AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORECoach Doc Rivers a “fan” from way back of Jazz’s Jordan Clarkson No. 3 Pepperdine, which didn’t compete at UCSB, returns All-America middle blocker Andy Hein and national Freshman of the Year Jonathan Winder from last year’s NCAA titlists. Fifth-ranked Cal State Northridge, which finished third in Goleta, is led by two-time All-America middle blocker Brian Waite (Canyon High of Canyon Country), outside hitter Cary Hanson (Moorpark High) and opposite Dan Rhodes. The Matadors are seeking their fourth successive winning season. USC’s young team, with three-year starter Joao Grangeiro and freshman C.J. Schellenberg – the 2005 national Player of the Year at Loyola High of Los Angeles – seeks to end a run of four 11th-place finishes in the 12-team Mountain Pacific Sports Federation. No. 2 has too much: Third-ranked UCLA started its women’s gymnastics season with a victory in the six-team Aloha Gymfest in Hawaii, but the Bruins fell in Saturday’s showdown with No. 2 Utah at Pauley Pavilion. The Utes, who trailed after each of the first three rotations, rallied at the end for a 194.875-193.850 triumph. UCLA’s Kate Richardson won the all-around (39.275) and on the vault (9.9), bars (9.95) and beam (9.95). She won the all-around, vault and floor titles in Hawaii. The Bruins hope to build on a productive fall. “We spent 17 days traveling in Italy this fall,” said Al Scates, who has won 1,109 matches in 43 seasons as UCLA coach, “and the team came together quite well.” UCLA seeks its record 19th NCAA title and Pepperdine looks for back-to-back crowns as the college men’s volleyball season began in earnest last weekend. The second-ranked Bruins, led by quick hitter Nick Scheftic and outside hitter Paul George (Chatsworth High), reached the final of UC Santa Barbara’s 42nd Elephant Bar Invitational, falling to top-ranked Long Beach State in four games. Going pro: Cal State Northridge forward Willie Sims and UCLA defender Marvell Wynne will forgo their junior men’s soccer seasons to play this year in Major League Soccer. Both have signed “Generation adidas” contracts – given to top underclassmen – and will participate in this weekend’s MLS Combine at Home Depot Center in Carson. Wynne, who had several European suitors, is considered the likely No. 1 selection in the Jan. 20 MLS SuperDraft. Chivas USA possesses the top pick. Awards: Three-time Pepperdine All-American Michael Putnam received the Byron Nelson Award, annually given to the nation’s top graduating student-golfer. Scott French, (818) 713-3627 [email protected] 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!