomore transfer Kim Sheehy will also compete in her first year with the program.

Leading the new recruiting class will be Junior College All-American Lindsey Heard. The squad will also welcome local product Rebecca Reams from Placer High School.

Football
The Hornet football team will feature a mix of returning stars and new faces during the fall. The team will be led by All-American wide receiver Fred Amey, senior quarterback Ryan Leadingham and junior running back Tyronne Gross.

While those three offensive standouts provide experience, Sacramento State will also welcome over 40 new players to its roster in 2004. The majority of the new faces will be seen on the offensive line, where just one starter returns, and on defense. The Hornets will also have a pair of new coordinators as Tim Skipper takes over on defense and Craig Young takes the offensive reigns. The Hornets open the season at Div. I-A Nevada on Sept. 11 before hosting Southern Utah on Sept. 18 in the home opener. The 51st-annual Causeway Classic will take place on Sept. 25 at UC Davis.

Men’s Soccer
After qualifying for the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Tournament for the third consecutive year, the Hornets will boast their most talented squad in the Div. I era. Among the core returners will be seniors Patrick Nelle (first team all-MPSF) and Marcos Mercado (two-time all-MPSF), junior Matt McDougall (honorable mention all-MPSF in 2002) and sophomore Ryan Rhoads.

Returning to the squad after a redshirt season will be seniors David Fraser and Ricky Rodriguez and sophomore Sean McMahon. Fraser and Rodriguez combined for seven goals, five assists and 19 points during the 2002 season.

The 2004 season will also feature a new format in the MPSF which will replace the conference tournament. The MPSF season will feature each team playing each other twice during the year. The conference champion will then earn the NCAA Tournament bid.

Women’s Soccer
First-year head coach Katie Poynter steps into her new role after spending the 2003 season as the program's top assistant. The Hornets lost 15 members from last season's squad but the program will feature one of the top recruiting classes in program history.

Returning in 2004 will be seniors Jenae Kee, Jennifer Iha and Sela Suarez, juniors Marissa Condren, Linda Sanchez, and Mandi Siller and sophomores Maggie Murphy, Sarah Moses, Katie Burton and Kelly Novak. Kee, Suarez, Sanchez, Siller, Burton and Murphy were each named honorable mention all-Big Sky last season. Also returning to the field after knee injuries will be senior Amber Dragomir (second team all-Big Sky in 2001) and sophomore Natalia Romo.

Volleyball
The Sacramento State volleyball team enters the 2004 season having won the Big Sky Conference regular season and/or tournament championships each of the last seven years while advancing to the NCAA Tournament six times during that span.

The team returns nine letter-winners and four starters from the last year's squad which posted a 23-12 overall record and a 12-2 mark in the Big Sky. Among the returners are senior outside hitter Sandra Bandimere (second team all-Big Sky in 2003), senior middle hitter Emily Wilson (honorable mention all-Big Sky in 2003) and sophomore libero Kristin Lutes (2003 Big Sky Libero of the Year).

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