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Athletic Round Table: Channel League Volleyball Play Heating Up

Bishop Diego assistant coach Steve Robles (center), Ashton Borgeson (left) and Xavier Carroll are on the verge of a 7-0 start to the year with an upcoming date against winless Fillmore this Friday. Click to view larger
Bishop Diego assistant coach Steve Robles (center), Ashton Borgeson (left) and Xavier Carroll are on the verge of a 7-0 start to the year with an upcoming date against winless Fillmore this Friday. (Christian Eckert/ Noozhawk Photo)

The competition is heating up among local Channel League girls volleyball teams as rivalry season begins.

Santa Barbara High took down rival San Marcos last Thursday in a five-set, upset victory,  and Dons coach Chad Arneson explained on Monday at the Santa Barbara Athletic Round Table at Harry's Plaza Cafe that Reesc Kelley served six straight points for the Dons, who eventually won the first set 29-27 and the match 3-2. 

"She hits harder than some of the boys on my boys team," claimed Arneson of Kelley.

Arneson also brought senior libero Brenna Hodosy and middle blocker Georgia Brace.

Santa Barbara travels to Dos Pueblos on Tuesday and hosts Ventura on Thursday in two key league matchups.

San Marcos

"We experienced the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat this week," explained San Marcos head coach Tina Brown.

The Royals were down two sets to Ventura and came back to win in five in a thriller, then were on the other side just two days later as Santa Barbara edged the team in the fifth set.

Brown brought Ellie Gamberdella and Taylor Hantgin, both of whom she praised as being workhorses.

The Royals take on Buena on Tuesday with a chance to move to 3-1 in league play.

Dos Pueblos

The Chargers went 3-3 at the Clovis Tournament to earn third place in the silver bracket.

Dos Pueblos sits at 0-3 in Channel League play after a tough road loss to Ventura, but has an upcoming battle with rival Santa Barbara on Tuesday.

"We just couldn't pull it out, unfortunately," said head coach Megan O'Carroll. "We decided that we can be motivated and inspired and ready for who we play this week."

O'Carroll brought athletes Danielle LaGrange and Grace Crozier, both of whom had big games in the loss to Ventura. LaGrange put up 18 kills and 12 blocks while Crozier notched 10 digs and 18 assists.​

Bishop Diego

Cardinals head coach John Sener feels that his team is well positioned in the Frontier League despite falling to first place Malibu 3-1.

Sener brought Makena Burgner, whom he praised for being a mature presence, and Jordan Falconer, who Sener claimed is tough and enthusiastic.

Bishop Diego takes on Thacher on Tuesday and is looking forward to a rematch with Malibu later in October.

Laguna Blanca

The Owls are preparing to take on some of Santa Barbara's bigger schools this week in a tough test that head coach Jason Donnelly looks forward to.

Donnelly praised the play of his team in a 2-1 victory over Cate.

"Our girls had no trouble getting up for a Cate game on Friday night, and it was nice to see them play so well," explained Donnelly.

Donnelly brought Maddie Walker and Julia Fay, and he was excited about Fay's ability to play almost every position for the Owls.



With Big West play beginning last week, the Gauchos (3-13, 2-2) have had an up-and-down start to the league season. UCSB won back-to-back 3-0 matches against UC Riverside and Cal State Fullerton at home, then lost 3-1 to Northridge and 3-0 to Long Beach State. 

"We need to get better on the road," claimed UCSB head coach Nicole Welch.

Chloe Allan and Charlie Robinson both put up strong individual performances in the loss to Long Beach State.

The Gauchos head to Hawaii this week to take on the Warriors on Friday.


The Warriors extended their winning streak to 20 straight after sweeping GSAC rival Vanguard in a sweep. Both teams entered the matchup undefeated in league play, so the Warriors took over sole possession of first place.

"We're still doing our job and getting the wins," explained Cook.

Star Libby Dahlberg was named GSAC Offensive Player of the Week and Cook credited the sets of Amy Buffham as key to Dahlberg's success.

Westmont takes on The Master's on Friday in a marquee matchup.


The Vaqueros are on a hot streak of their own after winning ten straight, including sweeps of LA Pearce and LA Mission to improve to 12-4, good for the No. 12 ranking in the state. 

Kaylene Ureno put up another solid week in a breakout year, and Carolyn Andrulis had a big game against Mission. 

SBCC is a remarkable 60-12 over the past three years and look to continue their winning at Victor Valley on Wednesday.



A tough first half doomed the Vaqueros against Desert. SBCC fell behind 16-0 at halftime but hung around, managing to pull within two on a fourth quarter touchdown run by Emmanuel Nwosu.

While the Vaqueros weren't able to pull off the comeback, coach Moropoulos praised the grittiness of his team.

"In one sense it was disappointing, in another it was encouraging because our guys fought back," reasoned Moropoulos.

SBCC has a bye this week before taking on rival Allen Hancock on October 14.


San Marcos

While the Royals fell to Nordhoff 35-13, head coach Jason Fowle focused on the positives. 

Running back Tommy Schaeffer put up 100 yards rushing to continue his strong season, and the electric Luis Mesino notched an interception and 99-yard kickoff return touchdown. 

"There's nothing we can do but keep working hard," said Fowle.

Fowle brought Dominick Duran and Mark Herrera, both of whom he praised for being tough and perseverant. Fowle noted that Herrera was the team's leading receiver and tackler on the night.

San Marcos (1-5) travels south to take on Buena in the opening game of Channel League play.

Santa Barbara

Head coach JT Stone was happy with the adjustments his defense made this week against Pacifica after relinquishing a late lead against Royal the week before. 

"The kids really turned it around and I was very happy with their defensive play."

Stone brought linebacker Sahid Pincheira and receiver/defensive back Johnnie Coleman II. He explained that Pincheira has been the anchor for the Dons defense, and praised the offensive prowess of Coleman.

"He makes plays," explained Stone. "On both sides of the ball."

Santa Barbara is 3-3 heading into league play and gets a bye before the Big Game against San Marcos on October 13.

Dos Pueblos

The Chargers saw another strong week with a 42-7 victory over Hueneme to improve to 5-1. Dos Pueblos is looking forward to their Channel League opener at home against a strong Ventura team on Friday. The Chargers have won five straight.

Along with quarterback and athlete of the week Jake Ramirez, Mendoza brought two of his lineman and described their influence in creating plays on offense and stopping them on defense. Erick Nisich and Nathan Beveridge anchor both the offensive and defensive line for the Chargers.

"For a big guy like that, going both ways, he doesn't get tired," Mendoza explained of Beveridge, who has two interceptions on the year and is a threat to the quarterback on every drop-back.

"We've shifted our minds to Ventura," said Mendoza. "We've had this game circled on our calendar since we created our goals back in February."

Bishop Diego

The 6-0 Cardinals continued their flaming start to the season with a 56-0 demolishing of rival Carpinteria in the annual "Little Big Game" on Friday. It was the second straight year the Cardinals won the matchup by that score.

Assistant coach Steve Robles brought senior athletes Xavier Carroll and Ashton Borgeson, both of whom have been big contributors for the Cardinals.

Robles praised Carroll's ability to recognize his mistakes and correct them quickly. He raved about the play of Borgeson, the team's middle linebacker. 

"He makes sure that we're in the right packages and does a fantastic job," lauded Robles. "He leads the team and division in tackles."

The Cardinals (No. 1 Division-6) travel south to take on winless Fillmore on Friday in what should be a lopsided matchup and likely result in a 7-0 start.


Head coach Rick Candaele was disappointed in his team's loss to Bishop Diego, but focused on the strongest performer of the week: punter Alberto "Tito" Arroyo. 

Arroyo booted some long punts and has been solid for the Warriors (2-3) all year. 

Despite suffering some big losses, Candaele is optimistic about league play, with the team's first game coming against Santa Paula this week.

Laguna Blanca

Assistant coach Anthony Ramirez brought center Aiden O'Donnell and tight end/linebacker Anton Homeniuk, both of whom he praised for playing motivated football in the second half of a big loss to Animo Robinson.

The Owls are looking forward to a date with "rival" Cate on Friday in what should be a tough matchup.



Coach Russell Smelley mentioned how young his women's team is, with the top six runners from last year all graduating. Despite their youth, Smelley emphasized the potential he sees.

Smelley claimed that his men's team has the potential to win the GSAC this year if they work hard. 

Michael Oldach was nominated for athlete of the week after winning the men's open division at the Master's Invitational.


Laguna Blanca

The Owls opened their season at the Ojai Invitational against tough competition, but performed well at Cate in the first Condor League meet.

Head coach David Silverander brought runners Kai Nakamora and Priscilla Abrego, whom he praised for their strong work ethic and dedication to the sport. Silverander noted that neither had missed a practice in his memory, and that both have improved significantly from last year.

"I think we have a really great chance at a league championship," explained Silverander.

The Owls travel north to take on Dunn in a league meet on Wednesday.


Dos Pueblos

Head coach Connor Levoff explained that the Chargers are off to a surprisingly strong start to the year, considering their relative youth. 

Levoff brought stars Sammy Arshadi and Ethan Parrish, both of whom are underclassmen (with Arshadi being a full-time starter as a freshman).

Parrish scored six goals in a 12-6 victory over rival Santa Barbara and Arshadi scored three goals in a 13-9 victory over Ventura to power the Chargers to a 2-0 start in Channel League play.

"We're 2-0 in Channel League and that is certainly nothing to snicker about in a league with this much parity," said Levoff. "We don't feel like our work is done by any stretch of the imagination."

Dos Pueblos travels south to take on Buena and look to remain undefeated in league play.

Santa Barbara

The Dons took down rival San Marcos last week and fell to Dos Pueblos in an up-and-down week that locked them into an early 1-1 league record. 

"We look forward to our rematches with both of them," explained head coach Mark Walsh.

Walsh brought Julian Bacon and Chase Raisin, who have both stepped up into bigger roles this year and focus on helping their teammates improve.

Santa Barbara has a busy week ahead, with a Channel League matchup at Ventura on Tuesday then weekend matchups against Servite, Royal, and Vista.



The Gauchos (8-5) played strong at the Mountain Pacific Invitational, going 3-1 including a strong 12-9 victory against No. 8 UC Davis and a close 12-9 loss to defending champions Cal-Berkeley. 

This week, the Gauchos host Pepperdine and USC.

UCSB starts league play of October 13.

— Noozhawk sports reporter Christian Eckert can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @NoozhawkSports and @noozhawk. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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