College Corner: LBCC hosting championship Saturday

Every team in every sport at every school works all season to get the opportunity the Long Beach City College football team has this Saturday: to host a championship game.

The Vikings will welcome Ventura College to Veterans Memorial Stadium at 6 p.m., with a lot on the line. A win would give LBCC an outright conference championship—they clinched a share of it last week—as well as a guaranteed berth in the state playoffs as one of the top four teams in Southern California.

“It’s simple for us,” LBCC coach Brett Peabody told us. “Win and we’re in.”

The Vikings (7-2) are having one of their best seasons since Peabody arrived, including three exciting one-score wins. LBCC is on a five-game win streak dating back to September, but they need a win Saturday to make this the season they want it to be.

Since Saturday is “Youth Sports Night” for the Vikings, any youth player or coach in uniform will be admitted free of charge for what’s sure to be a great game.

LBCC has one of the best players anywhere in California in D’Anthony Jones, a dominant freak-of-nature sophomore linebacker who’s 6’2”, 255 pounds. Jones is the biggest hitter in the state, but packs speed as well as punch. In last weekend’s win over College of the Canyons, Jones had eight tackles, two sacks and three interceptions, one of which he ran back for a touchdown. It’s an insane stat line but one we’ve come to expect from Jones, who has scholarship offers pouring in.

After LBCC’s win, we’ll find out Sunday about the state playoffs or a Bowl Game.

Long Beach State Basketball

One of our favorite sports-isms is “potential is a dirty word,” a true statement if ever we’ve heard one. When a coach tells you at the beginning of the season that their team has potential, what they’re usually telling you is that their team isn’t very good.

And yet, the “potential” trap is one that we all fall into from time to time. At last weekend’s Long Beach State Homecoming doubleheader, the Beach men’s and women’s teams both won, with the men beating the University of San Diego and the women dispatching NAIA foe Westcliff.

“Hey!” we told each other. “These teams have potential!”

The Long Beach State men team in particular was impressive in their win as well as in a close loss to UCLA in their season opener, a game they were expected to lose by nearly 20 but lost by four.

And yet!

There was the Beach on Tuesday evening this week at Stanford, getting blown out, 86-58. Head coach Dan Monson said he was disappointed his team wasn’t more ready to compete, a statement we wholeheartedly agree with especially since things only get tougher for LBSU (1-2) which visits No. 18 St. Mary’s, Thursday night.

The Beach women visited UCLA on Thursday afternoon and ended up losing 86-51. LBSU (1-2) hosts Utah State on Monday evening in the Pyramid.

Senior Night Adieu

This hasn’t been the season the women’s volleyball team at Long Beach State was hoping for, as the team sits at 10-15 overall and 7-6 in the Big West. The five-time national championship program continues to struggle through a long rebuild under coach Joy McKienzie-Fuerbringer.

The team finishes their home schedule this week as they host UC Santa Barbara on Friday and Cal Poly on Saturday, with Senior Night festivities bidding farewell to a trio of great players: Hailey Harward, Kjersti Norveel and Yizhi Xue.

The team’s season finale will come next week at Hawaii. It hasn’t been a great season for the Beach, but a trip to Honolulu in November isn’t a bad consolation prize.

LBCC Water Polo, Volleyball

The state playoffs take a long time at the Junior College level, as the LBCC volleyball and water polo teams have to go through separate tournaments for their conferences, Southern California regionals and then the actual state bracket.

Things are going well for LBCC, as the women’s volleyball team (19-6) will play in Saturday’s conference semifinals at home against Pasadena at 5 p.m.

The men’s water polo team (26-2) is traveling to Riverside College for a Saturday morning (9 a.m.) regional playoff game against the Tigers. The women’s water polo team (23-5) will be at Riverside Saturday at 3:15 p.m. for a regionals game against Citrus.

State championship tournaments for both water polo teams would be next Friday and Saturday at Golden West College.

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Mike and JJ go together like mac and cheese: they’re best friends, business partners and Long Beach sports experts. They’ve been working together for over a decade covering Long Beach local sports and now run, a community-funded nonprofit media outlet.