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Sports: A Noozhawk Partnership with Santa Barbara Athletic Round Table, The Lab, and American Riviera Bank
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Lacrosse Coaches Turn Out in Force at Round Table Press Luncheon

Santa Barbara boys golf coach, top players Click to view larger
The Santa Barbara boys golf team is unbeaten on the season. Coach James Ballantyne (center) has two outstanding players in Preston Gomersall (left) and Isaac Stone. (Barry Punzal / Noozhawk photo)

It was a record-setting day for high school lacrosse at Monday’s Santa Barbara Athletic Round Table press luncheon as five coaches were on hand to make presentations.

High school boys and girls lacrosse is in its fourth year of competition in the Santa Barbara public schools.

The San Marcos boys moved up from No. 15 to No. 13 in the latest poll MaxLaxLA coaches' poll.

“We’re having an incredible season,” assistant coach Ray Robitaille said. “We’ve won nine in a row.”

The Royals have 14 seniors on their roster.

“We were good last year, this year we’re very, very good,” Robitaille said.

Two reasons for the Royals’ success has been the play of a couple of juniors: Shea Rousseau and Ryan Lehman. Rousseau is the team’s face-off man while Lehman plays goalie. His saves average is an impressive 70 percentage.

San Marcos plays three games this week: the Royals are at Cate on Tuesday, host Corona del Mar on Thursday and Dos Pueblos on Friday.

In power rankings of lacrosse teams in Southern California, Robitaille noted San Marcos is ninth and Corona del Mar eighth,

He said the Corona del Mar game will be like a playoff game.

The Dos Pueblos game will be for the Channel League championship.

Dos Pueblos Girls

Coach Sam Limkeman’s squad is having a good year. The Chargers are 9-3 overall and 5-0 in league, and Limkeman said the team is heading to the postseason.

Goalie Emily Khetnaree is stopping 54 percent of the shots by opponents. On offense, Tara Van Hoorn is DP’s top scorer with 54 goals. 

The Chargers play Thacher and San Marcos this week before taking on Cate on Saturday in a battle of unbeaten teams in league.

Dos Pueblos Boys

Tri-captains Justin Juarez, Ethan Kahn and Max McCeney have led the Chargers to records of 6-2 overall and 2-1 in league.

Juarez beat out two seniors to become the team's starting goalie; Kahn is the team’s leading scorer and McCeney anchors the defense.

“He’s been the MVP since he stepped on the field, said coach Jeff Sears of McCeney, who also started for the basketball team.

The Chargers play at San Marcos on Friday in a game. They need to beat the Royals to share the league championship.

Santa Barbara Boys

Coach Andrew White said the program has grown from 15 to 50 players. 

He introduced two key players, junior attacking midfielder Lucas Owens and defensive midfielder Mike Chung, who is a newcomer but has quickly taken to the game.

“We’re starting to come together,” said White of the team’s recent play.

Santa Barbara Girls

Sophomore goalie Alyssa Gonzalez had moved up from the JV team and played well at the varsity level, said coach Elayne Blessing.

“She’s one of the most dedicated players I have. She comes ready and always excited to play,” said Blessing.

Ryan Kopeikin is a leader on and off the field for the Dons, said Blessing. She plays an attacker and midfielder. 

VOLLEYBALL

UCSB

Assistant coach Cullen Irons liked what he saw from the Gauchos in their split against No. 3-ranked UC Irvine last week. 

“The guys show some fight, which is what we’re looking for heading into the Big West playoffs,” he said.

The Gauchos are fifth seeded and face Cal State Northridge in the first round on Thursday night at Long Beach State. 

“It’s going to be a tough road, but crazier things have happened. That’s what we’re hoping to pull off here, said Irons.

Bishop Diego

The Cardinals (7-5, 5-1 in the Tri-Valley League) have 12 days to fit in eight matches before the CIF playoffs, said coach Dillan Bennett.

“We’re gong to do the best we can to get through those,” Bennett said. “Fatigue will probably be a factor.  Hopefully, we can take care of business and play that many matches before playoffs.”

Bennett said he feels fortunate that football standout John Harris decided to play volleyball in his senior year. He leads the team in kills.

“He could be out preparing for his career in football at Columbia, but he decided to stick it out and play another volleyball season under me, which is a testament to him.

"I’m thankful he decided to play this year,” said Bennett.

Santa Barbara High

The Dons went 1-1 during rivalry week, beating Dos Pueblos and getting swept by San Marcos.

“It was a wake-up call for us, including myself,” coach Chad Arneson said. “It was a good learning experience. Some times, losing is the best thing for a team.”

The Dons are 3-1 in league and tied with San Marcos and Dos  Pueblos for first place.

For the first time in his 15-year coaching  career at Santa Barbara, Arneson is starting two freshmen: Sam Meister at opposite hitter and Matt Suh at libero.

Meister is a potent hitter. He connected on 7 of 8 attempts against San Marcos. 

Suh has a very high volleyball IQ.

"We’re very fortunate to have these athletes,” said Arneson.

The Dons (13-7 overall) plays at Ventura on Tuesday and host the Karch Kiraly Tournament of Champions on Friday and Saturday. Corona del Mar is the No. 1 seed.

Santa Barbara faces Bellarmine Prep in its opener on Friday at 2:45 p.m.

BASEBALL

UCSB

Assistant coach Dylan Jones reported that shortstop Clay Fisher made his debut in the field last week after coming off Tommy John elbow surgery. He had been batting as a designated hitter.

“That’s a big step for him and good sign for us and our baseball team moving forward,” said Jones.

The Gauchos play at USC on Tuesday night.

Dos Pueblos

Coach George Hedricks said the competition between Caleb Severson and Charlie Cuykendall for the starting second base job made both players better and earned both of them spots in the starting lineup.

Severson is playing at second while Cuykendall is a DH and a spot starter on the mound. Cuykendall is battling .420.

Severson is batting .330. “His bat is catching up to his glove,” said Hedricks.

DP (14-2, 3-0) is on a 13-game winning streak and plays three games against Ventura this week.

SBCC

Jeff Walker said the Vaqueros’ game at Oxnard on Tuesday was postponed because a pipe burst under the Oxnard field and flooded it. They’ll make up the game on Monday.

The Vaqueros play Moorpark on Thursday at home in a battle for sole possession of first place in the Western State Conference North. The teams play in Moorpark on Saturday.

Walker introduced former Santa Barbara High star John Jensen, who has signed with UC Irvine. He also brought assistant coach Rich Vasquez, who played for legendary coach Skip Bertmann at LSU.

Bishop Diego

Coach Nick Katzenstein has been getting solid play from sophomores Daniel Gianinni and Jackson Haskell. Gianinni recovered from a concussion and has played at just about every position in the infield, including pitcher. Last week he went 3-7 and drove in five RBI in two games.

Haskell has performed well in left field and is batting .353.

“It’s promising to have two sophomores hitting and pitching for us,” Katzenstein said.

Senior Matthew Pate is playing stellar defense at shortstop, Katzenstein added.

Bishop is now 8-5 and 3-0 in league.

Santa Barbara

Jeremy Knight and Frankie Gamberdella came up big for the Dons last week in wins against Buena.

Knight was converted to a pitcher after coaches noticed his strong arm when he was catching for the JV team. 

“He’s started three games and they were solid starts against good competition,” said coach Donny Warrecker.

Knight will continue his career at Whitworth College in Spokane, WA., next year.

After playing football and basketball, Gamberdella got off to a slow start on the baseball team. 

Warrecker said the junior started to find his groove after the Anaheim Lions Tournament during spring break.

“He’s raised his average over 100 points,” Warrecker said. “He’s coming around. We look forward to him continuing his offensive prowess.”

The Dons host San Marcos on Tuesday.

TENNIS

Dos Pueblos 

Coach Liz Frech announced that singles player Vincent Villano and the doubles team of Christian and Ryan Hodosy will be play in the prestigious Ojai Invitational next weekend.

French introduced the “energetic and very compatible doubles team of sophomore Pratik Gupta and junior Alex Oaten.

“They’re good about mixing their shots and running all over the court to cover every single ball,” she said. “I appreciate their ability to let things roll off their back and stay upbeat.”

Gupta and Oaten are 20-7 on the season.

The Chargers play host to Ventura on Thursday and Stockdale on Friday.

GOLF

Santa Barbara

Senior Preston Gomersall and junior Isaac Stone have led the way for the undefeated Dons (7-0). 

“Gomersall has been our low scorer for the last two years,” coach James Ballantyne said. “he’s one of the most reliable players on the course. He is a great leader and had great course knowledge.”

He’s getting pushed by Stone, who was medalist in three matches last week. Stone is the current team lead with an average of 76 while Gomersall is at 77.

“Isaac is oner of the most successful player we’ve had in the last three years,” said Ballantyne.

The Dons are coming off their lowest team score of the season, a 10-over par 365 at Glen Annie Golf Course.

Dos Pueblos

The Chargers shot their season low against the Dons with a 392 at Glen Annie.

Coach Dave DeHeras said Joseph Pigatti has been the team’s most consistent player. Pighatti was visiting Hawaii Pacific University on Monday.

Bishop Diego

Team captain Matthew Pate is the low scorer in the league while teammate Adam Luckhurst is second. Both athletes are playing two sports in the spring. Pate plays shortstop on the baseball team and Luckhurst is the back-up setter and a defensive specialist for the volleyball team. 

SOFTBALL

San Marcos

Assistant coach and former Royals player Emily Dietz introduced Athlete of the Week Aliyah Huerta-Leipner and second baseman Sinai Miranda.

Huerta-Leipner had a monster game in a 21-4 win over Ventura, going 5 for 5 with three homers, a double and single. Dietz said she was bummed she didn't stop Huerta Leipner at third on one of the homers so she could have hit for the cycle.

On Miranda, Dietz said she's been a wall at second base when she's gotten the opportunity to play.

Noozhawk sports editor Barry Punzal can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk Sports on Twitter: @NoozhawkSports. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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