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Thursday, March 21 , 2019, 3:05 am | A Few Clouds 47º

 
 
 
 
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Santa Barbara Athletic Round Table

League Records Are What Really Matter to Prep Volleyball Coaches

SBHS, San Marcos, Dos Pueblos coaches talk about the big week of crosstown matches at Athletic Round Table press luncheon

Dos Pueblos girls volleyball coach Dillan Bennett is joined by his senior captains Danica Minnich, left, and Jackie Holmes. Click to view larger
Dos Pueblos girls volleyball coach Dillan Bennett is joined by his senior captains Danica Minnich, left, and Jackie Holmes. (Barry Punzal / Noozhawk photo)

A few prep volleyball coaches didn’t want to reveal their teams' overall records at Monday’s Santa Barbara Athletic Round Table press luncheon.

“You’re only as good as your last match and we started league 1-0,” said Santa Barbara High girls said coach John Gannon, whose team opened Channel League play with a sweep at Buena.  “The girls told me not to say our overall record, which were not too concerned about.”

San Marcos co-coach Tina Brown and Bishop Diego’s John Sener took similar approaches.

“I’m going to follow your lead and not share our record either,” said Brown, referring to Gannon. “We’re always good as our last match.”

The Royals’ last outing was a third-place finish at the two-day Camarillo Tournament.

“I’ll talk about our record ... we’re 1-1 in league,” said Bishop’s Sener with a big grin. The Cardinals played in the Camarillo Tournament as well and earlier participated in the upper division of the Laguna Blanca Tournament.

“I stacked our offseason schedule to get the girls ready for our league,” said Sener.

Laguna Blanca’s Jason Donnelly said he didn’t know his team’s overall record before quickly adding: “I do know we suffered our first loss on Saturday against Oaks Christian.”

Meanwhile, Westmont women’s coach Patti Cook was more than happy to share her team’s record.

“I am going to talk about our record because it’s really good right now — we’re 15-0.”

It’s the best start in program history. The Warriors are No. 3 in the NAIA, which is their highest-ever ranking.

“Needless to say, we are on fire. Loving it,” gushed Cook.

This is a big week for prep volleyball. In the Channel League, San Marcos visits Santa Barbara on Tuesday, and Dos Pueblos plays the Dons at J.R. Richards Gym on Thursday.

Also, Bishop Diego hosts rival Carpinteria on Tuesday.

“This is why I coach,” said Gannon of the rivalry matches. “I get to go against Tina and Dwayne (Hauschild) again. We’ve been going head to head since back in their DP days. This is my 11th year (at Santa Barbara). You guys have been at DP or San Marcos. It’s going to be really fun.”

“It’s always a great game and a great rivalry,” said Brown. “We’re ready.”

Outside hitter Jenna MacFarlane and libero Delaney Werner have led the way for San Marcos.

“Jenna MacFarlane, she does about everything we can ask from this kid,” said Brown. “She’s a great leader, a great workhorse. Delaney Werner is so fun to watch. We expect big things from both of these girls.”

Gannon said Liana Tacconelli is a wonderful leader and Megan Seabury is doing a great job as the Dons’ libero.

Santa Barbara girls volleyball coach John Gannon brought Liana Tacconelli, left, and Megan Seabury to the Monday press luncheon. Click to view larger
Santa Barbara girls volleyball coach John Gannon brought Liana Tacconelli, left, and Megan Seabury to the Monday press luncheon. (Barry Punzal / Noozhawk photo)

Dos Pueblos: Second-year coach Dillan Bennett was glad to talk about his overall record (10-6). He said it’s “already 3-4 more wins than we had last year." He credited the improvement to the play of senior standouts and captains Danica Minnich and Jackie Holmes.

Minnich was moved from the middle to outside hitter and has “thrived ever since,” said Bennett. “I wanted my best athlete to touch the ball as many times as possible during a rally.”

On Holmes: “She’s learning how to run the offense the way I like to see it and it’s showing in our results.”

The Chargers play at undefeated Ventura on Tuesday before taking on Santa Barbara.

Bishop Diego: Sener said his girls “played their hearts out against superior talent at the Camarillo Tournament. “They kept playing and playing hard.”

He said Evie Coronado’s drive to get better and sophomore Talia Medel’s knowledge of the game have made a difference on the team.

Laguna Blanca: Despite the loss against Oaks Christian, Donnelly liked how his team went down swinging. The Owls hit into a 6-foot-3 blocker at 13-13 and lost the 15-point third set 16-14.

“I much rather have a team go down swinging than tipping that ball or be scared of making a mistake,” Donnelly said. “Credit to our kids. We’ve been playing pretty well but we got a lot to learn.”

Donnelly said Laurel Kujan, a hybrid middle blocker, “is one of the best athletes I’ve coached in a long time.” She’s committed to USC for beach volleyball.

The coach said outside hitter Caylin Zimmerman is a six-rotation player that “does so many things well and we’ve given her more responsibility this year. She’s getting stronger, she’s taking big swings for us.”

The Owls host Viewpoint on Thursday.

Carpinteria: Gabi Rigonati and Monique Sanchez lead a 3-0 Warriors team into Bishop Diego on Tuesday for a crosstown match.

COLLEGE VOLLEYBALL

SBCC Women: SBCC is 9-1 after knocking off No. 2-ranked Grossmont. Assistant coach Lisa Gera said the Vaqueros hit .333 in the match. The team has been led by pin hitters Carolyn Andrulis, of Las Vegas, Shanon Friend, of Sonora and Kaylene Ureno, of Turlock.

UCSB Women: The Gauchos (9-4) open Big West play on Friday at home against 15th-ranked Hawai’i.There will be a Meet the Team activity after the match at the Thunderdome.

Phoebe Grunt is hitting an impressive .410, one of the highest hitting percentages in the country, said assistant coach Chad Gatzlaff. Redshirt freshman Lindsay Ruddins has been a force during the nonconference season. She’s been honored as Big West Freshman of the Week for three straight weeks.

COLLEGE SOCCER

UCSB Men: Assistant coach Jeremy Clark said the players have recovered from the disappointment of last Saturday’s heart-breaking 2-1 overtime loss against UCLA.

“We had a tough weekend, a tough loss against UCLA,” Clark said. “A couple of controversial calls and things didn’t go our way, but the guys are good and looking forward to this week with the students being on campus.”

The Gauchos play Loyola Marymount on Wednesday night and Cal on Saturday at Harder Stadium.

UCSB women: Associate head coach Austin Risenhoover introduced three members of the defense that have helped the Gauchos post seven shutouts: goalie Brittney Rogers, center back Katie Shoemaker and midfielder Chace Schorenstein.

"In our style of play, we're able to do it through Britt and Kate," Risenhoover said. "And Chace and Kate are two of those kids who do things that don't show up on the stat sheet, but we can't do what we've been doing without them."

UCSB is 8-1, the program’s best start since 1989.

Westmont men: Coach Dave Wolf said his team has been up and down during the preseason. “We’re promising but a little unsettled.”

After testing different combinations during five non-league matches, “I feel right now we’re on the edge of our experimentation allotment,” Wolf said. “I hope in the next couple of days we’ll get settled on this team.”

The Warriors (3-2-0) open GSAC play Tuesday at Hope International, which is 5-0-2 and outscoring its opponents 19-1.

COLLEGE WATER POLO

UCSB Men: Wolf Wigo’s team is 5-1 and ranked sixth in the country. The Gauchos play this weekend at the Nor Cal Invitational and open against Princeton.

The water polo program held the Nick Johnson Memorial Golf Tournament on Sunday and Wigo said there was a huge turnout. “The enthusiasm was really high and everyone was highly motivated to remember Nick’s legacy.”

Johnson played water polo for Santa Barbara High and was a member of the UCSB team when he tragically died two years ago while doing a swim workout.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL

SBCC: Coach Craig Moropoulos wanted to give credit where credit was due after his running back Perry Martin tied a school record with four rushing touchdowns and the team rushed for more than 300 yards in a 51-0 win over L.A. Soutwest last Saturday.

“In our program, as long as I’m the coach, the guys that get the recognition are the guys up front,” Moropoulos said before introducing offensive linemen Isaac McClain and Bilal Sharmoug.

The linemen transferred from University of Mary in Bismark, N.D.

“These are smart guys. They both got the bright idea to transfer to Santa Barbara,” cracked Moropoulos.

PREP WATER POLO

San Marcos: Senior Jesse Morrison is the leading goal scorer for the Royals. “He’s been a real juggernaut offensively all season, but he does a lot of other things too,” coach Jeff Ashton said.

Ashton said senior Koss Klobucher stepped up in a win over Corona-Santiago. “He filled some big shoes and did a good job. He has learned a lot of different roles.”

The Royals host Righetti on Thursday.

Dos Pueblos: “Our group is young and developing together and we have great team spirit and a good attitude, and they are super eager to learn,” coach Connor Levoff said of the Chargers.

Luke Plant is involved in several school activities and really grinds in the pool, Levoff said. “He’ll tell you he’s in the best shape of his life and is probably playing the best water polo of his life, and we need it. He plays a massive role for us in and out of the water.”

Levoff said freshman Ethan Parrish is making an impact in the pool and showing leadership. “He’s only a freshman playing super heavy varsity minutes. I’m really excited for his future.”

The Chargers open the South Coast Tournament in Orange County against a tough Santa Margarita team on Thursday.

Santa Barbara: John Gannon, speaking for coach Mark Walsh, recalled Nick Johnson.

“I had Nick as student,” he said. “He was the epitome of what a good student is and what we talk about in being a Don. To hear talk about Nick brings back a lot of good memories of him in my classroom. He was a great kid.”

Gannon introduced junior players Jacob Castillo and Evan Blix.

The Dons (4-2) play at the South Coast Tournament.

Carpinteria: Coach Matt Organista said the Warriors have overcome adversity and are playing well. They reached the final of the Los Altos Tournament and lost 8-6 to Chadwick. He introduced key players Sal Briceno and Forrest Van Stein.

FOOTBALL

Marcellous Gossett of Dos Pueblos was named the male Athlete of the Week. Click to view larger
Marcellous Gossett of Dos Pueblos was named the male Athlete of the Week.

Dos Pueblos: Nate Mendoza gave a shout out to his offensive line for not allowing a sack in the 23-14 win over defending CIF champion Camarillo.

Mendoza introduced defensive end Marcellous Gossett, the Athlete of the Week, middle linebacker Isaac Lopez and free safety Michael Elbert. He said Lopez is the team’s leading tackler and “continues to be a warrior in the middle.

On Elbert: “He quarterbacks our defense, which is a tough task as a junior. But he has done well.”

Gossett had a monster defensive game against the Scorpions with four sacks, four quarterback hurries and nine tackles.

The Chargers play San Luis Obispo on Friday. At halftime, they’ll honor the 2001 team that played in the CIF Finals against San Luis Obispo.

Laguna Blanca: Assistant coach Matt Escobar said Miles McGovern has been a physical force on both sides of the ball.

Kelvin Chen is in his third year in the U.S. and his third year of playing football. “He has stepped out of his comfort zone and is taking things straight on,” said Escobar.

The Owls play host to Fulton Prep in an 8-man game on Friday at 3:30 p.m.

Bishop Diego: Assistant coach Steve Robles said the Cardinals have some critical areas to work on after the 21-17 loss against St. Joseph.

The Cardinals face a Santa Fe Christian team that returns 19 starters and has a running back that’s 6-5, 230. “On film, he’s the real thing,” said Robles.

Robles said junior outside linebacker/tight end Will Goodwin has good football sense and is a solid player. He’s a three-sport athlete.

Senior fullback/special teams player David Barrios, Jr., knows his position on the team, Robles said. “He’s a generational player. I coached his dad and his two uncles.”

San Marcos: Coach Jason Fowle saw bright spots in the loss at Hueneme last Friday. “We played well for a half,” he said. “We created five turnovers, returned a kick for a touchdown and recovered an onsides kick.”

He said juniors Mason Zimmerman and Luis Mesino made big plays in the game.

Fowle said the team must look forward.

“The focus is on Channel Islands, establishing some consistency and put two halves of football together.”

Santa Barbara: The film of Friday’s loss at Lompoc “was probably the best thing to happen to this football program, just because we were able to see the mistakes we made,” said Dons coach JT Stone.

Santa Barbara continues to deal with injuries. The Dons lost a linebacker and a right tackle in the Lompoc game.

On the bright side, the Dons play their first game at Peabody Stadium on Friday, hosting Royal.

“Our hopes are high,” Stone said. “We are excited for the challenge and excited to be home.”

Carpinteria: Coach Ben Hallock said senior kicker Brian Garcia showed nerves of steel and great concentration after converting a game-winning field goal late in the fourth quarter of the Warriors’ 10-7 victory over Nordhoff.  Garcia, a soccer player, is playing football for the first time.

Hallock lauded the work and leadership of two-way starters Lalo Lozano and Alex Martinez.

The Warriors are home again on Friday against Oak Park.

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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