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SOFTBALL: Pima trying to find winning consistency

SOFTBALL: Pima trying to find winning consistency

By CASEY MUSE JR. 

Sophomore Bailey Critchlow makes contact on a swing against a Central Arizona Vaqueras during their make-up game at home on March 9.
Casey Muse Jr./Aztec Press

The Pima Community College softball team (25-12, 19-9 conference) has been playing well in March and has found consistency in several aspects of the game.

March 4: PCC 4, Phoenix 10/ PCC 1, Phoenix 12

The No. 18 Aztecs fell behind 4-0 early in the first game against the No. 2 Bears. They cut into the lead by scoring three runs in the fourth inning.

Sophomore Bailey Critchlow took the loss as she pitched four and two-third innings, finishing with 10 hits and three walks.

Phoenix College jumped out early in the second game, scoring five runs in the first inning. Sophomore Luisa Silvain took the loss. She finished with four hits, one strikeout and one walk.

March 7: PCC 15, Ancilla 1/ PCC 21, Ancilla 2

Pima got back on track in a big way in a double-header against Ancilla College at the Tucson Invitational at Lincoln Park.

The first game saw the Aztecs score five runs in the first inning, then seven more in the fourth.

Freshman Mandy Lorenson earned the win, pitching all five innings. She finished with two hits and 12 strikeouts.

In the second game, the Aztecs scored four runs in the first inning and another 10 runs in the fourth.

Freshman Hannah Wood picked up the win, pitching all five innings. She finished with seven hits and two strikeouts.

March 9: PCC 5, Central Arizona 7

The Aztecs saw their late rally attempt fall short in a makeup game at home.

Pima struck first on a sacrificefly RBI in the first inning. Things got away from the Aztecs when the Vaqueras scored five unanswered runs for a 7-2 lead.

Critchlow took the loss, pitching three innings. She finished with 11 hits and two strikeouts.

March 11: PCC 4, Paradise Valley 8/ PCC 13, Paradise Valley 5

The first game was tight until the Pumas busted it open with seven runs in the sixth.

Silvain took the loss. She pitched four innings and finished with eight hits and one strikeout.

The Aztecs earned revenge in the second game, scoring four runs in the first inning, two in the second and four more in the sixth.

Lorenson got the win. She pitched two innings and finished with two strikeouts and six walks.

March 14: PCC 6, South Mountain 1/ PCC 8, South Mountain 0

Critchlow pitched one of her best performances of the year, so far, in the first game. She pitched the complete game, finishing with one run, five hits and two strikeouts. The offense put up six runs.

The second game was even more dominant as Aztecs scored eight runs.

Lorenson provided her best pitching performances of the season as well, finishing with no hits, three strikeouts and four walks.

March 16: PCC 14, Chandler-Gilbert 1/ PCC 20, Chandler-Gilbert 1

In the first game, Pima scored four runs in the second, fourth, and fifth for a mercy-rule win.

Critchlow earned her 10th win, pitching all five innings and finishing with seven hits.

In the second game, the Aztecs scored 10 runs in the first and eight in the second one. Lorenson tossed her second straight no-hitter for her fifth win.

March 18: PCC 10, AWC 7/ PCC 5, AWC 4

Pima took an early lead in the first game, scoring four runs in the first inning.

The Matadors scored three runs of their own in the fourth to cut the lead to one. The Aztecs put the game away with six runs in the fourth.

Critchlow earned another victory, finishing with nine hits. The second game was extremely close throughout.

Arizona Western battled to a 4-3 lead in the eighth inning, but Pima freshman Alysa Talamante hit a game-winning walk-off RBI.

Lorenson pitched all eight innings and finished with 12 strikeouts and three walks.

March 21: PCC 6 Glendale 1/ PCC 20 Glendale 0

The Aztecs continued their winning streak with a conference sweep over Glendale on the road.

Freshman Megan Flores got things started for the offense with an RBI single in the first inning of the first game to help Pima take control.

Sophomore Margarita Corona got in on the action with an RBI double of her own in the third.

Critchlow earned the win pitching the complete game and finishing with eight hits and four strikeouts. Her record sits at 12-5 for the season.

Game two was even more dominant as PCC scored seven runs in the third inning and another 11 in the fourth inning on their way to 20 total runs and a mercy rule victory.


ON DECK

March 25: Mesa CC, West Campus, doubleheader, noon, 2 p.m.

March 28: at Yavapai College, Prescott, doubleheader, 1 p.m., 3 p.m.

April 1: at GateWay CC, Phoenix, doubleheader, noon, 2 p.m.

April 4: at Central Arizona, Coolidge, doubleheader, 1 p.m., 3 p.m.

Athletics audit suggests changes in record-keeping

Athletics audit suggests changes in record-keeping

By EDDIE CELAYA

An internal audit of Pima Community College athletics department business practices found late deposits, lax internal controls and improperly stored athletes’ documents.

The audit said current studentathlete’s files are properly secured at the Downtown Campus, but older records dating to the 1980s are kept in two separate broom closets in the West Campus gymnasium.

In an on-site interview at the gym, PCC Athletics Director Edgar Soto acknowledged the issues contained in the report.

“All of these things are issues we asked to be addressed,” he said. “We asked for this audit.”

A Finance and Audit Committee composed of college employees and community members conducted the audit last year, and issued its final report on Dec. 2. The newest audit was a follow-up to a larger November 2015 audit.

The report notes that since the initial audit, Soto and other high-ranking administrators have “updated management corrective action plans to address issues identified” within the audit.

The recent audit found problems with the athletics department’s timeliness in depositing donation checks. Eight of the 68 donation deposits reviewed by the audit took 30 days or longer to deposit.

Soto said new controls are being put in place to avoid such long delays, and offered an explanation for some deposits seeming to take more than a month.

“Sometimes when a parent is donating, they write a check in their checkbook and they don’t get it to the coach for a week or two,” he said. “They might date it today, but don’t get around to actually donating for a little bit.”

Similarly, “sometimes coaches throw checks into their games bags and don’t get around to checking it all in for a few days,” he said.

The audit also cited delays in processing receipts from game concessions. On two occasions, “game cash receipts deposits were not processed within three business days per cash handling procedures,” it notes.

Athletics Director Edgar Soto displays archived awards and articles
dating back to the 1970s. The archives were stored with student records.
Eddie Celaya / Aztec Press

Soto said one evening of men’s and women’s basketball games lead to both violations. “I believe that was over Thanksgiving,” he said.

The audit section discussing records for former student-athletes said files were kept in an area where “unauthorized” persons had access to them.

During the on-site interview, Soto allowed the Aztec Press to examine the two storage rooms. Both were locked at the time of the interview and required a key to enter. One room required two doors to be unlocked.

Soto said only athletic department staff have access to the rooms.

“A lot of this stuff is archival materials and trophies,” he said. “All the student info, we are in the process of moving to Downtown Campus.”

Chancellor Lee Lambert, writing in an email sent to PCC employees, said Soto requested the audit “in the spirit of continuous improvement and to address issues revealed in a 2012 audit, prior to Edgar’s leadership role.”

Lambert said the athletics department has made progress on issues identified in both audits, and has developed a timeline for implementing remaining changes.

“Frankly, this demonstrates the importance of having multiple layers of assurance,” Lambert wrote. “While the process does not always work as quickly as we might like, our detailed system of checks and balances worked as it should.”

With the spring athletic season in full swing and both basketball programs closing out historic seasons, Soto hopes the audit and its findings help improve the department.

“We’re just trying to provide the community with an idea of what’s going on in athletics,” he said. “We are just trying to stay accountable.”

Coach earns unprecedented 400 wins

Coach earns unprecedented 400 wins

By JASON WEIR

Softball head coach Armando Quiroz recently surpassed 400 wins at Pima Community College. He had 412 wins as of April 4, the most on record at PCC.

The milestone caused the coach to reflect on his eight seasons with the Aztecs.

“My thoughts go to all the talented and wonderful young ladies that have come through this program,” Quiroz said.

“Nothing would be possible without their sacrifices and commitments,” he added. “They continue to amaze me with their skill level and the undying love they have for the game.

Quiroz is just as quick to give his coaching staff credit.

“The best group of coaches anyone could ever hope to have,” he said. “I am humbled every day by their selfless commitments to our young ladies. Nothing ever happened on our team ‘til they all did their jobs. We have 400 wins and counting, thank you.”

A Tucson native, Quiroz was hired by Pima in 2008 after a stint with Eastern New Mexico University from 2005-07.

Quiroz coached softball at Flowing Wells High School from 1999-2004 (161-48-1).

There, he was able to coach his daughter, Rebekah, to back-to-back state championships in 1999 and 2000. Quiroz’s 2001 team was ranked No. 1 in the country by ESPN in March 2001.

He met his wife of 35 years, Elsa, in Tucson. Rebekah is one of their three children. They also have a son Armando Jr. and another daughter, Katy.

Family is very important to Quiroz. While at Eastern New Mexico University, his family was still in Tucson when he found out his son was going to war, the first of two tours.

“I just knew at that point I better come home,” Quiroz said.

Eastern New Mexico did not want to lose him and offered him more money to stay.

“It’s not about money, it is about family,” Quiroz told them. “My son is going to war and I need to be home with my wife.”

His mantra for players is faith, family, school, softball. “We are hard-nosed softball people, but it is still number four on the list.”

Rebekah Quiroz has been an assistant coach with her father in each of his eight years at Pima.

“He expects to win and treats his girls like family,” she said. “They trust him.”

The younger Quiroz hopes to someday inherit the head job.

“I hope to take over this program and do the same exact thing he has been doing,” she said. “A winning program. He has taught me very well.”

She is not the only one to recognize his gift. The Pima County Sports Hall of Fame inducted Quiroz in 2008.

“I was honored,” he said of his induction. “We never enter this profession thinking Hall of Fame.”

After graduating from Tucson Magnet High School, Quiroz went on to earn a master’s degree in educational leadership from Northern Arizona University.

He earned both his master’s and bachelor’s degrees with a 4.0 grade point average.

He calls his current team a work in progress as they head into the playoffs.

“Effort and attitude are controllable and this team has done a great job with these two qualities,” he said.

The No. 16 Aztecs are currently 33-14, 21-11 in ACCAC, and gearing up for the ACCAC tournament May 6.

“We have progressed so far from the fall season but must continue to do so daily,” Quiroz said. “We are working hard to peak at playoff time in early May.

“They have worked hard and sacrificed like our past teams and that’s all I can ask of them,” he added. “We have kept our eyes on the prize at the end of the regular season.”

Softball head coach Armando Quiroz runs drills during training. Quiroz has won more softball games than anyone in school history. (Jason Weir/Aztec Press)

Softball head coach Armando Quiroz runs drills during training. Quiroz has won more softball games than anyone in school history. (Jason Weir/Aztec Press)

Aztecs sweep two doubleheaders

Aztecs sweep two doubleheaders

Freshman Courtney Brown swings at the pitch against the Yavapai Roughriders on Feb. 6. Pima is currently ranked No. 9 nationally. (Photo courtesy of PCC Athletics)

Freshman Courtney Brown swings at the pitch against the Yavapai Roughriders on Feb. 6. Pima is currently ranked No. 9 nationally. (Photo courtesy of PCC Athletics)

By JASON WEIR

The No. 9 ranked Pima Community College softball team (11-7, 8-4 in ACCAC) was involved in three doubleheader sweeps Feb. 13-20, with two of them ending in their favor.

Two PCC players were honored for their play Feb. 8-14.

Sophomore Odalis Orduno was named both the ACCAC Division II Pitcher of the Week and the NJCAA Player of the Week.

Orduno pitched in three of the four wins that week, winning two and saving another. She pitched 12 innings, allowing one earned run and striking out five.

Freshman Bailey Critchlow was named ACCAC Division II Player of the Week.

She went eight-for-12 at the plate in that span, driving in seven runs and scoring seven runs. Critchlow also earned two victories in 11.1 innings.

The Feb. 23 game at Paradise Valley Community College took place after the Aztec Press went to print.

Pima lost a doubleheader on the road Feb. 20 at No. 1 Phoenix College.

The Bears won the first game 11-7, with the Aztecs trying to play catch up all game after falling behind 4-0 in the first inning.

Orduno suffered the loss, 5-3, after  allowing seven earned runs on eight hits. She struck out three to go with two walks.

In the second game, Pima held a lead going into the seventh inning but the Bears won 3-2 on a two-run walk-off homer.

Critchlow allowed one earned run but received the loss, 6-3. She allowed four hits and struck out seven.

The Aztecs didn’t help themselves with 11 errors in the two games.

One bright spot for the day was the performance of sophomore Christine Olivas. She went five -for-seven at the plate, driving in three runs.

The Aztecs returned home to play South Mountain Community College on Feb. 16.

Pima had its second straight Game 1 victory by run-rule, as they scored five runs in the fifth inning to win 8-0.

Orduno received the win, allowing one hit and striking out four.

Just like the previous doubleheader, the second game was much closer.

The Aztecs trailed as they entered the final inning, but an Olivas single drove in two runs to win the game 5-4.

Critchlow pitched a complete game and got the win. She allowed three runs and struck out two.

PCC won its Feb. 13 doubleheader at Glendale Community College.

Pima earned a run-rule victory over the Gauchos in the first game, after scoring 10 runs in the top of the fifth inning. The final score was 15-1.

Orduno allowed one run in the victory and struck out three.

The Gauchos tried to come back in the second game by scoring three runs in the sixth inning.

However, Pima freshman pitcher Luisa Silvain took out the last four batters to pick up the save in the 7-5 victory.

Critchlow was credited with the win. She also hit a two-run homer in the third inning.

The Aztecs play Feb. 27 in the El Paso Tournament in Texas.

 


 

ON DECK

Feb. 27: @ El Paso, Texas,

El Paso Tournament

March 1: Central Arizona College, West Campus, doubleheader, 1 p.m., 3 p.m.

March 5: @ Eastern Arizona College, doubleheader,

noon, 2 p.m.

March 8: Arizona Western College, West Campus, doubleheader, 1 p.m., 3 p.m.

Pima enjoys three-game win streak

Pima enjoys three-game win streak

Sophomore guard Yusaf Shehata (14) passes to freshman forward Kwintin Williams (3) during a game against South Mountain on Feb. 20.

Sophomore guard Yusaf Shehata (14) passes to freshman forward Kwintin Williams (3) during a game against South Mountain on Feb. 20. (Deanna Sherman/Aztec Press)

By STEVEN FOWLER

The Pima Community College men’s basketball team (17-12, 12-9 in ACCAC) has found itself on a three-game win streak and has hit the ground running as the 2015-16 regular season play winds down.

Pima was victorious in a back-and-fourth game Feb. 20 against South Mountain Community College. The Aztecs won 111-108 in overtime.

Down 108-105 with 3:05 remaining in overtime, Pima went on a 6-0 run to seal the win. Sophomore Justice Martion made a pair of free throws while the Aztecs’ defense kept South Mountain’s bench quiet.

All five starters scored in double figures. Sophomore Yusuf Shehata led the team with 27 points, making five 3-pointers. Martion scored 26 points with 10-of-15 shots made at the dish. Freshman Kwinitin Williams had a double-double with 18 points and 15 rebounds.

Freshman Keven Biggs scored 18 as well, while sophomore Cameron Volk scored 15 points.

The Aztecs swept the regular season series with the Cougars. The Aztecs won 81-79 in their previous meeting.

Sophomores Ezini Ugbisien, Volk, Martion and Shehata were honored at halftime in their final regular season home game.

On Feb. 17, the Aztecs defeated Central Arizona College 95-88 after leading 45-38 at halftime.

Three Aztecs scored more than 20 points in the game. Williams had a double-double of 24 points and 15 rebounds, Shehata finished with 22 points while going 6-for-10 in shooting and Martion had 21 points and three steals, while Biggs contributed with 11 points.

The Aztecs avenged their 70-62 loss against Central Arizona on Jan. 9 with the win.

Pima was unable to hold a double-digit lead on Feb. 10 against Mesa Community College and faltered 94-91.

Pima at one point held a 14-point lead at 22-8 and eventually led 48-39 at halftime.

At the start of the second half, freshman Damon Dubots hit consecutive free throws to make it a 50-39 score.

Williams made a three pointer, continuing Pima’s double-digit lead at 55-45. The Mesa Thunderbirds then went on an 11-2 run, trimming the deficit to one point at 57-56 with 12:37 remaining in the second half.

After a series of back-and-forth shots, the Thunderbirds’ successful rally came to fruition and they led 64-63 with 9:11 to go. The Aztecs regained the lead soon after when Biggs hit a three-pointer, putting the team in front 76-75 at the 3:50 mark.

Shehata led the team in scoring with 24 points while hitting 8-for-12 and 6-for-8 at three-point range. Shehata included eight assists in his successful game.

Martion finished with 21 points and eight rebounds while Biggs scored 18 points, five assists and eight rebounds. Williams was fourth on the team in scoring with 16 points while shooting 7-for-8 off the bench.

PCC was swept in both games against the Thunderbirds this season.

Pima’s regular season finale took place Feb. 23 at Scottsdale Community College, after Aztec Press went to the printer.

 

 


 

ON DECK

March 2: @ Region I, Division II Playoffs (Semifinals), TBA

March 4: @ Region I, Division II Playoffs (Finals), TBA

March 15: @ NJCAA Division II National Tournament, TBA

SOFTBALL: No. 9 Aztecs sweep Mesa doubleheader

SOFTBALL: No. 9 Aztecs sweep Mesa doubleheader

By JASON WEIR

No. 9 Pima Community College (7-5) swept its Feb. 9 doubleheader at Mesa Community College.

The Aztecs won the first game 8-1. Sophomore pitcher Odalis Orduno pitched a complete game, giving up six hits and striking out two. PCC scored the only runs it needed in the second inning, taking a 3-0 lead when freshman Courtney Brown hit an RBI double. The Aztecs added four runs in the seventh inning to stretch their lead. Freshman Bailey Critchlow went 3-for-3 and scored two runs.

The Thunderbirds rebounded in the second game to score nine runs, losing 10-9. Winning pitcher Critchlow pitched six innings, allowing 11 hits and striking out one. Critchlow helped herself, again going 3-for-3 at the plate again. Mesa rallied in the bottom of the seventh trailing 10-5. After the Thunderbirds scored four runs in the innings, Orduno, who got the save in relief, got a bases loaded ground-out to end the game.

The Aztecs lost their home opener doubleheader against the Yavapai College Roughriders on Feb. 6.

Pima fell behind early in the first game. After reaching base on an error, sophomore Araceli Peralta scored, tying the game at 1-1 when freshman Courtney Brown doubled in the bottom of the third. The Aztecs were scoreless the rest of the game and Yavapai won 5-1.

Orduno pitched a complete game, allowing 10 hits while striking out three.

The Aztecs held a 2-1 lead going into the top of the seventh of the second game. The Roughriders led off the seventh with a single before Pima starting pitcher freshman Bailey Critchlow struck out the next two batters. Yavapai then hit a two-run double, taking a 3-2 lead.

Pima put two runners on in the bottom of the seventh, but was unable to push the tying run across the plate before losing 3-2. Critchlow pitched a complete game, allowing eight hits and striking out two.

The games were scheduled at Yavapai but were relocated to Pima early in the week due to weather. The March 22 home date against the Roughriders has now been moved to Yavapai.

Pima started conference play 2-0 after sweeping a doubleheader on Feb. 2 at Scottsdale Community College.

The Aztecs won the first game 3-2. Freshman Larissa Rodriguez hit a single in the top of the seventh inning, scoring freshman Gabriela Trejo to end a 2-2 tie.

Brown’s two-run home run in the fifth inning put Pima on the board after falling behind 2-0. Orduno pitched a complete-game and had five strikeouts.

In the second game, Pima got out to a quick start by taking a 6-0 lead in the second on their way to the 7-4 win.

Freshman Margarita Corona had three RBIs, getting two on a single in the first inning and one on a sacrifice in the second. Critchlow picked up the win, pitching a complete-game with two strikeouts.

The Aztecs had a rough start to their season, going 3-3 at the Southern Nevada Kick-Off Classic.

The second and final day of the Classic saw Pima doing a reversal of its record from the day before by only winning one of three games on Jan. 30.

The final day of the Classic started badly for the Pima Aztecs.

The Colorado Northwestern Community College Spartans shut out the Aztecs 8-0 in the first game. The Spartans allowed Pima just two hits for the game. Freshman Luisa Silvain received the loss, giving up six runs (two earned) off five hits in the first two innings.

The Aztecs’ rough day continued in the second game as they lost 16-4 in five innings against the No. 5 ranked Salt Lake Community College Bruins.

The Bruins took control of the game right away, scoring six runs in the first and adding seven more in the second. Critchlow received the loss after getting a win the day before to even her record at 1-1.

Pima finished the Classic with a win.

The final game against the Snow College Badgers lasted eight innings before sophomore Araceli Peralta drew a bases-loaded walk, scoring sophomore Kalynn Martinez in the top of the eighth inning. Critchlow struck out two in the bottom of the eighth as Pima held on to win 11-10.

The Classic started with three games on Jan. 29 and the Aztecs went 2-1.

Pima won the first game against the College of Southern Idaho Golden Eagles, when the team rallied for five runs in the bottom of the fifth inning in what was a 3-3 tie.

Corona’s run home in the sixth capped a three-run final inning as the Aztecs won 11-3. Orduno, who came in to pitch the final two innings, was credited with the win. Orduno didn’t allow a run and struck out two.

The Aztecs lost their second game of the day against Western Nevada College Wildcats 5-4.

Pima scored two runs in the first inning but the Wildcats took the lead by scoring three runs of their own in the second inning, and grabbed the lead for good.

Orduno, who started the second game after getting the win in the first game, received the loss. She went two and one-third innings, giving up four earned runs on six hits and two walks.

Pima finished the first day with a 14-1 win in the third game against El Paso Community College Tejanos in five innings. The Aztecs exploded in the fourth inning, putting up 13 runs on 10 hits. Brown’s three-run home run was a highlight of the inning.

Critchlow pitched all five innings, allowing one earned run on four hits. Critchlow also helped the offense by getting two RBIs while going 2-for-3 at the plate.

ON DECK

Feb. 13: @ Glendale Community College, doubleheader, noon, 2 p.m.

Feb. 16: South Mountain Community College, West Campus, doubleheader,
1 p.m., 3 p.m.

Feb. 20: @ Phoenix College, doubleheader, noon, 2 p.m.

Feb. 23: @ Paradise Valley Community College, doubleheader, 1 p.m., 3 p.m.

 

WOMEN’S BASKETBALL: Aztecs avoid back-to-back losses

WOMEN’S BASKETBALL: Aztecs avoid back-to-back losses

By JASON WEIR

The Pima Community College women’s basketball team got right back to their winning ways after having an 11-game win streak snapped on Jan. 23 at Phoenix College.

The Aztecs went 3-1 in the two-week span, winning back-to-back games before a loss to Eastern Arizona.

A Feb. 10 game at Mesa Community College took place after the Aztec Press went to press.

Pima won the first of its current three-game road trip, beating Cochise College 61-53.

The No. 8 ranked Aztecs gave the Apaches their first home loss this season and swept the season series. After taking a 12-10 lead, the Aztecs held the lead the rest of the night.

Freshman Sydni Stallworth finished with 21 points, her second straight game with 20 or more points.

On Feb. 3, the two top teams in the ACCAC conference met at Pima’s West Campus gym for their second and final regular season matchup. Eastern Arizona won the hard-fought game 77-69.

The Aztecs committed 24 turnovers against the pressure defense of the Gila Monsters. “Can’t give a good team that many opportunities,” head coach Todd Holtaus said.

Pima trailed much of the second half and all of the fourth quarter against the Division I opponent, but never let the Gila Monsters pull away.

“We stayed in the fight,” Holtaus said. “We didn’t give up.”

Two of the top players in the league battled most of the night. Gila Monsters’ Akia Frett and Stallworth, who both received player of the week honors Feb. 8, gave the fans a performance to remember as the two point guards each led their team in scoring.

The two players have seven player of the week honors between them this year.

“She is very good and it brings out the best in me,” Stallworth said about guarding Frett. “It’s tough, but it is fun at the end of the day.”

Sophomore Gabby Banales looked more comfortable as she continues to play more after coming back from a leg injury.

“It is my last year, so I do want to play a lot,” she said. “I have been working in practice at using my legs my more.” She made three of four 3-pointers in the game.

Pima returned home on Jan. 30 to beat Glendale Community College 68-59. The Aztecs had previously beaten the Gauchos 91-64 at Glendale on Dec. 2.

The Gauchos came prepared to challenge the No. 9 ranked Aztecs. Glendale Coach Jennifer Niebling had her team ready to challenge Pima’s athleticism with the Aztecs short-handed as Denesia Smith had to miss another game because of injury.

This fact was not lost on Pima, but don’t look for them to use excuses.

“Hard to replace her athleticism, but no one feels sorry for us,” Holtaus said. “We just have to step up.”

While the Aztecs were missing a key player, they still had many talented players in the lineup and used their size to beat the Gauchos. They outrebounded the Gauchos 53-35 (18-5 on the offensive boards).

Sophomore Taylor Blue led all players with 12 total rebounds (four offensive) and both sophomore Shalise Fernander and freshman Erin Peterson grabbed five offensive boards each.

Pima also blocked five Gauchos shots, with three by Fernander, compared to to just one block against them.

Blue, who led the team in scoring with 17, had a huge block with Pima ahead 56-55 and under four minutes to play. The block led to a layup for Stallworth to put Pima up 58-55.

A bucket by the Gauchos put them within one point ,58-57. Two free throws by Fernander, who got a shooter’s roll on both, followed by a Gauchos turnover and a baseline jumper from Blue, put the Aztecs up 62-57 with just over two minutes left in the game.

“That is where we needed help,” Fernander said about the rebounding edge. “We just control what we can.”

Neither the players or coaches were not happy with their play against the Gauchos, but were glad to get the win.

“It was not pretty but we will take it,” Holtaus said.

“It was sloppy, but I’ll take the win,” Fernander said. “We got the job done.”

The Aztecs rebounded from their second loss in conference play by beating Tohono O’odham Community College on the road 69-44 on Jan. 27.

This was the second time the Aztecs played the Jegos. They won the previous matchup 63-38 on Dec. 14.

The Jegos kept it close in the first half. Pima led 26-19 at the half, but took control of the game in the second half and ended the game outscoring Tohono O’odham 20-9.

 

Freshman guard Denesia Smith and sophomore forward Shalise Fernander prepare to stop a Scottsdale Community College Artichoke player from scoring a basket. (Steven Fowler/Aztec Press)

Freshman guard Denesia Smith and sophomore forward Shalise Fernander prepare to stop a Scottsdale Community College Artichoke player from scoring a basket. (Steven Fowler/Aztec Press)

ON DECK

Feb. 13: @Arizona Western College, 5:30 p.m.

Feb. 17: Central Arizona College, West Campus Gym, 5:30 p.m.

Feb. 20: South Mountain Community College, West Campus Gym, 2 p.m.

Feb. 23: @ScottsdaleCommunityCollege,5:30p.m.

Aztecs go 4-0 in Holiday Ball-Out Tournament

Aztecs go 4-0 in Holiday Ball-Out Tournament

By CALEB FOSTER

The Pima Community College men’s basketball team (15-5, 7-6 in ACCAC) has gone 3-3 so far in the new year. The Aztecs found themselves in four tight games recently, with all the contests being decided by just a few points one way or the other.

The Aztecs came up short against No. 5 Phoenix College in their road game on Jan 24. The 77-73 loss marked their second in a row.

Sophomore Matt O’Boyle was unable to be effective in the first half but helped the Aztecs push for a comeback in the second half.

Sophomore Murphy Gershman had 22 points and 16 rebounds in his 12th double-double game of the season, sophomores Bryan Cervantes and Ezini Ugbisien both finished with 13 points on the night.

The Aztecs fell to Chandler-Gilbert 81-79 on Jan 21. The closely contested game saw eight lead changes as both teams fought hard.

Key mistakes by the Aztecs and big plays for Chandler-Gilbert set the tempo for the game and ended up being the difference.

O’Boyle, who led the team with 23 points, came just shy of hitting a game winning buzzer beater. Gershman had another double-double on the night, 22 points and 12 rebounds. Cervantes added 14 points on the night.

The Aztecs almost faced another overtime contest against Scottsdale Community College on Jan. 17 in Scottsdale.

With 3.1 seconds left in the game O’Boyle drew a foul and hit one of his two free throws to give the Aztecs the 89-88 victory after a failed shot by Scottsdale.

O’Boyle ended the game with a team-high 26 points, aided by Gershman who scored 25 points and had 18 rebounds. Freshman Justice Martion finished the game with 12 points and seven rebounds.

Pima earned a hard fought 86-84 overtime victory against South Mountain Community College on Jan 14.

Gershman carried the Aztecs with his 33 point, double-double and his buzzer beating three-pointer in overtime to end the game.

The entire game was a battle with neither team gaining a double-digit lead. The teams went back and forth during the end of regulation, but behind a 10-2 run by Pima and two clutch free throws by Martion the Aztecs were able to force overtime.

Martion finished with a 19-point, 10-rebound double-double and Cervantes added 12 points of his own.

The Aztecs defeated Central Arizona 89-87 on Jan. 10 at home. Pima entered the second half down two points and continued to trail for the first 13 minutes.

Pima went on 15-2 run to gain the lead late in the game; Ugbisien sealed the game for the Aztecs by grabbing the last rebound.

Gershman had a game-high 24 points to lead the Aztecs to victory. O’Boyle, Cervantes, Martion and freshman Andre Bearden all finished with double digit points.

A nine-point halftime deficit doomed the Aztecs against Arizona Western on Jan. 7. Pima began to come back in the second half, cutting Arizona Western’s lead down to one, but weren’t able to complete the comeback.

Martion led the Aztecs with an 18-point, 10-rebound double-double on the night. Gershman finished with 16 points, trailed closely by Paige with 13.

PCC will face Tohono O’Odham CC on Jan. 28 at the West Campus after the Aztec Press goes to print. Coverage of the game will be included next issue.

Over the break, the team dominated in the Holiday Ball-Out Tournament en route to a 4-0 tournament record.

In their first game of the tournament, the Aztecs defeated Trinity Prep 71-33. O’Boyle led the team with 25 points followed by Cervantes who had 20.

The second game of the tournament was a much better match against San Diego Prep. Martion dropped 23 points to lead the Aztecs to a 68-62 victory. Freshman Dorian Paige finished the contest with 17 points.

Pima came alive offensively in the semifinals as they defeated South Shore Prep 132-80. Martion led the Aztecs with a double-double 32 points and 15 rebounds. Four other Pima players scored in double digits.

The Aztecs capped their win streak off with a 74-66 win against Balboa Prep in the championship game. Martion led PCC in points for the third game in a row with 19 points, Cervantes finished right behind him with 17.

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).

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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

SPORTS BRIEFS

SPORTS BRIEFS

Complied by Beto Hoyos

Pima recognizes academic, athletic excellence

Pima Community College recognized four student athletes as recipients and finalists of the Lawrence R. Teledo Leadership Award during a presentation at the Board of Govenors meeting on April 16.

Recipients Scotty Watson and Kamre Cady, along with finalists Ben Gershman and Victoria Mariscal, were introduced by Athletic Director Edgar  Soto at the presentation attended by Chancellor Lee Lambert, board members, coaches, families and friends.

The award was created last year to honor students who show leadership development through excellence in academic and athletic participation.

 

Off season accolades for women’s basketball team

Pima Community College sophomore Raja Moreno-Ross was selected by the NJCAA as a Division II first team All-American on April 10.

This is the second straight year that a women’s basketball player was selected a Division II All-American. Moreno-Ross is the fifth Aztec to be selected first team All-American in seven years for the women’s basketball team.

This season Moreno-Ross started all 32 games for the Aztecs and she averaged 13 points and nine rebounds per game playing almost 25 minutes per game.

Moreno-Ross was also named first team All-ACCAC and first team All-Region I, Division II.

On April 21 Moreno-Ross verbally committed to play for the University of Hawaii.

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Pima splits doubleheader with Glendale

Pima splits doubleheader with Glendale

By JOSE SANTIAGO III

The Pima Community College baseball team split a doubleheader at Glendale Community College on March 25, bringing their season record to 22-15.

Pima lost the first game 2-0.

Freshman Chris Kucko took the loss. He pitched six innings, recording six strikeouts but giving up two runs.

The Aztecs won the second game 4-2.

Freshman Ben Skuro pitched five and one-third innings, giving up one run to get his second win of the season. Sophomore Juan Gamez went 2-4 with a double and a run scored.

Pima split its doubleheader at Paradise Valley Community College on March 22.

The Aztecs lost the first game 6-0. Sophomore Cole Plouck pitched six innings, giving up five earned runs. He had six strikeouts but went home with the loss.

In the second game, sophomore pitcher Ethan Rosebeck threw eight innings. He gave up one run and had 12 strikeouts to lead the Aztecs to a 5-1 victory.

Pima dropped a doubleheader against GateWay Community College on March 18.

The Aztecs managed just four hits in the first game and lost 3-0. Kucko gave up just one earned run in five and two-thirds innings pitched, but got tagged with the loss.

The Aztecs lost the second game 4-2.

They had many missed opportunities. In the last two innings, Pima loaded the bases twice but couldn’t bring runners home.

Sophomore A.J. Acosta went 2 for 3 with an RBI and two walks while Dan Kennon went 2 for 4 with a run scored.

On March 15, sophomore Cole Plouck and Skuro combined to throw a no-hitter on the way to a 10-0 home victory over Canada’s Douglas College.

Plouck earned the win, going six innings with seven strikeouts.

Three sophomores hit triples. Kellen Marruffo hit an RBI triple in the third inning. A.J. Acosta opened the fourth inning with a triple and Jorge Maldonado Jr. followed with an RBI triple.

The Aztecs scored four runs in the fifth inning to take control. Sophomores Acosta, James Lynch and Cooper Smith and freshman Brandon Burke all drove in runs.

Acosta finished 2 for 4 with three runs scored and two RBIs. Maldonado Jr. went 2 for 3 with two RBIs and a run scored. Sophomore Devon Carrillo was 2 for 4 with two runs scored.

The Aztecs also enjoyed dominant pitching on March 14 in a 10-0 home victory over Miles Community College.

Rosebeck went seven innings, racking up 12 strikeouts and giving up just two hits.

The Aztecs had five players with at least two hits.

Sophomore Steven Still was 2 for 4 with two RBIs and a run scored, while Smith went 2 for 3 with two RBIs.

In a doubleheader on March 13, the Aztecs played two very different games.

In the first game against Northeastern Oklahoma, the Aztecs tried to come back from a seven-run deficit but came up two runs short. They dropped the game by a score of 7-5. Freshman Ruben Bracamontes went 1-2 in the game and had three RBIs.

Pima won the second game 26-0 over Pro Training Baseball Academy.

The Aztecs rallied early for eight runs in the fourth inning, then cruised to an easy win. Freshman Marcel Renteria improved his record to 4-2 after going four innings, giving up two hits and no runs.

The Aztecs beat Northeastern Junior College 5-2 at home on March 12.

Freshman Ryan Norrix pitched  a complete game. He gave up two runs and six hits to get his first win of the season.

Lynch, Still and freshman Trey Stine each had an RBI and a run scored.

 

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Photo taken by: Nellie Silva/Aztec Press

 Sophomore Ethan Rosebeck throws a pitch in Pima’s 10-0 win March 14.
 
WOMEN'S SOCCER: Pima falls to Chandler-Gilbert

WOMEN’S SOCCER: Pima falls to Chandler-Gilbert

By JAIME HERNANDEZ

The Pima Community College women’s soccer team lost to Chandler-Gilbert Community College 1-0 in the Region I Semifinal playoffs on Oct. 31.

The Aztecs had chances throughout the game but were unable to capitalize on any scoring opportunities.

The game was scoreless at the half. Chandler-Gilbert’s lone goal came in the 59th minute of the game.

The Aztecs finished the season 11-10-1 on the year.

WOMEN’S SOCCER: Veterans lead youthful squad

WOMEN’S SOCCER: Veterans lead youthful squad

By DIEGO LOZANO III

With the majority of Pima Community College women’s soccer team entering as newcomers, coach Kendra Veliz will look to her returning core of sophomores to guide the young squad through new waters.

“We have eight returners and they’re pretty good ladies, I’ll say,” a smiling Veliz said.

Working 10-plus freshmen into the squad requires an adjustment period, Veliz said.

“They come in from all different high schools, so you need some time to get the cohesion and chemistry for the team,” she said. “But they’re working pretty hard and that’s the start of it.”

This year, Pima will play its home soccer games at the North Grandstand in the Kino Memorial Veterans Stadium complex, 2500 E. Ajo Way.

On Aug. 30, the Aztecs left Phoenix with a 5-0 shutout victory over South Mountain Community College to even their record at 2-2 including conference play.

PCC dominated the ball from the opening whistle as Veliz’s squad finished with 16 shots at the net while restricting the Cougars to just two attempts.

Sophomore forward Gisel Duarte led the rally with a first half hat-trick, which broke the game wide open and accounted for three of Pima’s four goals in the opening period.

Freshmen Larissa Adams and Lexxi Hanabergh also scored. Freshman goalkeeper Shelby Penrod recorded two saves.

The women found chemistry and cohesion as sophomore Katie Harayda successfully set up teammates with three assists.

Pima lost a bruising home game Aug. 29 against Cochise College. After a scoreless first half, Cochise broke through in the 72nd minute to seal a 1-0 victory.

Despite taking twice as many shots on goal, Pima didn’t catch any breaks.

Veliz complimented her team’s hustle and gritty performance after the loss.

“I honestly think they’re good, hard-working kids,” she said. “What it’s going to take is discipline and work, and we have a lot to learn still.”

The women kicked off their home opener Aug. 24 with a 1-0 win against Chandler-Gilbert Community College.

Freshman Angelica Gonzalez was deemed ACCAC Goalie of the Week for her resilience in guarding the net. She recorded one save.

Pima scored during a sophomore-to-freshman sequence. Vanessa Moraida set up a cross pass to Rachel Ridlinghafer for a goal in the 66th minute of play.

The Aztecs opened the season with a 3-2 loss on Aug. 22, traveling into foreign territory to take on Glendale Community College in Phoenix.

Freshmen Nikki Reed and Jess Ann Robison struck net in the 30th and 42nd minutes respectively to knot the score at 2-2 during the first half. The Aztecs gave up a goal in the second half.

As growing pains fade, Veliz believes her squad is capable of performing to expectations.

“There’s a little bit of the learning curve we’re still working on,” she said.

Veliz also stressed the significance of Pima’s extensive season.

“Every game counts, every game is important,” she said.

Sophomore defender Miranda Smith tackles the ball from a Cochise Community College. (Aztec Press photo by Diego Lozano III)

Sophomore defender Miranda Smith tackles the ball from a Cochise Community College. (Aztec Press photo by Diego Lozano III) 

On Deck

Sept. 7: Gateway CC, Kino North, 4:30 p.m.

Sept. 10: Paradise Valley CC, Kino North, 4:30 p.m.

Sept. 12: @ Phoenix College, Phoenix, 4:30 p.m.

Sept. 14: Arizona Western College, Kino North, 4:30 p.m.

TENNIS: Aztecs taking their show to Broadway

TENNIS: Aztecs taking their show to Broadway

wPg20-Tennis-Helel Altieri

PCC sophomore Helen Altieri

By STEVE CHOICE

The Pima Community College women’s tennis team won’t need an atlas or a GPS device to get to this year’s NJCAA national tournament venue.

The 11th-ranked Aztecs will enjoy home-court advantage when the best in the nation throw down on May 5-10 at the Reffkin Tennis Center. The facility is located at the corner of Alvernon Way and Broadway Boulevard.

It’s the third time in the last four years the tourney has been staged in Tucson. Head coach Gretchen Schantz sees pros and cons for the Aztecs playing in their own backyard.

“The big advantage of being at home is that we get all the support,” she said. “A disadvantage can be that the players still have their basic life distractions going on around them. On the road, it’s just us together.

“It can be hard to juggle sometimes, but that’s what being a student-athlete is all about.”

No. 1 singles player Helen Altieri is looking forward to playing in front of the local crowd.

“It’s really cool, because we’ll have a lot of support,” the sophomore from Yuma said. “And we don’t have to deal with the stresses of traveling, so that’s a big plus.”

Schantz believes her squad can make history this year.

“My goal for this tournament is to finish in the top 10,” she said. “That would be our best finish ever as a Division I program, so that’s what I’m hoping for my team.

“We have the highest ranking we’ve had going in to it since I’ve been coach, so it’s nice to feel like we have a good chance to finish a little higher than we have in the past.”

Schantz says getting favorable draws from the tournament seeding committee would make PCC’s path smoother.

The tournament is similar to the NCAA Division I men’s basketball tourney in that higher seeds initially face less demanding competition, which makes scoring team points easier for higher-seeded players.

Schantz says one player who should get a good draw is freshman Amy Beeston, who won the No. 4 singles championship at regionals on April 15-16. Beeston also teamed with fellow freshman Torie Wake to take the No. 2 doubles crown.

“I just want to play the best I can,” Beeston said. “I’m not really nervous or anything. I’m really excited to be going to nationals for the first time.”

Altieri echoed her teammate’s sentiments.

“It never helps to worry,” she said. “I never did. This may be my last experience playing for a team at the collegiate level, so I just want to go out there and know I had a good time.”

For Pima’s match times and opponents, visit here.

SOFTBALL: Pima finishes stellar campaign

SOFTBALL: Pima finishes stellar campaign

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Sophomore Yvette Alvarez

By ROSE VALENZUELA

The Pima Community College softball team (43-17, 35-13 ACCAC) finished its regular season with an April 27 doubleheader sweep of Chandler-Gilbert Community College on the road. Pima won 11-0 and 10-9.

Sophomore pitcher Yvette Alvarez (26-12) closed out the regular season campaign with a pair of victories on the bump.

Alvarez also had a three-run double in the second inning of game one to stake the Aztecs to an early advantage. She went 2 for 2 with three RBIs in the contest.

Sophomore Shawna Comeaux finished 3 for 4 with four RBIs and a run scored.

In game two, PCC had to rally from behind three times as a four-run seventh helped decide the affair.

Sophomore Alejandra Ortiz went 2 for 3 with two RBIs, while freshman Stacey Ramirez was 3 for 3 with three runs scored.

On April 23, Pima annihilated GateWay Community College at home, winning 21-2 and 20-2.

Alvarez went an astounding 7 for 8 from the plate, knocking four over the fence and collecting 12 RBIs. She also hit a double and a triple.

Sophomore Noelle Medina had her own offensive explosion, going 3 for 4 with four RBIs and three runs scored. Comeaux was 2 for 2.

In game two, sophomore Aubre Carpenter was 3 for 4 with two RBIs, and freshman Victoria Mariscal went 2 for 2 with a pair of runs batted in.

PCC split a home doubleheader against Arizona Western College on April 20, as the squad honored its outgoing players with Sophomore Day.

The sophomores recognized were Gemma Contreras, Cynthia Pelayo, Ortiz, Medina, Carpenter, Alvarez and Comeaux.

The Aztecs won the first game 3-2 as Alvarez pitched a complete game, giving up only two earned runs on 11 hits and striking out seven.

Ramirez scored the winning run in the seventh inning after she went in to pinch-run.

The Aztecs lost the second game 2-1. Contreras finished 2 for 4 with an RBI.

Alvarez took her first loss on the mound since March 19.

Despite the loss, Alvarez was named ACCAC Division I Pitcher of the Week for the week of April 15-21. In that time, she pitched 27 innings with a 1.67 ERA and 15 strikeouts. It was her third consecutive week winning the honor.

Freshman Danielle Stensby took home Player of the Week honors for the same time period, as she went 5 for 10 with two RBIs, two doubles, two walks and three runs scored.