I headed off to San Rafael yesterday, to take in the Dominican game against Westminster College of Utah. I wanted to watch Brian Raaka, who had developed into a very nice player at Miramonte and is now plying his trade as an LSM for Dominican University, the rapidly improving NCAA DII team in our backyard. I liked what I saw – of both the Penguins and Brian!
First, a little background on Westminster. The Griffins are a highly ranked MCLA DII team (6th in the current poll) , which made a swing through NorCal, playing St, Mary's of Moraga, another highly-ranked MCLA DII team (11th in the current poll) and then Dominican. The Griffins handled St. Mary's 10-3 and then headed up to Marin to take on a rapidly improving Dominican team. The Griffins have ambitions to go NCAA DII and this game would give them a feel for changes in competitive level between MCLA DII and NCAA DII. Was there a difference? Um, yes! The Penguins scored early and often, prevailing by a score of 11-3. Still, the Griffins are an enthusiastic squad who have high expectations for themselves. Personally, I'd like to see them move into NCAA DII.
The Penguins were bigger, faster, and more skilled than their opponents today and it showed in the score. I saw some nice players from issaquah, Washington, a nice LSM from Novato, former EBAL standouts, and other solid players, including Brian Raaka, whom I had the pleasure of coaching... long, long, ago.
Dominican's field is a little jewel box, set in a glade with an amazing view of Mt. Tam. The Penguins are under construction with a new field, adjacent to the existing field. I hope it can maintain the intimacy of the existing facility, which is near magical.
The Penguins coaching staff is excellent. Really, it is surprisingly good, and you can read about the staff at:
Finally, on to Brian, the reason I attended. He looked good and looks like he'll get better. I had him with a CT and 2GBs, though the Box Score disagrees with me. I've never let the Box Score intimidate me, since it often does not get validated with film review. So, here's a picture of Brian, armored up
I enjoyed the whole experience at Dominican – team, parents, and ambience. Go Penguins!