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Sports: A Noozhawk Partnership with Santa Barbara Athletic Round Table, The Lab, and American Riviera Bank
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Athletic Round Table Luncheon: Santa Barbara Water Polo Refused to Lose in CIF Quarterfinals

Angus Goodner Click to view larger
Angus Goodner is presented the Scholar Athlete of the Year Award for Dos Pueblos by award sponsor Marc Gamberdeall (Barry Punzal / Noozhawk photo)

Santa Barbara High’s boys water polo coach Mark Walsh felt his team was on the verge of having its season come to an end in the CIF Division 3 quarterfinals at Costa Mesa.

With his goalie looking straight into the sun, his big center leaving the game with a possible broken nose and the team’s leading scorer in foul trouble, the Dons fell behind 5-2.

“I said, ‘OK, this is going to be a long game,’” Walsh told the audience at Monday’s Santa Barbara Athletic Round Table press luncheon. “We went out there with our runts and scored three goals in a row after good defense and counterattacks. We had a freshman score two goals and that got us up by two.”

At halftime, a Dons' parent who is a doctor examined center Julian Bacon and determined his nose wasn’t broke and he could return to play in the second half, Walsh said.

But in the third period the team lost leading scorer Chase Raisin for the rest of the game with his third ejection.

Santa Barbara’s was still ahead by one, but Walsh felt, “We were right on the border of it all falling apart.”

Fortunately for the Dons, freshman goalie Wyatt Pieretti — the Athlete of the Week made stops on a pair of Costa Mesa power plays and stopped a one-on-none opportunity in the fourth period to seal a 9-8 victory and put them in Wednesday’s semifinals.

“It felt like we were losing that game, but we were up by one,” Walsh said. “We held on for dear life. The guys were great.

“I don’t think we would have won that game two months ago. We’ve really come a long way.  To be without Julian for a lot of that game, Dylan (Fogg) and Chase, the young guys did a really great job.”

Santa Barbara plays Los Osos at 3:30 p.m. at the Woollett Aquatics Center in Irvine.

Walsh praised junior goalie Hunter Brownell for being a great teammate and being supportive of Pieretti, who has gone the distance in the last two playoff games.

“He’s handled the situation great. He’s been a great leader, and he’s still preparing himself. He’s really been a champ,” said Walsh.

UCSB women’s volleyball assistant Matt Jones said the Gauchos have a shot at getting in the National Invitational Volleyball Championship, women volleyball’s equivalent to the NIT for basketball.

“We kind of control our own destiny,” he said. “If we can win our last four matches, we take third in conference and we’re pretty close to being guaranteed a spot. If we go 3-1 or 2-2, we’re flipping a coin at that point.

“We’re going to try to get to the postseason in first time in five years.”

The Gauchos play at UC Irvine and UC Davis this week and finish the regular season next week with home matches against Cal State Fullerton and UC Riverside.

Westmont volleyball has reshaped itself after the injury to All American middle blocker Libby Dahlberg and enters this weekend's GSAC Tournament on a 13-match in streak.

Westmont basketball coaches Kirsten Moore and John Moore made their luncheon season debuts on Monday.

Kirsten Moore, the women's coach, said she has “a very new team. Sixty percent are freshman and three of them are starting. We’ve been teaching them how to compete at the college level and compete at a level where we strive for excellence in everything we do on a daily basis.”

The Warriors played well in exhibition game losses at Cal and UCLA.

“My girls played fearless. They just went for it,” she said. “It’s as well as we played those Pac-12 schools back to back.”

The Warriors play home games this week on Tuesday, Friday and Saturday at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday’s game is against Cal Lutheran.

“You want to get a feel for how our team is going to be, this is the week to do it because we hit the road for the rest of the month,” said Moore.

After beating Portland Bible in its opener, John Moore’s men's team played at Portland University of the tough West Coast Conference in an exhibition game and gave the Pilots a good game.

“We had a great deal of fight, pulled to within 10 in the second half and lost by 14 against a very good opponent that will do well in the WCC,” John Moore said.

The Warriors play at home Tuesday at 7:30 p.m., against Bethesda.

John Moore is excited to see Olisa Nwachie perform in his senior year.

“In the last two years I’ve never seen a guy grow in the way he’s grown in the course of his career,” Moore said. “I’m proud of him. I can’t wait to see how he leads this team for the rest of the year.”

Here’s a recap of what the coaches said about the athletes they brought to the luncheon:

UCSB Women's Volleyball

Assistant coach Matt Jones on senior libero Emilia Petrachi: “She currently leads the Big West in digs per set and she is currently the all-time dig leader at UCSB. We’ve talked about her a lot over the years, but she’s never been here. We figured it was time to get her face in front of everyone.

“Emi is a stud, she’s one of our captains.”

SBCC Football

SBCC football coach Craig Moropoulos on offensive linemen freshman Sage Sobrado and sophomore Isaiah Brown: At SBCC, we make it cool to be an offensive lineman, because they don’t get their names in the paper, they don’t get all the accolades when guys score a touchdown.

“One thing we don’t do after a touchdown is we don’t point to the crowd, we don’t pound our chest. We go find the first big guy and hug him, because they’re why they got to the end zone.”

Brown and Sobrado played key roles in SBCC’s 41-0 win over Santa Monica.

Luncheon Note

The Round Table will take the next two Mondays off for Veterans Day and Thanksgiving week.

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