Jack Murphy is a senior for the Saint Mary’s baseball team, and he is looking to finish the year strong before he graduates this spring.
By Mark Molz
Jack Murphy walked on to the SMC campus in the fall of 2017, eager to make an impact on an up-and-coming Saint Mary’s squad. As a freshman, Murphy appeared in sixteen games for the Gaels and tallied three starts. Following his freshman campaign, Murphy became a regular on the Gael’s lineup as he went on to make thirty-five appearances and sixteen starts in his sophomore season. He would end up finishing the year with a respectable .325 average, sixteen RBIs, and hit his first collegiate home run against WCC rivals, Gonzaga.
Before his junior was cut short due to Covid-19, Murphy was sidelined with a broken hand that ultimately ended his season before the year started. Now, in his senior campaign, Murphy is healthy once again and is back on the field where he belongs.
Coming out of high school, Murphy was looking at a variety of different schools, but when asked why he chose Saint Mary’s he stated, “I knew this school would offer me a lot of great opportunities when it would be time to graduate and I really appreciated the community and small class sizes SMC had when it came to my decision.”
Murphy has enjoyed his time here immensely and said he couldn’t be happier with his decision to come back in 2017. Besides playing baseball, Murphy noted the countless friendships he has made throughout the years.
“I would say one of my favorite parts about being a Gael is the small community and the relationships I have built over the years,” Murphy stated. “I have made lifelong relationships with many of the students here.”
Murphy also has endless baseball memories that will be with him for a lifetime. After four years of collegiate baseball at SMC, combined with summer ball in places like Portland and Virginia, he has appreciated every experience and opportunity he has been presented with.
“Going to the WCC tournament my Sophomore year has to be my favorite baseball memory,” Murphy stated without hesitation. “It has been the only time we made it that far since I have been here and the experience was something I will never forget.”
On top of the WCC tournament, Murphy added that playing summer ball in different states has also generated some of his favorite memories. He noted that being able to play baseball in a different part of the country for the course of two months is a great experience. And, on top of playing in different states, he has been able to make relationships with ballplayers from schools all over the country.
As Murphy’s career at SMC is coming to a close, he is looking forward to what the future holds. Still, with one year of eligibility left due to the COVID-19 pandemic, he hopes to play one last year of baseball while receiving a master’s degree.
Murphy will be graduating this spring with a degree in Psychology and hopes to receive a master’s in Wildland Management. Post-school, Murphy hopes to pursue a career in Firefighting.
Undergraduate and team veteran Brian Kahmar details Saint Mary’s club baseball team’s upcoming trip to the NCBA Club Baseball World Series and their hopes of competing if they get enough funding to attend.
By Brent Dondalski
After a tumultuous year in both sports and the world, the Saint Mary’s club baseball team is headed to the 2021 NCBA Club Baseball World Series. The team received an automatic bid to the series and will be representing the Pacific region, hoping to bring a championship back to Moraga. The event will be taking place in Pittsburgh, Kansas from May 27th to June 3rd, with Saint Mary’s going up against seven other teams across the United States.
Third-year student and club baseball veteran Brian Kahmar detailed the anticipation leading up to the event: “There’s a combination of both excitement and nervousness just because I know I haven't been as far as Kansas for baseball ever in my life. And I'm sure a lot of the other guys are feeling the same.”
Despite COVID sidetracking their season, the team hasn’t lost focus. They’ve been discussing ways to get the team playing while still remaining cautious about COVID with their club director as far back as November. When they got the green light to compete, they jumped at the opportunity. Now, the team is in their third week of practice in anticipation of the competition.
“We don't know what the competition will be like just because the teams we’ll be going up against are from all across the country. So we're not sure how they play or how well they play compared to what we're usually used to. For practice right now, I'd say we're probably just focusing on more of the fundamental aspects of the game. You know, proper technique when fielding grounders, catching flyballs, or getting bullpens done so our pitchers are warm and loose when they're throwing. [We’re] trying to be prepared and ready in the event that we do get to go,” Kahmar explained.
This isn’t club baseball’s first competition on the road too. “We went to Vegas in 2019 in November with no expectation of winning at all, and we went 2-2, which was a good positive step for the program and we're hoping this could be another big step in the right direction,” Kahmar recounted. With past trips going well for the program, club baseball is ready to exceed expectations.
Still, the road to the world series is not without its challenges. A week in Kansas means travel expenses, food expenses, and more. “We're doing a lot of fundraising, trying to get the cost down for each individual player to pay out of pocket. And if everybody just can't pay, then I guess it's sort of an out-of-luck situation. So we’re hoping people will continue to help us fundraise money and that uncertainty will become certainty and we’ll find our way to Kansas” Kahmar stated.
Though the funding for the trip remains a source of worry for the team, nothing is set in stone. After fundraising a little over a thousand dollars during 1Day1SMC, the team is hopeful that more donations will come in to help with the cost. “Our fundraising has actually been extended through May 7, still at the same 1Day1SMC link...We still have about a week left in our fundraising, so we're hoping to get as much money as possible.”
Even with the financial obstacles, the NCBA invitation is nothing short of exciting. The Saint Mary’s Club Baseball team has won on the road in the past, and they’re gearing up for more success in Kansas.
To donate to the GiveCampus campaign in support of this team please follow the link below. Donations accepted until ends May 7th 2021:
By Mark Molz
In a year of uncertainties, one thing is certain, and that is the Champions League never failing to disappoint.
Four teams remain in the hunt to take home the ever so coveted Champions League Title. The Premier League boasts two teams in this year's semi-finals in Manchester City and Chelsea FC. Meanwhile, PSG and Real Madrid represent their respective leagues in Ligue 1 and La Liga.
Last year's champions, Bayern Munich, fell to PSG in the quarterfinals leaving this year's trophy up for grabs amongst the last four. Let’s take a look at the last four teams and see which one has the best chance at taking home the UCL final to their club.
Real Madrid vs. Chelsea
Chelsea will be looking to secure their second Champions League title in club history, meanwhile Real Madrid are hoping to add another victory to their already record holding thirteen titles.
Currently 1-1 on aggregate, Chelsea has the lead with their crucial away goal in last week's competition. Captain America, Christian Pulisic, put one away against the Real side in the 14’ minute, which could turn out to be the winner if they can hold Real to a clean sheet in game two of the semi-finals.
Real Madrid will need to come out aggressive in hopes of putting an away goal in at Stamford Bridge. Karim Benzema scored their equalizer in game one of their semi-finals matchup and I wouldn’t be surprised if he found the net again. Benzema has been in top form recently and he will be fighting to push his team through to the finals.
It is hard to bet against such a storied club in Real Madrid, so that is exactly what I will not do. Real will use their experience against Thomas Tuchels Chelsea, snatch the victory at Stamford Bridge, and push their way to the finals where they will either face Manchester City or PSG.
Manchester City vs. PSG
The first leg of the semi-finals was a tale of two-halves. PSG came out aggressive, fast, and ready to bury City. City on the other hand looked slow, timid, and had a difficult time getting the ball inside the box, leaving them trailing at half-time 1-0 to the French side.
But, with Pep Guardiola managing the City side most viewers knew the second half would be much different. The mastermind simply out coached Pochettino, and to put it simply, Pep was playing chess once again, while everyone seemed to be stuck with checkers. One free-kick goal from Kevin De-Bruyne and another from Riyad Mahrez found City leaving the French grounds with a 2-1 victory and two extremely important away goals.
In order for PSG to secure their spot in the UCL final they will have to march into the Etihad and score a minimum of two goals against Pep’s team and with Neymar and Mbappe on the pitch it surely seems like a possible feat. In the round of 16 they were able to put four goals away against Europe’s greats in Barcelona, with a sensational hat-trick from Mbappe. But, while PSG has some of the top scorers in the world. City has been in top form for months and it feels ambitious to bet against them on one of the biggest stages in Europe.
City will push their way to the finals where they will face Real in hope of taking down one of Europe’s great giants. While Real is looking to add to their current record of thirteen titles, City will be hoping to add their first UCL trophy to their cabinet.
Sports Reporter breaks down the most sought after recruits for this year's NFL Draft.
By Mark Molz
Everyone knows Trevor Lawrence is going to be the first overall pick in this year's NFL draft. He is a generational type talent that will hopefully have a transcending career at the next level.
The real excitement in this year’s draft will come in the picks that follow. With the possibility of five quarterbacks going in the top ten, this year is one of the more quarterback heavy classes in recent memory. The Jets, Forty-Niners, and Falcons hold picks two, three, and four and they all very well could take a quarterback with their respected picks.
With the trading of Sam Darnold to the Panthers, the Jets have now made it known they will be taking a quarterback with their 2nd overall pick, but the question still remains as to which quarterback they will be taking. There are four quarterbacks they will be able to choose from; Zach Wilson (BYU), Trey Lance (North Dakota State), Justin Fields (Ohio State), and Mac Jones (Alabama).
Justin Fields was the previous frontrunner to go second overall to the Jets, but as each quarterback has completed their pro day and pre draft workouts, Zach Wilson has now become the more viable option at this point in time. Wilson finished his 2020 campaign with 3,692 yards, 33 touchdowns, and 3 interceptions. He took the college football world by storm and propelled himself up draft boards during the college football season and has the opportunity to be the highest drafted BYU player in the history of the program. But, although everything is leaning towards Zach Wilson, it is ultimately the Jets decision and anything can happen when it is their turn on the clock.
Meanwhile, it is up in the air with who the Forty-Niners are going to select with the third overall pick. What if the Jets decide not to take Zach Wilson? Will the Niners jump on him? Is Mac Jones better short-term or long-term? Will Justin Fields be the face of the franchise?
There are many questions to be asked and few answers for the average viewer, like many of us are. While the Niners still hold on to Jimmy Garoppolo, who led them to a super bowl just two seasons ago, it seems they are ready to draft a quarterback for their future. With Jimmy G constantly injured and missing games, I am sure Niners coach Kyle Shanahan is tired of choosing between Nick Mullens and C.J. Beathard every week.
The Niners have the opportunity to shake up the whole draft depending on who they select. Many analysts believe it will be Mac Jones, who led the Alabama Crimson Tide to a National Championship in his lone year as a starter. But, there are concerns with Mac Jones and his ability to perform at the next level considering he had played a year of college football as a starting quarterback.
Others think it should be Justin Fields, whose dual-threat running and throwing game could be dominant in the NFL if put in the right system. But, conversation about Trey Lance being the Niners selection has also surfaced in analysts conversations which would make the following picks extremely interesting.
After the Niners you have the Falcons, who are struggling to stay afloat with Matt Ryan under center. With one of the best receiving duos in the league, in Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley, the Falcons are also searching for a quarterback who can win and get Jones and Ridley the ball. With the fourth pick, it will be interesting to see who will still be available. All four quarterbacks have a chance to fall fourth to Falcons and if they don’t trade out their spot in the draft they will be looking to jump on the best available at that time. If I were to make an assumption, I would say the Falcons end up going with Trey Lance out of North Dakota State. He has the ability to throw the deep ball and hit his targets down the field, which is what the Falcons need.
On top of all the quarterbacks in this year's draft, the first half of the draft will be filled with offensive skill players that surely can dominate at the next level. Ja’Marr Chase (LSU), Jaylen Waddle (Alabama), Kyle Pitts (Florida), and Heisman winner DeVonta Smith (Alabama) will all be on the board and there is a strong chance they will all be gone by the tenth pick.
This class is packed with so much talent some analysts have DeVonta Smith - who is the first wide receiver to win the Heisman since Desmond Howard did it 1991- going last out of all those players. Ja’Marr Chase even sat last year's season out due to COVID-19 and has the opportunity to go in the top five.
This draft class has the opportunity to be one of the best of all time. This year's NFL draft will be one of the more exciting ones we have seen in a while. There will be trades, shocking picks, talent at every position, future NFL MVPs, and a lot of money to be made by these players. This is not one you will want to miss.
Click on the links below to check out some of the latest Mock Drafts.
With the beginning of the MLB season dive into a review of players and teams as they step up to the bat for a new season.
By Mark Molz
Major League Baseball is back and if you are a baseball junkie like myself you couldn’t be happier.
Francisco Lindor’s swag, Mike Trout’s dominance, Jacob DeGrom’s unhittable slider, and Christian Yelich’s smooth swing is everything a baseball fan can ask for. And with the return to a 162-game schedule compared to last year's 60 due to COVID-19 we are lucky to get a full year of America's Pastime.
Now a little over a week into the season, let’s take a look at some updates on both the teams and the players.
If you are a Padres fan your season is off to a rather unfortunate start. Even though the Padres are sitting second in the National League West with a 7-3 record, and with one of those games being a no-hitter thrown by Joe Musgrove, nothing can overshadow the fact star player Fernando Tatis might miss the entire season with a recent injury to his shoulder. A normal swing of the bat knocked Tatis out of the game and possibly the season and now all Padres fans can do is sit and wait until they receive more news.
Meanwhile, Francisco Lindor has truly found his new home in the Big Apple, singing a 10-year, $341 million dollar deal with his new team The Mets. Lindor is a perfect fit for New York and hopefully they will appreciate him more than the Cleveland Indians did and he will continue to play at an elite level. Met’s fans should be ecstatic about this signing as Lindor is one of the top shortstops in the game and hopes to bring his all-star caliber skills to his new city.
Red Sox Slugger Martinez is on mission to be much better than last season, and now a week into this year's schedule you could argue he has already surpassed his level of play. Coming off a shortened 60-game season where he hit a mere .213 to go along with seven homers, Martinex definitely wants to leave that season behind him. Now only 9 games into this season and he is boasting a .472 average and has already hit five home runs, which includes a three home run game against the Baltimore Orioles. There are still a lot of games left to play and it will be interesting to see if Martinez can keep his hot start going.
Another player off to a hot start is Tiger’s Rookie, Akil Baddoo. Before this season Badoo had never played a game above Single-A level and took the league by storm in the opening week of the season. In his first three games Baddoo hit a home-run in first major league at-bat, hit a grand slam, and walk-off in his third game. Baddoo is currently hitting .313 with seven RBIs, and two home runs.
Los Angeles Dodgers
It is no surprise that the Dodger’s currently boast the best record in baseball at 8-3 and are the current favorites to win this year’s World Series. If the Dodgers are able to win it all this year they will be the first team to win consecutive World Series since the 1998-99’, and 2000 New York Yankees. Their pitching rotation is filled with aces and with a line-up containing Corey Seager, Mookie Betts, Cody Bellinger, Max Muncy, and more it is hard to imagine them not winning it again.
On the other hand, my Oakland Athletics are currently bottom of the barrel. Starting the season 0-6 is not where most teams would imagine themselves. Although they have currently won three of their last four games, they still sit at the bottom of the American League West with a 3-7 record. Even though they lost star closer Liam Hendricks in free agency many people still believe they have the chance to put together a solid season especially after coming off last year where they lost the Astros in the ALDS. It has been a slow start for the A’s, but I wouldn’t panic just yet A’s fans, manager Bob Melvin has been in similar situations before and there is no doubt that he can lead this team to another playoff season.
New York Yankees
Another team off to a start they didn’t expect is the New York Yankees. Currently a game below .500 with a 4-5 record they are off to a much slower start than expected. But, I am not going to look into this one too much as the season is still just underway. With Gerrit Cole leading their rotation and guys like Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, and Gary Sanchez in their line-up I would be surprised if they didn’t finish their season atop of the American League East.
It has been an exciting start to this year’s MLB season and hopefully the rest of this year will be full of top plays, star moments, and games that leave you on the edge of your seat.
By Mark Molz
With less than ten games left in the Premier League Season it seems as though nobody will catch Manchester City who are in top form at the moment, but the race for top four and a coveted spot in next year’s Champions League is still open.
Manchester City are the top team in the Prem and it looks as though they will go on to win their third season title in the last four years. City is currently 14 points ahead of town rivals Manchester United who are in second, and it would truly take a catastrophic ending to City’s season for them to lose their substantial lead. On their way to the top this year City has also scored the most goals this season with 64 and have the most clean sheets with 16.
Although City appears to be running away with this year's title, it will be a tight race between Chelsea, West Ham United, Liverpool, Everton, and Tottenham as they fight for fourth place on the table. Only a mere six points separate Chelsea, who is fourth, and Tottenham, who is eighth, but with Chelsea hitting their stride at the right time it might be hard for the teams that are currently behind to catch up.
So, who will be in the top four at then end of the season? Let’s take a look at the teams who have a chance.
Since former PSG manager Thomas Tuchel was appointed to Chelsea in January after the sacking of Frank Lampard, The Blues have gone on to win or draw their last ten games and have posted clean sheets in their last four. Although they are currently only three points ahead of West Ham United they appear to be in top form, and well on their way to finishing in the top four.
It is hard not to see Chelsea taking one of the top four spots in this year’s premier league season as Tuchel seems to be the perfect fit for this young Chelsea squad. On top of their recent surge in the Premier League they recently just moved past Atletico Madrid in the current Champions League Season and are on their way to the quarterfinals.
West Ham United
West Ham has surprised most premier league fans this season by hanging around in the top half of the table this late into the season. Finishing sixteenth in the table last year, just a mere five points above the relegation zone, they have made a substantial jump from previous years. Instead of fighting to stay in England's top league, they are competing for a spot in one of the most difficult competitions in the soccer world.
One of the Hammer’s most notable moments this year was the acquisition of Jesse Lingard on loan from top tier squad Manchester United. Since joining the Hammers Lingard has appeared in six games while finding the back of the net four times. But, although the signing of Lingard has helped the Hammers they have currently dropped points in two of their last three games and moved out of the top four. While the Hammers still have a very viable chance to make the top four and find themselves in the Champions League, it is hard to see them out playing Chelsea who are currently three points ahead.
While the defending champs are only five points back from a top four spot, they have been struggling to stay afloat in this year's season. Dropping six out of their last eight games, with one of those losses handed to them by soon-to-be relegated Fulham, it does not seem as though The Reds will finish this year in Champions League contention.
Through 29 games this season they only have 13 wins and have a total of nine loses. Through the same amount of games in the season prior they were well ahead of the rest of the league in points and had only accumulated one loss and one draw. While Liverpool has struggled to match their form from last season, it is important to point out that injuries have decimated their backline, including one of the top defenders in the world in Virgil Van Dijk.
And as the Premier League continues, it seems they will put most of their energy in winning the current Champions League Season in which they recently advanced to the quarterfinals.
Right in the thick of things with 46 points, Everton is making a push to make their first Champions League since 2005. While they are doing their best to make the top four they have recently dropped four out of their last seven games including a 2-0 defeat to Fulham, who also beat Liverpool in their recent struggle for success.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin currently is third in the league in goals scored with 14 and has the most on this Everton side. If Everton wants any chance at making the Champions League next season, they are going to need Calvert-Lewin to continue to perform at a top level in these final games.
Jose Mourhino’s Spurs are on the outside looking in as this season is coming down to the end. Sitting eighth in the table with ten games left for the Spurs squad, this is definitely not where they imagined themselves at the beginning of the season. With players such as Gareth Bale, Dele Ali, Son Heung-min, and Harry Kane, who has the second most goals scored in the Premier League this season, many would have expected Tottenham to find themselves in the top four for the most of the year. But, Mourhino has appeared to have his struggles managing this squad as the season has progressed.
While The Spurs still have a chance to make it into the top four, it doesn’t appear they will have what it takes to get them there.
premier league table
Saint Mary’s basketball coach Danielle Mauldin reflects on transitioning from a Saint Mary’s student athlete to a Saint Mary’s coach, and the lessons she hopes her athletes learn about growth, and commitment.
By Mark Molz
Former stand-out Saint Mary’s basketball star Danielle Mauldin has just finished another year of coaching at the same place she graduated from back in 2014. Mauldin is wrapping up her third year as an assistant coach for the Women’s basketball team, and during her time here she has used her platform to not only address on-the-court issues, but issues off-the-court as well regarding social justice.
Mauldin was born in Vallejo, California, before moving to Benicia, and living all over the Bay Area in her early life. Prior to becoming a coach for her alma mater Mauldin found herself coaching at Diablo Valley Community College a few miles up the road, and up north at Eastern Washington University for a season.
Mauldin has been around basketball since the age of seven and has continued to find passion in the game today. Mauldin attended Saint Mary’s College High School right up the road in Berkeley, and when it was time to choose where she wanted to play next she looked right up the road to Saint Mary’s. Saint Mary’s followed Mauldin during her high school years and since it was close to home it made it an easier decision when deciding where she would attend.
“I wanted my parents to be able to attend a lot of my games and not have to travel all the time to see me play,” Mauldin stated. “Being close to home made it feel like an easier transition.”
In high school Mauldin knew she had a knack for finding the ball, rebounding, and knew Saint Mary’s College had a system she could thrive in. Once arriving on campus in her freshman year, Mauldin would spend her next four collegiate years becoming one of the best players in Gaels history. Mauldin would graduate Saint Mary’s as the best rebounder in WCC history with 1,282 boards, and holds the record for most rebounds in a season with 427. She also holds the record for most free-throws made and attempted in Saint Mary’s history, along with having played the second most games ever with 131.
“I had a good support system around me and I liked how I was offered the opportunity to be able to play a lot of minutes, starting out freshman year.” Mauldin continued, “that helped boost my confidence a little bit, having supportive teammates, to help me be successful really was key.”
Along with being able to play early minutes as an incoming freshman, Mauldin also credits her success to her teammates and support system that surrounded her throughout the years. Having the support from her family, friends, and teammates around her by staying in the bay was key in helping her become a better player overall.
When reflecting on her time as a student, one her favorite memories are the relationships she was able to build on and off the court. Outside of basketball Mauldin was able to get involved in organizations like the Black Student Union here on campus and valued the relationships she was able to build with fellow students. Being able to connect off the court helped her find an identity outside of basketball.
“Giving me that outlet to express myself enriched my experience completely,” Mauldin stated. “And like I said, that's how I was able to meet more people and who I have connections with to this day. You never know when you are going to call somebody or need somebody in the future, so building those connections during that period of time was so awesome.”
After graduating Mauldin wasn’t entirely sure that she wanted to be a coach, or at least so soon after her playing career was over. But, after hearing stories about student-athletes, traumatic experiences regarding mental health, and their athletic experiences throughout college she began to give it more thought.
When reflecting on her decision to coach Mauldin stated, “I want to enhance or make somebody else's experience so much better.” She continued, “so when they reflect back on their years of being coached or being in a space like that, they reflect on those years with the utmost admiration.”
As most student-athletes probably feel, practice is a love-hate relationship. As a player Mauldin always loved the games, but as she has transitioned into coaching her appreciation for the practice has only grown. Being able to see the process and her players grow over the course of a season is something she has grown fond of and is one of her favorite parts of her coaching experience.
“I'd say my favorite thing now is just getting able to work with student athletes on the court and in practice,” Mauldin stated. “I love development, I'd say that's the thing that I've grown to love so much more.”
On top of being able to watch her players develop, Mauldin enjoys being able to build relationships with her players even after she is no longer their coach. Stating that she keeps in touch with a handful of her past players she has been able to coach over the years.
Within the team environment Mauldin also likes to generate conversation away from basketball and focus societal issues regarding race, gender, and social justice. When asked if she has been able to attend Saint Mary’s 44-days event on campus she said she has been unable to due to the time commitment of the basketball season. But, she mentioned she has been leading her team through a nine-month diversity conversation, where each month she invites her team to sit-down and discuss topics of race and gender, giving them an outlet to speak on these issues.
“I know student athletes and just college students in general have so much to say.” Mauldin continued, “it's been nice to hold those means to hear people's voices and what they think and their ideas about certain topics. So that has been awesome.”
Whether the conversations are through presentations from different players that highlight historical black figures in society or just group conversations, Mauldin believes it is important to give her players an opportunity to reflect on the world around them because they don’t always get the opportunity to do so. Mauldin noted that engaging in difficult conversations about social justice in an environment like this is important to bring awareness to all individuals and can enact change now and in the future.
“I think it's so vital, it's important to continue to at least check in or do something once a month regarding this stuff,” Mauldin stated. “Because that's what's going to enact change in the future when you go out into those workspaces and you are aware, I think it's the awareness i’m trying to build in each of us and even myself, like awareness of my biases and my things and my stuff.”
On top of these conversations Mauldin has acknowledged that she has been the only Black woman on her coaching staff more than once which can be difficult to navigate at times. Being the only Women on Color on her coaching staff she notes it can be challenging to not feel alone during certain moments in time. But, along with two other coaches in the country, Mauldin has created a group for coaches to meet and share their experiences, titled Young Coaches of Color.
Mauldin started Young Coaches of Color to create a community of resources for individuals to support one another and build connections with coaches in similar institutions and situations as her. Through her group Mauldin looks to create an environment for coaches to talk with one another and help them feel less alone wherever they may be.
“I definitely see diversity just in general, and especially in the coaching world of NCAA athletics could be a lot better.” Mauldin continued, “I feel like just knowing or seeing that you have somebody who looks like you around just offers a level of comfort in knowing that you can go out and carry out your job.”
Outside of her career and proactive steps into creating a more inclusive environment here at Saint Mary’s and other schools as well, Mauldin hopes to continue to serve in her future, whether that be coaching or not. She hopes she will be able to inspire others, help them grow, and achieve their goals.
For more information regarding Coach Danielle Mauldin please follow this link:
NBA Spring season brings new changes, spotlighting old stars, teams out for revenge, and rookies out to create their own trails.
By Mark Molz
The second half of the NBA season is underway and with the MVP race up for grabs and the path to the finals wide open, here is what you need to know before the next half of games get started.
Lebron James: It is no surprise that Lebron is in the MVP conversation for yet another year. And let's be honest with ourselves, Lebron could win it every year and probably should have more times than his already respectable four MVP Trophies.
At the age of 36 Lebron has continued to silence the ones who doubt him and excel in a league filled with 20 year old superstars. Boasting an impressive statline of 25.8 PPG, 8.0 RPG, and 7.8 APG, all in his 18th season is nothing short of spectacular. Lebron currently has the defending champs seeded third in a loaded Western Conference, and is only three-and-a-half games behind the first place Utah Jazz.
Joel Embiid: Meanwhile, on the other side of the league, Joel Embiid is leading his 76ers to win after win. Currently first in the Eastern Conference, Embiid has the Sixers ahead of two very impressive teams in the Bucks and Nets. Averaging an impressive 30.2 PPG, 11.6 RPG, 1.2 STL, and 1.4 BLK, Embiid has taken his game to a whole nother level this year.
As much as NBA fans want Lebron to win another MVP, it looks as though Joel Embid is well on his way to winning his first.
NBA Finals Matchup
This is an interesting one to think about as a handful of teams are currently playing at a championship level, but do we really think Lebron is going to let anyone from the West have a chance at winning it this year?
Los Angeles Lakers: It would be too easy to pick Lebron and the Lakers to make it to the finals and beat the lucky team that decides to give it their best shot out of the East. While the Lakers are currently third in the West, it is hard to imagine an NBA Finals without Lebron James in it, especially when he is playing at an MVP level. But, just for fun let's have a look at a few other teams from the West that just might have a shot at getting past Lebron’s Lakers.
Utah Jazz: Currently first in the West coming out of the All Star break, the Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert led Jazz squad are currently running through teams with ease. The Jazz, at the moment, currently look like Final’s contenders without a doubt. They even beat the defending champion Lakers by a solid 25 points leaving no doubt they are the top team in the West at the moment. But, we usually know how that narrative goes when you have Lebron in your conference, so I won’t get into that too much.
Los Angeles Clippers: The Clippers are the other team who have the best chance at giving the Lakers a run for their money. Favored by a handful of analysts to beat the Lakers last year before blowing a 3-1 lead to the Nuggets in the bubble, the Clippers will be looking to redeem themselves in this year's playoffs. With Kawhi Leonard and Paul George leading the team, they currently hold the fourth seed in the West and will be looking to make a push once the All Star break comes to an end.
Brooklyn Nets: With James Harden, Kevin Durant, and Kyrie Iriving leading your team, it is hard not to pick the Brooklyn Nets as favorites coming out of the East. With all three of them currently averaging over 25 Points Per Game, their offense has had the highest offensive rating in NBA history to start the season. But, on the other side of the ball their defense has lacked the ability to actually stop the other team, giving them the worst defensive rating in NBA history to start the season. Will the Nets offense be enough to get them to the mountain top or will their defense let them down?
Philadelphia 76ers and Milawaukke Bucks: These are the only other two teams that have a chance of getting past the Nets and making it out the East. And while former MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo and current MVP frontrunner Joel Embid are trying to make a strong case to be Eastern Conference favorites, I just don’t see them being able to take their team past one of the best scoring trio's in Brooklyn.
Rookie of the Year
Lamelo Ball: Ball is currently the overwhelming favorite to win this year's Rookie of the Year and there is nothing that is going to slow him down. The 19 year old is currently averaging 15.8 PPG, 6.0 RPG, and 6.3 APG. He has taken on the NBA by storm with his dazzling passes and ability to score from anywhere on the court. He is surpassing expectations and is well on his way to becoming a house old name.
A senior ready to step-up and fill the shoes of the ones before him.
By Mark Molz
A senior from Simi Valley, CA, Nick Lapinid is the starting goalie for a top tier Saint Mary’s squad.
Before his collegiate career, Lapinid was the starting goalie for Royal High School and played club soccer for the LA Galaxy Conejo Valley. Coming out of high-school, Lapinid was a late commit, receiving offers from SMC and from a Division II in Fresno Pacfiic University.
When asked why he ultimately chose Saint Mary’s, Lapinid stated, “there was more opportunity, I liked the area more than Fresno, and I wanted a good academic school.”
Since arriving in the fall of 2017, Lapinid has been patiently waiting for his opportunity to make his mark on the field. He took a redshirt year in his first season with the Gaels, and in both his sophomore and junior year he learned from then Saint Mary’s starting goalkeeper Remi Prieur, a goalie now in the minor league system of Major League Soccer.
Lapinid would make his first appearance on the field in his junior campaign, where he played 40 minutes against Portland, making three saves en route to a 5-1 victory over the Pilots.
“Watching guys like Remi play and the way he controls the game definitely would help me during practice.” Lapinid continued, “it was something I tried to model my game after so when it was my turn I was ready to play.”
His goals when arriving at Saint Mary’s were simple, “I just wanted to play and have fun,” Lapinid stated.
He appreciated learning from Remi because of the experience he had and the willingness he had to help Nick learn and give him advice during certain situations when he got in the game.
When reflecting on his career at Saint Mary’s thus far his favorite memory is winning the WCC championship in back-to-back years and making it to the sweet 16 in 2018, where they lost in a penalty shoot-out to a strong Stanford side.
“It was a really cool experience, the whole stadium was packed, filled with students and fans,” Lapinid stated. “It was awesome because we haven’t made it that far since 2011 and to be a part of that team was special.”
Now in his senior year, he is ready to play and lead the team to another WCC title much like his predecessors before him did. And when asked about this team compared to the previous years he has been here, he thinks this squad is ready to compete at the same level.
“We lost a lot of our goal scorers from the previous years, but a lot of the freshmen are stepping up and playing really well right now.”
In his first full year as the starting goalie for Saint Mary’s he has led the team to a 2-0 start while posting two clean sheets, with a total of eight saves across both matches.
Outside of the pitch, Lapinid plans to graduate with a BA in Allied Health Science, with aspirations to be a coach or physical therapist one day.
For more information on Nick Lapinid and the mens’ soccer team follow the links below:
Saint Mary’s soccer player Mubarak Haruna shares his experiences moving to the U.S. from Nigeria, and being a part of the Saint Mary’s community as a transfer student athlete.
By Mark Molz
A lifelong resident of Nigeria, Mubarak Haruna is now a Gael striving towards his goals each and every day.
Haruna is a Junior forward for the Gaels soccer team, transfering from Merritt Community College in Oakland a few miles up the road from Saint Mary’s. During his two years at Merritt, Haruna was able to excel on the soccer field, which ultimately led him to one of the best programs in the country here at Saint Mary’s. In a total of 20 games for the Thunderbirds he was able to find the back of the net 12 times, while adding five assists to his resume. In his sophomore campaign, Haruna was named to First Team All-Conference.
Haruna graduated from Merritt with an AA in Mathematics and is now at Saint Mary’s continuing to study Mathematics along with a concentration in Computer Science. Haruna has only been in the States for a total of three years and since arriving a short time ago he said he has enjoyed the experience, and although he misses his home country he stated, “I am here for a purpose. To gather knowledge and help those in my community back home.”
Haruna chose Saint Mary’s because of the welcoming feeling the school generated from the start, the world class education, and great athletic programs. Among other choices such as Yale, UC Santa Barbara, Berkeley, and Irvine, to name a few, he was attracted to Saint Mary’s by the home and small feel environment of the school.
"SMC, unlike any other school in the world, provides a basis in many things,” Haruna said. “I see this university more than a citadel of higher learning but an institution where students can grow in all aspects of life, becoming individuals who want to make a real impact in their communities and enrich the lives of people in those communities and the world at large."
Haruna has very much enjoyed his time as a student athlete in his first year with the Gaels. Although soccer has been a lot more challenging moving from a Community College to a Division 1 he has loved the environment that Saint Mary’s has produced. Haruna has appreciated the work ethic of his teammates, the winning mentality the coaching staff possesses, and the willingness everyone around him has to help him reach his goals.
Although his first year as a Gael has been interrupted with COVID-19 he is thankful for the school and their precautions in order to keep everyone safe. The team has had to practice in pods and participate in non-contact training during the fall in order to ensure they would have a season, which already had been pushed back once to this Spring.
Along with being a Student-Athlete, Haruna is a member of the Black Student Union, Muslim Student Association, and is a student Advancement Ambassador here at Saint Mary’s. Haruna finds it extremely important to participate in organizations outside of his athletic focus. He has been able to build connections and interact with individuals outside of the team who share the same ideals and values he holds.
He enjoys being a member of the BSU and appreciates the thriving culture of the organization at Saint Mary’s.. He enjoys being a member of the Muslim Student Associaiton becasue it gives him the opportunity to interact with the small Muslim population on campus. And he is proud to be a student ambassador because it is a great experience that allows him to network and represent this amazing school to raise scholarship money for other students.
Although he has enjoyed his short time here, and has come more accustomed to the culture and diversity of the different places he has seen, he still misses his family, friends, food, and culture of his country. Being far away from home is a difficult task, especially given the time we are in, but Haruna knows it is all worth it in the end in order to raise another WCC trophy like the team has in the past.
Special thanks to Mubarak Haruna for his participation in this article. To learn more about Haruna and the Saint Mary’s mens’ soccer team follow the link below: