It was a year of championships and close calls, of near disasters and redemption found in moments large and small. The men’s basketball team’s historic run to the NCAA Tournament out-shadowed a disappointing start to Jerry Glanville’s tenure as football head coach, and the golf team won its fourth Big Sky title despite a midseason coaching change. Here are 10 standout moments from the 2007-08 year in Portland State sports that have made indelible marks in our memories.
It was a year of championships and close calls, of near disasters and redemption found in moments large and small. The men’s basketball team’s historic run to the NCAA Tournament out-shadowed a disappointing start to Jerry Glanville’s tenure as football head coach, and the golf team won its fourth Big Sky title despite a midseason coaching change.
Here are 10 standout moments from the 2007-08 year in Portland State sports that have made indelible marks in our memories.
Fans rush the courtWhen the final buzzer sounded on Portland State’s 67-51 Big Sky Conference Championship clinching victory over Northern Arizona, Vikings fans knew exactly what to do.
They rushed the court–hundreds of them–forming a joyous mass of humanity at center court, reveling in the sheer pleasure of being the best and the knowledge of what that one win meant.
The victory punched the Vikings’ ticket to the NCAA Tournament, their first ever appearance since joining the Big Sky in 1996. It also alleviated the pain Vikings fans felt from 2005 when Portland State hosted the Big Sky Tournament and was ousted by Weber State in the first round.
Dancing in MarchWatching Selection Sunday at the downtown Buffalo Wildwings with a gaggle of fans and boosters, the Vikings learned their fate. Their run in the Big Sky Conference earned the squad a No. 16 seed pitted against No. 1 seed Kansas in the Midwest Regional in Omaha, Neb.
That the Vikings lost 85-61 hardly matters–the team was closer to the center of the college basketball universe than it had ever come before. Kansas meanwhile, would go on to win the national championship.Vikings fans, boosters and PSU administrators all made the trip to Omaha, providing some friendly faces in hostile territory. Sophomore Kyle Coston summed up the Vikings’ first trip to the NCAA Tournament perfectly: “It was a surreal, out-of-body experience. And a good one at that.”
Teri Mariani retiresPortland State said goodbye to one of its true legendary figures in May, as Teri Mariani retired after 32 years as head softball coach and administrator.
Mariani came to the university in 1970 and was a multi-sport athlete, playing softball, basketball and volleyball. In 1976, she graduated and immediately took over as head softball coach, a position she held for 29 years before retiring in 2005.
Scandal in MexicoCenter Scott Morrison and point guard Jeremiah Dominguez were vacationing in Cabo San Lucas with a group of PSU students when they were arrested for their involvement in an altercation with a student from Michigan, Kyle Meagher.
Morrison, the Big Sky Defensive MVP, allegedly punched Meagher in the face, breaking his jaw. Morrison and Dominguez were arrested March 30 by Mexican police and detained until April 1, when they were released from jail.
Amid the chaos, the athletic department suspended both players, but lifted the suspensions once it became clear that the evidence against them was inconclusive. Morrison, a senior, is attempting to continue his basketball career and is looking at playing internationally next season. Dominguez, the Big Sky MVP, will return to the team for his senior season.
Volleyball dominatesThe volleyball team had its best season since joining Division I competition in 1996, going 21-8 and winning a Big Sky regular-season title. The team ran its home winning streak to 23 games, and also secured the right to host next year’s Big Sky Tournament.
They fell to Sacramento State 3-0 in the conference tournament championship match, but are in excellent position to make another strong push next year. The Vikings graduate just one player, middle blocker Michelle Segun, and return numerous offensive stars including setter Dominique Fradella and outside hitter Marija Vojnovic.
Women’s golf wins fourth titleEven a midseason coaching change couldn’t stop the women’s golf team from winning their fourth Big Sky Championship in six years. First-year head coach Kathleen Takaishi guided her team to the victory and a 20th place finish in the NCAA West Regional Tournament.
Weber State 73, Portland State 68It looked like a score from a basketball game, but it wasn’t. Instead, it was the highest scoring football game in NCAA history–a 73-68 home loss to Weber State that will forever live in infamy.
Freshman quarterback Drew Hubel threw a PSU-record nine touchdowns and 485 yards. Senior wide receivers Tremayne Kirkland and David Lewis both caught four touchdowns, and the two teams combined for 1,189 total yards gained.
Women’s basketball wins 22 gamesThe women’s basketball team had a surprising resurgence under first-year head coach Sherri Murrell, going 22-9 and making it to the Big Sky Tournament semifinal game.
Sophomore point guard Claire Faucher had a stellar year that included consecutive triple-doubles and 27 points, six rebounds and seven assists in her final outing against Montana, a tough 94-80 loss.
Softball team wins 30 gamesThe softball team won 30 games for just the second time in Division I play and came within a game of making the NCAA Tournament. Senior Mandy Hill ended her career as the school leader in home runs (31), RBIs (137) and pitching wins (67).
Tennis returnsThe tennis program made its return this year. The women’s team was composed of all freshmen, but they still managed to go 6-17, including 2-6 in the Big Sky. The men’s team went 5-19, including just 1-7 in the Big Sky. All 13 members of the team could return next year, providing the program with a base to build from.