The Cal Lutheran women's basketball team has had enough difficulty trying to dribble, shoot and rebound so far this season. But Friday night, the Regals bottomed out when they could not even find their way to the Cal Baptist tournament in time for a game against UC Riverside.
According to Jim Buchheim, CLU sports information director, the Regals (1-7) were "slowed by rush-hour traffic, a driving rainstorm and less-than-adequate directions from Cal Baptist tournament officials."
"They told us to stay on the 210 Freeway until we got to the 10 and then go from the 10 to the 91, or something like that," Buchheim said, "but they left out that we were supposed to get off on another freeway before the 91. The team stayed on the 10 until they ended up in the desert somewhere, Palm Springs, I think."
Eventually, the team found Cal Baptist, but it was too late. The decision was in the books as a forfeit. Coach Norm Chung said he had hoped to work something out with tournament officials, but couldn't.
Later, Chung made this assessment of his team: "Our young players are getting some valuable experience and they're improving, especially on defense. But we're still making some freshman mistakes and our shooting must improve if we expect to win some games."
Not to mention, of course, eliminating their traveling violations.
Unsuitable: Cal State Northridge soccer Coach Marwan Ass'ad planned to wear a suit on the sidelines during the NCAA Division II Final Four but opted for two layers of sweats when the temperature in Tampa, Fla., dipped into the low 40s.
"I couldn't wear my shoes because I wanted to wear two pairs of socks," Ass'ad said. "So the suit was out of the question."
Sunday morning, it was also out of the closet. Permanently.
"Someone stole it," Ass'ad said. "That suit must have been a sign of our luck." Northridge lost the title game Sunday, 2-0, to Southern Connecticut.
An empty net result: Steve Lazarus, who had a penalty kick stopped by Southern Connecticut goalie Mike Cashman in the championship game, said he felt confident before the attempt but hurried his approach.
"There was no doubt in my mind I was going to make it," Lazarus said. "The referee blew the whistle and for some reason, I got overanxious and started my run sooner than I should have."
Header the hard way: After the final, Ass'ad said he chose Lazarus to take the penalty kick because Joey Kirk, CSUN's leading scorer, appeared to be shaken up on the flagrant foul that resulted in the shot.
"Our guys were yelling at Joey from the sideline, 'Are you OK?, Are you OK? and he didn't answer," Ass'ad said. "When a player is hit with the kind of foul that shakes the player up, and especially when he hit his head, it's not very smart to let him take the shot."
A wiser Owl: The NCAA title is the first for Southern Connecticut Coach Bob Dikranian, who has a record of 167-42-19 in his 12 years with the Owls.
"He's a great coach and he did a better coaching job than I did for the game," said Ass'ad, who has a record of 81-16-11 in his five seasons at CSUN.
Dikranian, who once recruited Ass'ad as a player, said one of the keys for his team was containing CSUN midfielder Thor Lee.
"He was dynamic the night before against Tampa," Dikranian said. "I think one of the reasons we were able to contain him and their other midfielders was that we had nine guys back and in the midfield."
Honor roll: Tracy Downs of Cal Lutheran was the recipient of the Western Football Conference's Pat Malley Award for "demonstrated excellence in the areas of leadership, scholarship and character." The 5-5, 185-pound fullback was selected by a committee of the WFC's faculty athletic representatives. He is the second Cal Lutheran player to be honored with the award in its four-year history. Noel Hicks, also a running back, was honored in 1985.
Add honors: Ten Cal State Northridge players were selected to the All-Western Football Conference team along with three from Cal Lutheran in voting by the conference's coaches.
Center Brian Clark and tailback Albert Fann of Northridge were first-team offense, as were quarterback Tom Bonds and wide receiver Joe Monarrez of Cal Lutheran. Lineman Dester Stowers, linebacker Mark Dozier and cornerback Kip Dukes of Northridge were first-team defense, joining lineman Earl Bentancourt of Cal Lutheran.
Northridge receiver Keith Wright and linemen Lou Murino and Tony Palamara were second-team offense. Linebacker Tracy Anderson and punter Trent Morgan of CSUN were second-team selections on defense.
Running back Richard Brown and defensive tackle Steve Dominic of Northridge received honorable mention, as did defensive end Rueben Solorio and linebacker Torii Lehr of Cal Lutheran.
Conference-champion Portland State, which will play Troy State, Ala., for the Division II championship Saturday, swept the major awards. Quarterback Chris Crawford was offensive player of the year, safety Tracey Eaton was defensive player of the year and Pokey Allen was coach of the year.
Down and downsized: College of the Canyons (0-3) is the home of the incredible shrinking women's basketball team.
Canyons was down to six players after Nancy Serrano decided not to play this season. Only five players suited up Wednesday against Santa Barbara in the first round of the Pasadena City College tournament because Wendy Steele was battling the flu and did not play.
Staff writers Mike Hiserman, Gary Klein, Gordon Monson and Ralph Nichols contributed to this notebook.