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MEN'S BASKETBALL: Pima dominates Eastern Arizona

MEN’S BASKETBALL: Pima dominates Eastern Arizona

By CALEB FOSTER

The Pima Community College men’s basketball team jumped to a 7-2 overall record and 3-2 conference record with a win Dec. 6.

The Aztecs were scheduled to play at Cochise College on Dec. 10. The game took place after Aztec Press went to the printer.

Sophomore center Murphy Gershman has led the Aztecs, posting a double-double in every ACCAC conference game. Bench play has been another strong force.

During the Dec. 6 game, Pima rode a double-digit halftime lead to beat Eastern Arizona College 90-81 at home.

The victory came behind a dominating performance by Gershman, who posted a 34-point, 14-rebound double-double. He controlled the paint all night, scoring 21 of his points under the basket.

Sophomores Matt O’Boyle and Bryan Cervantes both scored in double digits. O’Boyle had 15 and Cervantes had 14 and six rebounds on the night.

Sophomore Andres Marquez had nine points of his own.

Freshman Dorian Paige scored 15 points off the bench to help the Aztecs in the win. Three of Paige’s points came from a buzzer beater right before the half.

The Aztecs had a slow start on offense in their Dec. 3 home game against Glendale Community College. After fighting early-game miscues, they got back on track to earn an 82-67 win.

Gershman came away with a 15-point, 14-rebound double-double. He also had four assists and two blocks.

O’Boyle and Cervantes both finished with 12 points.

Freshman Justin Martion led Pima in scoring, with 16 points off the bench on 6-for-9 shooting. Paige added 13 points off the bench with 4-for-4 shooting.

In a road game on Nov. 25, Pima fell to Tohono O’Odham Community College, 74-84.

Murphy Gresham

Sophomore center Murphy Gershman shoots Nov. 22 against Phoenix. (Larry Guarano/Aztec Press)

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Athletic Voice: Try my sparkle ‘sports’

Athletic Voice: Try my sparkle ‘sports’

By JAMIE VERWYS

There is much to be said about an athlete’s sweat-soaked fight for victory. Getting dirty in a game is a nod to humans’ primal nature.

But who says your sports can’t have a little sparkle? I want my no-pain, no-gain to have a metaphorical little bow, and I’m not going to wear cleats.

Before you roll your basketball in glitter paint, I’ll let you in on three of my favorite “non-sports.” They’ll make you feel good without messing up your hair.

Extreme shopping

Shopping isn’t technically a sport but no one can tell me it’s not a physical activity. You are walking while you are browsing, which we know burns calories.

Push yourself to lift every item that grabs your attention. Consider that stack of clothes as weights pumping you to bigger muscles.

Turn up the heat by making a thrift store your impromptu gym. You’ll spend more calorie-burning time searching for cute items.

Challenge yourself to try on everything you like. Taking clothes off, putting them back on and checking all angles in the mirror must burn some calories.

Cycling

Cycling is undeniably physical. That doesn’t mean you need to strap on Spandex or a mountain biking helmet. Just cruise.

Ladies, you can wrap your hair in a cute, retro scarf to maintain your do.

This relatively easy physical activity can improve your overall health. On top of that, you can travel to all the fabulous things you do in an eco-friendly way.

There are some pretty styling bikes on the market and you can always add some personal flair.

Hula hooping

My favorite physical activity is an extension of dance, a wonderful workout in itself. Hula hooping ain’t just the thing your grandma did for fun. Hooping has become a fad in the world of self-improvement.

With a little practice and hitting yourself in the face a significant number of times, you can learn tons of tricks. You’ll look super graceful without working up too much of a sweat.

If you’re unconvinced of the health benefits, or maybe just think hula hooping is too “girly,” consider this. Legendary basketball player Shaquille O’Neal is a self-proclaimed “hooper” and narrates a documentary titled “The Hooping Life.”

You might need to be a jock to conquer traditional sports but it’s not required for having some fun while bettering your body.

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Athletes named All-American

Athletes named All-American

Pima Community College athletes  continued to win accolades in December.

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Shannon Shields (Photos courtesy of PCC)

Women’s soccer player Shannon Shields, a sophomore forward, was named first team NJCAA All-American. She was also named to the Second Team of the 2014 NSCAA/Continental Tire Junior College Women’s Division I All-American list when the National Soccer Coaches Association of America released its All-American teams.

Shields helped lead the Aztecs to a Region I, Division I championship and a trip to the NJCAA national tournament. The women’s soccer team finished with a 16-6-2 overall record and an 11-0-1 record at home.

Shields was named ACCAC Division I Player of the Year and First Team All-ACCAC Conference. She played and started in 23 of the 24 games this season, and led the team in points (50) and goals scored (21) and also had eight assists on the year.

In other women’s soccer news, sophomore midfielder Sarah Dunbar and sophomore forward Rachel Ridlinghafer were selected to the Junior College Division I All-West Region team. Dunbar and Ridlinghafer both earned Second Team All-ACCAC/Region I in October.

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Arturo Vega

Men’s soccer player Arturo Vega, a sophomore midfielder, was named to the 2014 NSCAA/Continental Tire Junior College Men’s Division I First Team, and selected First Team for the Junior College Division I All-West Region. He was earlier named a second team NJCAA All-American

Vega was ACCAC Conference Player of the Year and named to the First Team All-ACCAC. He helped lead the Aztecs to the NJCAA national tournament after Pima posted a 21-5-1 season. Vega started in all 27 games and scored nine goals. He led the team in points (25) and assists (seven).

Pg10-Pilgrim-Volleyball honor

Kaysee Pilgrim

Volleyball player Kaysee Pilgrim, a sophomore middle blocker, was named to the honorable mention team. She led the Aztecs with 261 kills, 96 blocks and 324.5 points, and was named First-Team All-ACCAC Conference and selected to the All-Region I, Division II team.

Pilgrim helped Pima to a 16-15 overall record and its best finish in program history at the Region I, Division II tournament. The Aztecs took second place behind Glendale Community College, the eventual NJCAA Division II national champion.

-Compiled from press releases

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From corn fields to coaching

From corn fields to coaching

By BETO HOYOS

As a teen, Pima Community College women’s basketball coach Todd Holthaus participated in multiple sports.

“I grew up in the corn fields of Iowa,” he said. “My high school was so small that we were almost expected to play every sport because we needed the bodies.” Holthaus developed into a talented basketball player and parlayed that skill into a two-year opportunity close to home at Waldorf College in Forest City, Iowa.

He then made his way to Phoenix and played basketball for Grand Canyon University. After graduating in 1995, he taught elementary school in Phoenix for a few years. His wife Jennifer, a University of Arizona graduate, convinced him to move south. “I moved to Tucson because my wife went to the UA,” he said.

Holthaus taught and coached at Flowing Wells High School for seven years, then worked as a UA women’s basketball assistant coach for two years. “When you’re a Division I coach, you’re gone from your family a lot and at the time my kids were really small,” he said.

A coaching position opened at PCC in 2006, and Holthaus took a chance. “It was a situation where I wanted to be around my family more and it just happened to work out,” he said.

“It came with about a $50,000 pay cut but since then we’ve worked it out to where I can be here full time.” Holthaus said he draws inspiration from his wife and four children, and works hard every day because of them.

His oldest child is 13 and his youngest is 18 months old. “Yeah, we have a full house,” he said.

Coaches often get credit for teaching but Holthaus said his players always manage to teach him things. “I enjoy coaching because I feel like I still learn things,” he said.

“My biggest satisfaction in being the Pima coach is helping kids move on to a four-year university, especially if they want to keep playing basketball.”

Basketball can help pay for an education, he said, “which in the big picture is the most important thing.”

Sophomore guard Jayla Brown said Holthaus has a way of connecting with players on and off the court. “I absolutely love how he pushes me past what I’m comfortable with,” she said

Holthaus said female athletes still face challenges. “Exposure and funding has a long way to go, and there’s not as much professional opportunity as there is for men,” he said. His biggest personal challenge is holding himself to a high standard so he’ll be a good role model for the young women he coaches, Holthaus said.

“I just always want to be here for them, so that when they graduate and years down they can look back and still count on me and still invite me to weddings,” he added.

“He’s a great coach,” freshmen guard Gabby Banales said. “He actually cares about us and wants us to do good things away from basketball.”

During his time at PCC, Holthaus has seen the basketball program evolve and gain positive recognition. “We’ve established a good reputation, not just locally but nationally,” he said.

“We’re usually ranked and I think that makes it easier to recruit because people associate success with Pima.” Having more players wanting to join the team means he must be a little pickier, but Holthaus called that “a good problem to have.” Holthaus and his team take part in many community events, such as volunteering at local elementary schools to promote an active lifestyle. “We go to different schools and participate in recess, because they keep cutting programs for PE,” he said. “We go and keep the young kids active so they’re not just sitting around.” It bothers him when schools drop physical education programs. “It’s extremely important to me,” he said. “It seems like physical activity is becoming less and less important to people.”

Head women's basketball coach Todd Holthaus watches from the sideline during the Phoenix College game on Nov. 22 Pima won the home opener 50-38

Head women’s basketball coach Todd Holthaus watches from the sideline during the Phoenix College game on Nov. 22 Pima won the home opener 50-38

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WOMEN'S SOCCER: Team earns sportsmanship award

WOMEN’S SOCCER: Team earns sportsmanship award

By ADRIANNA BARRIENTEZ

The Pima Community College women’s soccer team held its own against the No. 2 team in the country on Nov. 19 but didn’t finish with a win.

The seventh-seeded Aztecs lost 4-1 to No. 2 Monroe College (New Rochelle, N.Y.) in the final Pool B match of the NJCAA national tournament in Florida. At an awards ceremony Nov. 22, Pima received the tournament’s Sportsmanship Award.

Monroe went on to win the tournament, defeating No. 1 Iowa Western 2-1 in the championship game. After losing the first game of the tournament, Pima had to beat Monroe by four goals to force a playoff match or win by five goals to move on to the semifinals.

“I’m really proud of the way we rallied and played today against the No. 2 seed,” head coach Kendra Veliz said in a press release. Sophomore Angelica Gonzalez made 10 saves and the Pima defense held its own early in the first half, but Monroe led 1-0 at halftime.

In the second half, Pima took a shot on goal within the first minute and tied the game 1-1 shortly after when freshman Devyn Hunley headed in a goal.

The goal came off a corner kick by freshman Brandi Park. Monroe pulled away with three goals by the same player in the final minutes. In the first game of the national tournament on Nov. 18, Pima took an early lead against No. 11 Owens Community College of Ohio but then played a game of catch-up.

The Aztecs tied the game near the end of the first half but surrendered three goals in the second half for a 5-2 loss. Sophomore Shannon Shields gave the Aztecs a 1-0 lead when she recovered a ball and hit a shot in the early minutes.

Owens CC tied the game 30 seconds later and took the lead at the midway mark. Sophomore Rachel Ridlinghafer tied the game 2-2 when she scored on a header with minutes left in the first half.

Park had the corner kick assist. Owens CC scored three goals in the final minutes of the second half. Pima outshot Owens 19-9 and Gonzalez finished the game with four saves. Veliz said the final scores don’t reflect PCC’s quality of play in the tournament.

“I don’t think either scoreline is indicative of the way we played,” she said. The Aztecs finished the season with a 16-6-2 overall record and were 11-0-1 at the Kino North Grandstand. Shields was named ACCAC conference Player of the Year after finishing with 21 goals for the season. Veliz was named ACCAC conference Coach of the Year.

 

Team captains, from left, Nikki Reed, Sarah Dunbar and JessAnn Robinson accept the national tournament Sportsmanship Award on Pima’s behalf. (Photo courtesy of PCC)

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WOMEN'S BASKETBALL: Pima showcases defense in victory

WOMEN’S BASKETBALL: Pima showcases defense in victory

By BETO HOYOS

The Pima Community College women’s basketball team used strong defense to pick up its second conference win.

The Aztecs (3-1, 2-0 in ACCAC conference) defeated Phoenix College 50-38 on Nov. 22 in their home opener. Pima got out to a rough start offensively but forced Phoenix College to turn the ball over 28 times.

“The girls did a good job playing defense on a night when we struggled offensively,” head coach Todd Holthaus said. “Playing good defense and rebounding will carry us a long way.”

Sophomore forward Melody McLaughlin led the team with 11 points and nine rebounds. She was named ACCAC Division II player of the week on Nov. 24. Freshman forward Hayley Pryor finished with nine points and six rebounds.

In a Nov. 19 road game, the Aztecs won their first conference matchup when they defeated Chandler-Gilbert Community College 72-58. Pima grabbed 25 offensive rebounds and out-rebounded Chandler-Gilbert 47-28.

The Aztecs held a double digit lead for most of the game and held a 38-29 lead by halftime. McLaughlin finished with 20 points and eight rebounds. Pryor recorded a double-double, with 15 points and 10 rebounds.

Seven of the rebounds came on the offensive end. Freshman forward Shalise Fernander also had seven offensive rebounds, and finished the game with 12 points, eight rebounds, four steals and two blocks.

Freshman guard Samirah Miller had 10 points on 4-for-5 shooting. Early in the game, freshman guard Jahnae Martin went down with a knee injury. “Jahnae got hurt about 10 minutes into the game,” Holthaus said. “She went up for a layup and got bumped. She came down awkwardly, then collapsed right away.”

The team rallied after the injury. “This is a very close team and the girls did a good job,” Holthaus said. “We got the win on the road.” Pima was scheduled to play at Tohono O’Odham Community College on Nov. 25 in Sells. The game took place after the Aztec Press went to the printer.

 

Pg15-Women's basketball-Samirah Miller

Freshman guard Samirah Miller drives to the basket. (Aztec Press photo by Larry Gaurano)

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MEN'S SOCCER: 'It was a terrific year for us'

MEN’S SOCCER: ‘It was a terrific year for us’

By CALEB FOSTER

The season ended Nov. 20 for the Pima Community College men’s soccer team after a loss at the NJCAA national tournament in Prescott.

The No. 5 Aztecs advanced to the tournament quarterfinals before being eliminated. They fell 5-0 to a fourth-seeded Texas team, Tyler Junior College. Tyler went on to win the national championship on Nov. 23. Pima finished the season at 21-5-1, with a 12-1-1 home record. Their 21 wins were the most in a season under head coach David Cosgrove, who’s been with the program for 18 years. The previous record for wins was 19 in 2011.

“It was a terrific year for us,” Cosgrove said in a press release. The Nov. 20 game was scoreless in the first half but went downhill for the Aztecs after play resumed.

“Tyler is very good and they were better or equal to us tonight,” Cosgrove said. “We didn’t score first and that hurt. We gave up some really bad goals.” The Aztecs opened tournament play Nov. 19 with a 2-1 comeback victory against No. 9 Community College of Baltimore County-Essex.

CCBC-Essex scored in the fifth minute for an early lead. Pima evened the score in the 24th minute when freshman Alejandro Gonzalez connected off an assist from freshman Hector Banegas. Freshman Santiago Carrillo scored the go-ahead point in the 31st minute.

Carrillo’s goal turned out to be all that was needed for the win, as the second half turned into a defensive battle. Freshman goalkeeper Sam Kavathas had three saves in the victory, including a game-winning save in the final seconds.

During the regular season, sophomore Arturo Vega was selected ACCAC Conference Player of the Year. Cosgrove also earned his 250th win. Cosgrove called the season “a year to remember” and praised his team.

“I couldn’t be happier with the numerous marks we set this year,” he said.

“Our most wins in program history and our best home record ever. We also could have the best team GPA we’ve ever had.” The team raised expectations for Pima soccer to another level, Cosgrove added. “This group has changed the landscape,” he said.

Pg13-Men's soccer team-Beto photo

The men’s soccer team celebrates winning the regional championship on Nov. 8. (Aztec Press photo by Beto Hoyos)

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ATHLETIC VOICE: Dying player inspires fans worldwide

ATHLETIC VOICE: Dying player inspires fans worldwide

By ADRIANNA BARRIENTEZ

“Our deepest fear is not that we are not inadequate, our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us.”

Great statesman Nelson Mandela said those powerful words.

They apply to Lauren Hill, 19, who has touched many people across the world. She is not afraid to shrink so others won’t feel insecure around her, and knows that everyone is meant to shine.

Hill was diagnosed last fall with terminal brain cancer after suffering vertigo and dizziness while playing for her Ohio high school basketball team. She had no idea she had an inoperable brain tumor until she got an MRI.

She fought through into her senior year, continuing to play basketball while finishing chemotherapy and radiation.

This October, however, Hill had a follow-up exam that changed her life. Doctors told Hill and her family she had months to live.

Hill knew there was nothing anyone could do to help or make her heartache go away. She stayed humble and continued to enjoy life. She had one dream, which was to play in a college basketball game wearing the number 22 for one last time.

Hill’s dream came true.

Mount St. Joseph University, a Division III school in Cincinnati, accepted Hill onto the women’s basketball team.

The university moved up its first game of the season to Nov. 2, in case Hill’s condition worsened. The sold-out game was hosted in a bigger arena to fit 10,000 people

Hill played and scored the first points wearing number 22, just as she dreamed.

The amount of love shown when she scored was heart fulfilling.

Her story is now worldwide, crossing through high schools, colleges and professional basketball organizations.

Hill has no set date for when her time might end, but she’s living the dream as if she’s still chasing it. Hill keeps smiling but is devastated that she will be leaving the people she loves most.

Her story offers motivation and hope to those who’ve heard.

Most athletes take their sport for granted and don’t really understand how lucky they are to play the game they love. I know this for a fact because I am one of those athletes.

Hill has not only inspired me but athletes across the world to appreciate the moments we have.

 

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WOMEN’S SOCCER: Aztecs fall at nationals

WOMEN’S SOCCER: Aztecs fall at nationals

By ADRANNA BARRIENTEZ

The Pima Community College women’s soccer team held its own against the No. 2 team in the country on Nov. 19 but didn’t finish with a win.

At an awards ceremony Nov. 22, Pima received the tournament’s Sportsmanship Award.

The seventh-seeded Aztecs lost 4-1 to No. 2 Monroe College (New Rochelle, N.Y.) in the final Pool B match of the NJCAA national tournament in Florida.

Monroe went on to win the tournament, defeating No. 1 Iowa Western 2-1 in the championship game.

After losing the first game of the tournament, Pima had to beat Monroe by four goals to force a playoff match or win by five goals to move on to the semifinal round.

“I’m really proud of the way we rallied and played today against the No. 2 seed,” head coach Kendra Veliz said in a press release.

Sophomore Angelica Gonzalez made 10 saves and the Pima defense held its own early in the first half, but Monroe led 1-0 at halftime. The Aztecs managed two shots on goal.

In the second half, Pima took a shot on goal within the first minute and tied the game 1-1 shortly after when freshman Devyn Hunley headed in a goal. The goal came off a corner kick by freshman Brandi Park.

Monroe kept the Aztecs on their heels and pulled away with three goals by the same player in the final minutes.

In the first game of the national tournament on Nov. 18, Pima took an early lead against No. 11 Owens Community College of Ohio but then played a game of catch-up.

The Aztecs tied the game near the end of the first half but surrendered three goals in the second half for a 5-2 loss.

Sophomore Shannon Shields gave the Aztecs a 1-0 lead when she recovered a ball and hit a shot in the early minutes. Owens CC tied the game 30 seconds later and took the lead at the midway mark.

Sophomore Rachel Ridlinghafer tied the game 2-2 when she scored on a header with minutes left in the first half. Park had the corner kick assist.

Owens CC scored three goals in the final minutes of the second half.

Pima outshot Owens 19-9 and Gonzalez finished the game with four saves.

Veliz said the final scores don’t reflect PCC’s quality of play in the tournament.

“I don’t think either scoreline is indicative of the way we played,” she said.

The Aztecs finished the season with a 16-6-2 overall record and were 11-0-1 at the Kino North Grandstand.

Shields was named ACCAC conference Player of the Year after finishing with 21 goals for the season. Veliz was named ACCAC conference Coach of the Year.

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MEN’S SOCCER: Season ends after playoff loss

MEN’S SOCCER: Season ends after playoff loss

By CALEB FOSTER

The season ended Nov. 20 for the Pima Community College men’s soccer team after a loss at the NJCAA national tournament in Prescott.

The No. 5 Aztecs advanced to the tournament quarterfinals before being eliminated. They fell 5-0 to a fourth-seeded Texas team, Tyler Junior College.

Pima finished the season at 21-5-1, with a 12-1-1 home record.

Their 21 wins were the most in a season under head coach David Cosgrove, who’s been with the program for 18 years. The previous record for wins was 19 in 2011.

“It was a terrific year for us,” Cosgrove said in a press release.

The Nov. 20 game was scoreless in the first half but went downhill for the Aztecs after play resumed.

“Tyler is very good and they were better or equal to us tonight,” Cosgrove said. “We didn’t score first and that hurt. We gave up some really bad goals.”

The Aztecs opened tournament play Nov. 19 with a 2-1 comeback victory against No. 9 Community College of Baltimore County-Essex.

CCBC-Essex scored in the fifth minute for an early lead.

Pima evened the score in the 24th minute when freshman Alejandro Gonzalez connected off an assist from freshman Hector Banegas.

Freshman Santiago Carrillo scored the go-ahead point in the 31st minute.

Carrillo’s goal turned out to be all that was needed for the win, as the second half turned into a defensive battle.

Freshman goalkeeper Sam Kavathas had three saves in the victory, including a game-winning save in the final seconds.

During the regular season, sophomore Arturo Vega was selected ACCAC Conference Player of the Year. Cosgrove also earned his 250th win.

Cosgrove called the season “a year to remember” and praised his team’s actions on and off the field.

“I couldn’t be happier with the numerous marks we set this year,” he said. “Our most wins in program history and our best home record ever. We also could have the best team GPA we’ve ever had.”

The team raised expectations for Pima soccer to another level, Cosgrove added.

“This group has changed the landscape,” he said.

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Volleyball finishes season at 16-15

Volleyball finishes season at 16-15

By BETO HOYOS

Pima Community College’s volleyball season came to an end when they fell in three sets to Glendale Community College in the Region I Division II championship round on Nov. 8. The Aztecs took second place in the Region I Division II tournament for the first time in program history. Pima came within four points in the first set, but that would be as close as the Aztecs would get in the opening set. Glendale opened up their offense and at one point held a 20-13 lead. The Aztecs held a slim 7-5 advantage in the second set, but Glendale came back to take control. Late in the second set, Pima gave up six straight points and dropped the set. Sophomore Kaysee Pilgrim finished the match with eight kills and four blocks, while sophomore Alexis Ammermen had 16 digs and six kills. Pima faced elimination twice on Nov. 7 but rallied to beat Scottsdale Community College in five sets. The Aztecs dropped the first two sets but came back to take three straight sets and pick up the victory. The match went down to the wire before Pima took the final set by two points. Pilgrim finished the game with 14 kills and seven blocks, while Ammermen finished with 12 digs, six blocks and three aces. Freshmen Brooklyn Scarborough contributed 12 kills, while sophomore Liz Mata had 55 assists and 18 digs. Earlier in the day, Pima defeated South Mountain Community College to stay alive in the tournament. The Aztecs held slim leads throughout the first and the second sets en route to a three-set sweep. Pima finished 16-15 for the season.

Angel Chavez makes a diving save.

Angel Chavez makes a diving save. (Photo courtesy of PCC)

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WOMEN'S BASKETBALL: Aztecs test skills at tournament

WOMEN’S BASKETBALL: Aztecs test skills at tournament

By BETO HOYOS

The Pima Community College women’s basketball opened their season with a split in the Arizona Western Classic in Yuma. On Nov. 6, PCC defeated Spire Institute (OH) 88-54 in the first game of the tourney. The Aztecs came out ready to play and five players scored in double figures and out rebounded Spire 57-18 for the game. Pima took a 17-point lead into half time and outscored their opponent 41-24 after the break. The Aztecs shared the ball well and finished with 21 assists for the game. Freshmen Kristin Baldwin finished the game with a double-double and led Pima in scoring with 14 points. She also had 11 rebounds. Sophomore Melody McLaughlin and sophomore Alexa Arndt each finished with 12 points. McLaughlin also contributed seven assists. The team played Illinois Central College on Nov. 7 in the second day of the Arizona Western Classic. The Aztecs were in control for much of the first period and took a 31-24 lead into halftime. In the second half, Pima was out scored 47-33 and lost, 71-64. Sophomore Jayla Brown was on fire from beyond the arc and hit four three-point bombs. Brown finished with a team high 21 points. McLaughlin finished with a double-double of 13 points and 10 rebounds. “We won one and lost one, but we played really well together,” McLaughlin said. Pima begins conference play on Nov. 19 when they travel to take on Chandler-Gilbert Community College at 5:30 p.m.

Jahnae Martin sets up the offense during a scrimmage (Photo by Beto Hoyos)

Jahnae Martin sets up the offense during a scrimmage (Photo by Beto Hoyos)

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WOMEN'S SOCCER: Pima advances to Nationals

WOMEN’S SOCCER: Pima advances to Nationals

By ADRIANNA BARRIENTEZ

Players on the Pima Community College women’s soccer team waved little toy alligators after winning the regional championship Nov. 1, signifying they are going to Florida to compete in the NJCAA national tournament Nov. 17-22.

The Aztecs will be the No. 7 national seed in the tournament at Eastern Florida State College in Melbourne, Fla.

In the Region I/District A championship game, No. 1 seeded Pima (16-4-2) rallied to defeat No. 2 Chandler-Gilbert Community College 3-1. Chandler-Gilbert was the team that knocked PCC from the semifinals last season.

In the Nov. 1 game, Chandler-Gilbert struck first with a goal in the 18th minute. The Aztecs responded in the 20th minute when sophomore forward Shannon Shields split two defenders and got past the Chandler-Gilbert goalkeeper for a goal. The score was tied 1-1 at halftime.

Shields put the Aztecs ahead for good with her second goal in the 60th minute. Freshman forward Devyn Hunley had the assist.

“I knew I was going to have to play big soccer to get the win and I think it was a matter of finding the goals,” Shields said.

Sophomore Kathy Fisher scored the final goal in the 81st minute, off a pass from Shields.

“Kathy has been working through an injury all season and for her to get that goal, especially in this game, was just icing on the cake,” Shields said.

Shields was named the Region I, Division I/District A Most Valuable Player.

Sophomore forward Rachel Ridlinghafer has also played a huge role for the Aztecs this season and said she feels great about the win.

“I’m so excited for our team to go to Florida and I couldn’t be happier,” she said.

On Oct. 29, the Aztecs won a hard-fought semifinal playoff game 2-1 against No. 4 Paradise Valley Community College. Paradise Valley won NJCAA national titles in 2010 and 2012.

Hunley scored Pima’s game-winning goal in the 85th minute.

Ridlinghafer scored first on a sliding goal in the 24th minute off an assist from Hunley. Paradise Valley tied the game with a goal in the 31st minute.

After Hunley scored Pima’s second goal, Paradise Valley fired a shot less than a minute later but sophomore goalkeeper Angelica Gonzalez made the save.

“It felt like it was a good match,” Gonzalez said. “They were not an easy opponent but the better team came out.”

The Aztecs outshot Paradise Valley 11-2.

Pima took top honors when the All-Conference/Region I teams were released on Oct. 27, with head coach Kendra Veliz named Coach of the Year and Shields selected as Player of the Year.

Shields scored 18 goals, had seven assists and led the team with 43 points during the regular season.

“It’s an incredible honor,” Shields said. “I really appreciate it but it’s really not an award without your team … couldn’t have done it without them.”

Pg13-Women's soccer team

Waving toy alligators to represent their upcoming trip to the national playoffs in Florida, players celebrate winning the regional championship. (Photo courtesy PCC)

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ATHLETIC VOICE: Suns showcase brotherly love

ATHLETIC VOICE: Suns showcase brotherly love

By BETO HOYOS

As a new NBA season gets underway, Arizona fans of run-and-gun basketball are looking forward to a Phoenix Suns team that will be a contender in the western conference.

The Suns organization has always made an effort to create a family-like environment.

Twin brothers on the Suns can be traced back to the 1976-77 season, when Tom and Dick Van Arsdale played for the team during their final season in the league.

In the past few seasons, the Suns have taken the family environment to another level.

Twin brothers Markieff and Marcus Morris made history in 2013 when they became the first twins to start an NBA game together.

The Morris twins have played together their entire lives, whether it was in their backyard in Philadelphia, at the University of Kansas or now professionally for one of the most exciting NBA franchises.

The Suns continually look for ways to improve chemistry on the court. Thanks to a mid-season trade last year, the Morris twins were finally able to make their biggest dream come true.

They agreed to similar terms and have expressed a desire to continue playing together throughout their career.

Having one pair of brothers on the team may be cool, but the Suns have another pair: Goran and Zoran Dragic.

Slovenian shooting guard Goran Dragic made his presence known a few seasons ago backing up Steve Nash. He was later traded to Houston, only to be re-acquired by the Suns a season later.

Fans familiar with Goran admire his furious fast-break scores and his no-fear mentality while driving to the basket.

Goran had a breakout season in 2013-14 and led the team in scoring. He also led his Slovenia national team in scoring during the FIBA world basketball classics.

His brother Zoran Dragic signed with the Suns before the 2014-15 season, and the brothers have made it clear they want to play together.

Zoran is not quite the scoring threat his brother is, but don’t sleep on him or he’ll haunt your dreams like Freddy. Zoran is slightly taller and bigger than Goran, so his on-court duties will be different. However, the mindset will be the same.

Phoenix is clearly in the running to be the new city of brotherly love, so watch out Philly.

Athlectic Voice

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Melody finds basketball harmony

Melody finds basketball harmony

By BETO HOYOS

 Sophomore forward Melody McLaughlin began playing organized basketball in 7th grade. Most athletes who attend college on an athletic scholarship start sooner, but hard work and a love for the game allowed her to evolve into a talented player.

McLaughlin’s a lifelong Tucsonan who attended Mountain View High School. She realized during high school that basketball could take her places.

“My sophomore year of high school I got on a club team and I started to take basketball more serious,” she said. “I didn’t really expect to play in college but once I got serious about it I knew it was something I wanted to do.”

Spare time doesn’t come often, but she enjoys riding quads and partaking in outdoor recreation.

The time consuming schedule and demands of the student-athlete life is rigorous on the body and mind.

“To be a student-athlete, you have to have mental toughness and physical toughness,” McLaughlin said. “We’re working out every single day, we’re playing all the time, then you have to get rest.”

Head coach Todd Holthaus said he looks to McLaughlin for leadership.

“She’s a great girl, a smart girl,” he said.

McLaughlin can’t see her life without basketball. “If I don’t play for a day or two, it’s just weird to me,” she said. “I just love it.”

Basketball has allowed McLaughlin to grow off the court and become a better person.

“I’ve definitely become more of a leader and a role model, and it’s made me more assertive,” she said.

The sport has also taught McLaughlin to cope with both hard times and triumph.

“I use basketball every day,” she said. “Whether I’m having problems or it’s a good day, it’s just a part of my everyday life.”

After McLaughlin finishes her time at PCC, she wants to continue playing college basketball.

“I’m hoping to play somewhere else after this, I mean that’s the goal,” she said.

McLaughlin is still undecided about what career to pursue. She plans to continue her education and knows basketball will likely help pick up the tuition fee.

“Basketball will help me pay for my school, I hope, but besides that basketball has been what I’ve been looking forward to,” she said.

It also adds an extra touch of motivation in the classroom.

“I like school but basketball definitely motivates me to go to school and do well,” she said.

McLaughlin is the youngest of three half-siblings and says her supportive family has made her basketball experience even more memorable.

“My parents always try to make every game, and they always tell my friends to show up,” she said.

“I couldn’t do it without the support of my parents and my former high school coach.”

Photo by Beto Hoyos

Sophomore forward Melody McLaughlin drives the ball to the basket during a pre-season scrimmage at the West Campus gymnasium. (Aztec Press photo by Beto Hoyos)

 

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