Sports

Sand Volleyball: Home Games

Tom Black, head coach of the sand volleyball and indoor volleyball programs — and assistant coach with the U.S. women’s national team — says sand volleyball demands more from players than the indoor game, while simultaneously making them better indoor players.

Anthony Ireland: Iceman

Junior point guard Anthony Ireland is at his coolest under pressure. Ice in his veins, floor general, shooter, assist machine, leader, clutch, smart, strong, fierce, unstoppable, reliable, crafty, all-conference, the iceman — words used to describe Ireland.

Colton Plaia Throws People Out

Colton Plaia ’13 was named a First Team All-West Coast Conference selection in his junior and senior years. At the end of the 2013 season, he was named the WCC Defensive Player of the Year. He led all Lion hitters with a .311 average, 24 runs scored, 16 doubles and three homers, and recorded 25 RBIs. Plaia was named to College Baseball Daily’s Top 100 Players list prior to the 2013 season. As a junior, he was drafted by the Baltimore Orioles in the 33rd round but elected to return to LMU after playing for the USA Baseball Collegiate National Team during the summer of 2012. His brother, Nick Murphy, played catcher in college, which is why Plaia has been practicing catcher’s drills since he was a boy.

Playbook: Mike Dunlap’s Influencers

The coaching career of Mike Dunlap ’80 extends across two continents and winds through many levels of competitive basketball, from a small Division III university to an NBA team. Along the way, he has worked with giants of the past who he calls “Mount Rushmore coaches” and some of the most well-regarded minds in the game today. We asked Dunlap to tell us what he has learned from his peers and mentors over the years.—The Editor

Soccer Superfans

Jo Blankenship ’16, midfielder and co-captain of the LMU women’s soccer team, began playing at the age of 4. Her idol was Mia Hamm, star of the U.S. national team. Blankenship’s senior year has capped a stellar career: First Team All-WCC; second in total points in the WCC; led LMU to two NCAA tournament wins and the Sweet 16; and set the LMU career assists record. Blankenship has led soccer camps for young players for the past three summers. We talked with her about girls’ and women’s soccer in the United States. She was interviewed by Editor Joseph Wakelee-Lynch.

Bullpen

Earl Weaver, the great Baltimore Orioles baseball manager, once said, “Nobody likes to hear it, because it’s dull, but the reason you win or lose is darn near always the same — pitching.”

Sam Fischer ’12, Hitter

Senior shortstop Sam Fischer is the greatest hitter in LMU softball history. She is the all-time home run and RBI leader in the Pacific Coast Softball Conference, and she’s on track to finish as LMU’s career leader in home runs, RBIs and batting average. That would make Fischer a career Triple Crown holder. We asked about her hitting secrets. She was interviewed by Editor Joseph Wakelee-Lynch