Zoe Nightingale has seen this storied rivalry play out from both sides of the net, which normally might cause the college sporting world to spin off its axis, at least in Los Angeles.
The St. Francis High School graduate helped UCLA win the 2011 NCAA volleyball championship as a freshman, and she graduated last spring with a degree in sociology. And then of all things, Nightingale enrolled at USC – the enemy for all things Bruins – to pursue her master’s degree in strategic public relations, which seems all the more fitting, considering the switch of allegiances.
She also wanted to try her hand and feet once more in outdoor volleyball. The 6-foot-3 Nightingale played half a season for UCLA’s outdoor volleyball team last year before breaking her wrist in a skiing accident. The battle scar from her tumble on the slopes is now a badge of honor she flashes during USC’s “Fight On” victory song.
543.50 Winning point total by the Sierra College men at the state swimming and diving championships
Over the weekend, Nightingale’s wrist was strong enough to endure an onslaught of high-fives from her new teammates as top-ranked USC topped No. 2 Florida State 3-0 to win the inaugural NCAA beach volleyball championship in Gulf Shores, Ala. The Seminoles beat UCLA to advance to the final.
Nightingale earned all-tournament honors and became the first NCAA athlete to play for indoor and outdoor volleyball championship teams. All of this from a player who said her hobbies include the beach and “pretending to surf.” A true hobby: winning.
Sierra champions – Sierra College won its first community college state men’s swimming and diving championship over the weekend at East Los Angeles College. The Wolverines had 543.50 points to dethrone three-time defending champion Golden West of Huntington Beach.
Sierra picked up victories in the 400 medley relay and the 1,650 freestyle, where Slava Illin overpowered leader Drew Sipple of Santa Rosa in the final 25 yards to win in 15 minutes, 55.34 seconds. The Wolverines’ Chris Breitbart was named the state Coach of the Year.
Folsom Lake surge – In just its second year of baseball, No. 14 seed Folsom Lake College stunned third seed Sacramento City College in the opening round of the Northern California Regional playoffs, sweeping the best-of-three series 3-1 and 12-8.
Will Felton earned the 3-1 victory, striking out nine and walking none. In the clincher, Michael Majeski, Joseph Smith, Nick Schumacher, Nicola Mislinski and Greg Vaughn drove in two runs each, and Jason Wullenwaber earned the save, striking out five in 3 1/3 innings.
Folsom Lake (25-13) plays at Santa Rosa in a best-of-three series starting Friday.
Cosumnes River College (30-9) dispatched Marin in three games. Matt Stafford threw 7 2/3 sharp innings in a 2-0 win in the opener, and Jeremy Caldwell and Cameron Keup combined on a one-hitter in a 1-0 win in Game 3. CRC, the 2012 state champion, hosts College of San Mateo in a best-of-three starting Friday.
14 Playoff seed of the Folsom Lake College baseball team, which upset No. 3 Sacramento City College in the Northern California Regionals
Softball rivals to meet – Seeded fourth, Cosumnes River will play No. 5 Sierra in a NorCal second-round playoff series at College of San Mateo beginning Friday. Both teams are 32-10. CRC advanced by beating Feather River 11-5 and 8-0, and Sierra eliminated Solano 9-0 and 3-1.
Sacramento City (31-8-1), seeded third, plays San Jose City College in an opener at Fresno City College on Friday after bouncing Shasta 1-0 and 5-4.
Amber Wright leads CRC in batting with a .455 average and 48 runs, Madison Butcoff leads Sac City with a .412 average, and Syrina Vasquez paces Sierra with a .394 average. Kali Sargent leads Sac City with 21 pitching wins, Taylor Ebner paces Sierra with 19, and Aimee Hutchinson leads CRC with 18.
Volek honored – John Volek, a former Sacramento State football coach who capped his decades-long career in education as director of athletics at Sierra, will add another honor to his trophy case.
On June 14 in Dallas, Volek will be inducted into the Hall of Fame of the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics for his work at Sierra from 2003 to 2011. He helped the program soar to prominence with state championships in women’s tennis (2007), wrestling (2007) and baseball (2008) and a nation-leading 37-game winning streak in football from 2002 to 2005. Volek also oversaw vast facility upgrades.