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SportsScope : Playoff Hope Vanishes but Azusa Still Has a Big Attraction in Bruiser Okoye

November 13, 1986

With its NAIA Division II playoff hopes dashed by a defeat at UC Santa Barbara last week, the Azusa Pacific University football team will close its season against Cal Lutheran at 1 p.m. Saturday at Thousand Oaks.

Azusa Pacific, which was ranked No. 9 in Division II before its 17-14 loss to Santa Barbara, is 5-1-2 overall and Cal Lutheran is 2-7.

However, Cal Lutheran's record is deceiving. The Kingsmen have played mostly NCAA Division II teams and have lost their last two games to Cal State Sacramento and Southern Utah State by a combined 4 points.

The Kingsmen also have played well against Azusa Pacific in the past, including a 30-27 victory over the Cougars last year.

Cal Lutheran has an outstanding passing quarterback in Tom Bonds.

Azusa Pacific, which has lost only two games in the last two seasons, has been led by running back Christian Okoye. The 6-3, 255-pound senior has rushed for a school-record 1,432 yards and 18 touchdowns in 207 carries this season.

On defense, the Cougars have been led by 6-1, 270-pound nose guard Rod Price, who is among the team leaders in tackles and quarterback sacks.

In other Saturday games matching four-year colleges, Claremont-Mudd-Scripps (7-1) will play host to La Verne (6-2) at 1:30 p.m. and Occidental (5-2-1) visits Whittier (4-5) and Pomona-Pitzer (2-6) is at home against Whittier (4-5) in 7:30 games.

The Claremont-Mudd vs. La Verne game matches two of the top performers in the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. Running back Chris Dabrow of Claremont-Mudd is the conference's top rusher with 1,110 yards and 14 touchdowns in 198 carries and quarterback Mark Van Allen of La Verne is the top passer with 130 completions in 250 passes for 1,735 yards and 18 touchdowns.

After finishing fifth against strong competition in the Air Force Premier Tournament last week, the Cal Poly Pomona women's volleyball team faces a difficult California Collegiate Athletic Assn. match against Cal State Northridge at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Poly Pavilion in Pomona.

Northridge is ranked No. 2 in NCAA Division II and Pomona is No. 20. Pomona's Broncos (14-14 overall) posted a 4-2 record in the Air Force tournament, including wins over top-20 opponents Northern Colorado and Minnesota-Duluth.

That gives Pomona Coach Paul Gabriel hope against Northridge, a perennial Division II power that leads the CCAA.

"We are playing more consistent volleyball," Gabriel said. "We are able to recover after playing a bad match. Against second-ranked Northridge, we can win if we get a good performance out of everyone. There's always a chance."

The Broncos have received strong performances recently from 5-7 seniors Kelly Bouwman, Peggy Baker and Sue Samuel and 5-11 sophomore Terry Dias.

David Palic, the former La Salle High of Pasadena standout now a sophomore forward at Santa Clara University, has been selected to play for the West team in the United States Soccer Federation Regional Tournament on Nov. 29 and 30 at Orlando, Fla.

An honorable-mention All-Pacific Soccer Conference selection as a freshman, Palic leads the Broncos in scoring with four goals, seven assists and 15 points. "I look forward to getting a chance to test my skills against the best soccer players in the nation," Palic said.

Palic was one of the top players in the CIF Southern Section as a senior in the 1984-85 season, earning 2-A Division player of the year honors. Palic led La Salle to back-to-back 1-A Division titles in the 1982-83 and 1983-84 seasons.

The Azusa Pacific men's basketball team is ranked No. 3 in the NAIA District III in a pre-season poll of coaches.

The Cougars, listed behind top-ranked Westmont of Santa Barbara and Biola of La Mirada, finished 12-22 last season but landed several outstanding transfers, including guard Danny Scott (6-1) from Pasadena City College and forwards Ed Mitchell (6-6) from Santa Barbara City College and Alex Adams (6-4) from Saddleback.

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