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NOTEBOOK : Win Too Little, Too Late for Occidental's Football Team

October 19, 1989|GARY KLEIN

The Occidental College football team scored its biggest victory of the season Saturday when the Tigers upset the University of San Diego, 23-17.

However it's doubtful that the win over previously unbeaten San Diego, which was ranked fourth in the West among National Collegiate Athletic Assn. Division III teams, will have much of an impact on Occidental's chances at a playoff bid.

Occidental Coach Dale Widolff says his team's 4-1 record--helped by a forfeit win over Azusa Pacific--does not compare to San Diego's 5-1 mark.

"Too be honest, I don't think it (Occidental's record) will matter to the selection committee because we still lost on the field to Azusa and that gives us two losses," said Widolff, whose team suffered a season-opening loss to Menlo. "I don't think a team from the West with more than one loss has ever been invited to the playoffs."

Occidental resumes play in the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference on Saturday when the Tigers travel to Claremont.

Standing tall: Occidental is atop the SCIAC standings with a 2-0 record and also leads the conference in several statistical categories.

Freshman tailback Gary Little is the SCIAC's top runner, averaging 152.3 yards a game. The Tigers are also first in rushing offense at 230 yards a game. However, Occidental is last in passing offense at 89.4 yards a game.

Occidental leads the conference in total defense (275.2) with a unit that limits opponents to a conference-low 126.4 yards a game while surrendering 148.8 a game passing.

Confidence-builder: Glendale College's 44-41 victory over Santa Monica on Saturday did more than simply improve the Vaqueros' record to 3-1-1 overall and 3-0-1 in the Western State Conference.

Since routine victories over weak Pierce and Compton teams had followed a season-opening loss to Pasadena and a tie against defending national champion Bakersfield, Saturday's victory over Santa Monica was the first time that Glendale had beaten a strong opponent.

"We played a good team in Pasadena and lost and a good team in Bakersfield and tied," Coach John Cicuto said. "We've proved that we can beat a good team and I think that's a important step for our players in terms of confidence."

Strong-arm tactics: Ronnie Lopez made his first start at Glendale College on Saturday, reviving memories of the quarterback who was named co-Player of the Year in the City Section 3-A Division when he led Franklin High to a conference title.

Lopez, a sophomore who transferred to Glendale after playing his freshman season at Pierce, completed 12 of 23 passes for 266 yards and two touchdowns against Santa Monica.

Lopez started in place of sophomore Darren Fitzgerald, who suffered a bruised shoulder the week before against Compton.

"We told Ronnie before the game, 'This is your chance,' " Cicuto said. " 'It's going to make or break you.' I thought he responded to the challenge and did a tremendous job."

In the running: Occidental cross-country runner Laurie Schuster is on pace to win the SCIAC individual title.

Schuster, a senior from Danville, Calif., has won all four of her SCIAC dual-meet races. Not coincidentally, the Tiger women's team is also unbeaten heading into its final conference race Saturday against Caltech and Whittier at the Arroyo Seco in Pasadena.

The SCIAC championship meet will be held Oct. 28 at La Mirada Park in La Mirada.

Tournament time: The Occidental College women's volleyball team (3-9 overall and 2-2 in the SCIAC) will host a five-team tournament next Saturday.

Occidental, Cal Lutheran, CS San Bernardino, Christian Heritage and Mt. St. Mary's will participate in the round-robin tournament.

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