April Musing (Updated)

I probably need to check the NCAA site for notes on their management meeting. It just happened and there are typically some proposed rules that get mentioned that impact our sport. Just being lazy, which is nice.

Still working on the 2023 recruits so any help is appreciated! I feel like I’ve done the least amount of work on this compared to previous years. Just being lazy, which is becoming a problem. (On the flip side, I’m getting the most help on new recruits from others than ever before!)

I enjoyed my leg-work on the Redlands hire of Savannah Cox last month. I was pinging all of my Latvian spies and even branched out to the coaches that might have information. Let me just say that coaches love to gossip almost as much as I do!

Note to the NWC programs. One of my favorites was PLU Halle “Ping Pong” Hetzler (NWC Libero of the Year and NWC Player of the Year in 2022) who graduated. Well, I guess we now have to call her Super Senior Haley “Ping Pong” Hetzler as my spies tell me she is coming back! Will she be able to garner her third straight NWC Libero of the Year award? Will she garner back-to-back player of the year awards? I don’t know. What I do know is that no chair positioned by the volleyball court will be safe in 2023 from her dives.

I’ve been staying up on the Birmingham-Southern College financial situation and the latest news is that they are not closing their doors this year. They also didn’t get the state funding they requested. Is this just pushing the decision back a year? I had heard that most of their athletes put their name into the transfer portal. It will be interesting to see how this news impacts those decisions.

Speaking of the transfer portal, I’ve heard HSU has one of their better players in the portal.

I just got done entering the Austin College recruits on to the site. We all need to say hello to libero Laynie Kovacs out of McKinney, TX. Did I mention that she’s 5’11”? She will be taller than most outsides and a lot of the middles in the conference this year. Women’s volleyball nets are 7’4″ so she has roughly 17″ from the top of her head to her hand extended to attack a ball while standing on the ground and still be legal. I assume she’ll be legal as long as she doesn’t jump but as a former referee, I’d want to see her stand next to the net with a ball in her hand just to make sure. Austin College Coach Ed Garza didn’t seem to be too concerned, “I hope she is not getting the ball to attack. That means we [stink].”

Congratulations to Lewis & Clark’s junior Ella Ruark who has gone from Team Manager to rostered player for the upcoming season. Here is the IG video of Ella learning of the news. She’s kind of tall so maybe she’ll be a libero? (Yeah, I know I need to drop this tall libero thing.)

The (hot) wife and I travelled to London a few weeks back. I didn’t catch a soccer (football) match this time. I follow Queens Park Rangers (QPR), which is a team out of West London that is currently in the Championship League. The Championship is the second level of competition there. League 1 is the third level so, no, it’s not confusing at all. QPR was out of town but they have been a hard team to watch this year. Back in October they led the league and were positioned to be promoted to the Premier League (top level). I think they may have won only a couple of matches since that time into April and are now one of seven teams with two matches left that could be relegated to League 1. They just beat the league leaders away to boost their chances but it’s been a crazy year and one of the reasons why promotion/relegation is so cool for professional sports. It will never work in this country because the owners wouldn’t want to take the chance of losing valuation in their clubs. Still, what if we introduced something in volleyball where the DII and DIII national champions get an automatic bid into the DI tournament played a couple of weeks later. Maybe create some play-in matches so you still have the 64 DI clubs making it in. Anyone giving (DII) West Texas A&M or Juniata a chance against teams like FDU, Quinnipiac, Pepperdine or Samford?

My spies tell me that we will have a new RAC Chair in Region X this year. Whittier’s Coach Chris Duarte-McDermott has held that position since 2020 so I find it a little strange he didn’t get another year since we lost that season to COVID. Chris has done a good job at the position although he was actually helped a bit by the region being a bit down in 2021 and 2022. There just weren’t a lot of fights for him to wage. I personally didn’t like RAC Chair Chris because he wouldn’t talk to me about RAC stuff. I happen to love Whittier Head Coach Chris so it’s nice to have him back, and I will immediately start my work to decouple him from the NCAA tentacles that I’m sure are still embracing him. I’m not 100% sure how the chair is given out although it usually goes to an existing member. The one member that I really don’t know is Willamette’s Associate AD Leslie Shevlin and she could be the choice as the NWC hasn’t been the Chair in a while. So, Leslie, if you are reading this, please contact me. We need to talk. I’m really nice and a very helpful resource. Just ask Chris. Wait! Don’t ask Chris!

Back to Redlands and I was worried about their recruiting efforts hiring a coach late. They do have 3 listed on the site so maybe no need to worry. Interestingly enough, 2 of the 3 are from Virginia. I’m not sure how that really happens and they are not even from the same high school.

We have 11 transfers listed so far on the recruit page. Whittier leads all programs with three of them. I love seeing transfers because they are the wild card of recruiting. Get a good one and they come into the program ready and can easily lift a team to new heights. I haven’t started the SCIAC preview, yet, but maybe I should have Whittier first followed by CMS?

My (hot) wife is picking up some Chick-fil-A tonight for dinner. I’m so old that I remember when you could only eat there if you went to a mall. I do love the Chick-fil-A bar-b-que sauce and I don’t really understand the people that like the Chick-fil-A sauce. I can’t remember if I mentioned this story but my (hot) wife introduced me to the establishment while we were dating. She was excited to take me there (in Houston) and I was shocked that we were going to a mall and actually had to go into the food court. So strange. She raved about the nuggets and when I asked what kind of sauces they had she told me none. They were so good, you don’t need them. We get there and I order the nuggets and they were good but they needed a sauce. My (hot) wife thought I was crazy. While walking out, I noticed all of the tables had people eating nuggets WITH SAUCE! I remember a few years ago when we went to the PCC Tournament in SoCal and she got Chick-fil-A ice tea withdrawals so we had to drive 30 minutes before we found one. We past a lot of really good places where we could have had a new dining experience but it wasn’t to be. Bless her, but she is likely to choose Chick-fil-A or Chipotle no matter where we travel. With that said, I’m a sucker for Marie Calendars and their pies and they no longer exist in Texas.

No word on whether Austin College has signed a 5’0″ middle this year.

Alright, that’s all I got. About four months more to go!

Update – I forgot I was going to mention the Pacific Coast Classic. There will be 15 teams in the tournament this year and that includes 6 teams from the SCIAC. The heavy hitters coming from outside the conference are probably Carthage, Southwestern and Eau Claire. CMS will draw those three teams in the tournament, which probably confirms my evaluation. Pomona-Pitzer will get two of those teams as does La Verne. Chapman and Whittier will draw one of those teams. I really like how the tournament does their schedule as there are typically competitive matches for all 15 teams. I’ll do a deeper dive into schedules and into the tournaments later in the year.


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