In his many years of coming to the Santa Barbara Athletic Round Table Press Luncheon during the fall season, SBCC football coach Craig Moropoulos always has positive things to say about his team, win or lose.
Even after a bad loss, he’d find something that went right and share it with those in attendance.
This season, there was little that went wrong for his Vaqueros. They won a school-record 10 straight games, a league championship and captured the program’s first post-season bowl game since 1991, a 44-23 victory over an 8-2 College of the Desert team in the Beach Bowl at La Play Stadium.
Moropoulos was still beaming on Monday when he took the podium to talk about the team and its magical 10-1 season.
He pointed to the photograph of his late father on the wall of the Ranchero Room at Harry’s Plaza Cafe, the legendary Mike Moropoulos.
“I knew he was watching down on us on Saturday, because he knew it meant a lot to me. And I know it meant a lot to him. I love you, Dad,” said Moropoulos in his opening remarks.
He talked about the fantastic atmosphere at the stadium and thanked Athletic Director LaDeane Hansten for helping create it. He also thanked former coach Bob Dinaberg for his great support and the local media for reporting on the team.
“It was special, that’s the best way I could describe it,” he said of the bowl win and the 10-1 season.
He introduced standout running back Brandon Smith, who rushed for 200 yards and three touchdowns in the bowl game and finished the season with 1,231 yards and a school-record 16 touchdowns.
“He’s one of the finest running backs I’ve ever coached,” said Moropoulos.
Smith was named the Beach Bowl MVP.
Moropoulos also brought Ben Boeddeker, a second-year linebacker out of Bishop Diego, who made an impact in the game.
“This young man is super high character and an outstanding player. He made some big plays on some of (Desert’s) screen passes on Saturday. I’m really excited to see what’s going to be next up for him.”
In closing, Moropoulos thanked the Round Table, saying, “Monday’s are always upbeat and positive for me.”
Hansten praised Moropoulos and the team for their tremendous season.
“Talk about a dream season,” she said. “Incredible guys, could not be happier. The entire season was flawless from beginning to end. For me as a new athletic director, I can’t thank you guys enough for the type of team you are, and Craig, for the type of coach you are. It’s just been an epic adventure for me watching you do what you do.”
Santa Barbara Boys Soccer
Senior defenders Andres Arroyo and Alan Sanchez look forward to the challenge of leading a young Dons squad this season.
“They’re up for the task,” coach Ricardo Alcaraz said of two of his four team captains.
Alcaraz said the season will be challenging as Channel League play starts a month earlier than usual and the league is stronger with the addition of the Oxnard and Ventura area schools.
Laguna Blanca Boys Soccer
Coach Ricardo Rodriguez said the Owls will be led by senior captains Frankie Baron and Aden Meisel.
Baron is the team’s top goal scorer and Meisel is a leader on the field.
Laguna Blanca Girls Soccer
Coach Jose Rodriguez is counting on the goal scoring and leadership of Alexandra Siegal and Jacqueline Richardson.
“We’re looking forward to getting a good amount goals this season,” said Rodriguez.
Carpinteria Boys and Girls Soccer
Ulises Segura and Edgar Mosqueda are the team leaders for the Carpinteria boys team.
The Warriors open their season this week with matches against Channel League teams Ventura and Dos Pueblos.
Girls assistant coach Lucy Carleton said seniors Shania Jimenez and Renata Martinez will be impact players for the Warriors “because of their steadiness play.”
Both girls are four-year players who have jobs, take AP classes and make it to practice every day.
“I can’t think of smarter, sweeter as well as skillful players,” said Carleton of the midfielders.
Dos Pueblos Girls Soccer
Marco Medina is so passionate about soccer he hasn’t missed watching a live World Cup game on television.
“Do you know what the numbers 2-5-8-11 mean?” he asked. “Those are the game times (in the a.m. hours) of the last eight days for World Cup soccer. I’ve watched every match.”
Medina introduced senior standouts Riley Roggero and Ava Frank. Roggero is a forward who will be transitioning to the center midfield, he said. Frank is the team’s target forward.
Both girls are standout students. Roggero is ASB vice president, carries a 4.8 GPA and is a member of the school’s engineering academy.
Frank is also in the engineering academy, has a 4.8 GPA and belongs to various clubs on campus.
“I’m excited to make their senior season (in soccer) a memorable one,” said Medina.