Playoff madness set to get going this week

The school year’s first wave of playoffs is upon us, and there are a lot of local teams who haven’t seen the postseason for awhile.

CIF-newcomer Providence Hall’s girls volleyball team is making its very first playoff appearance, while football squads from Dos Pueblos, Carpinteria, Bishop Diego and Laguna Blanca will be returning for the first time in a few years. Cate’s 8-man football squad is also in, with a No. 2 seed to give the Rams a possible shot at a CIF title.

Dos Pueblos secured a spot by beating San Marcos last week to secure its first city championship since 2006, which was also the last time the Chargers were in the postseason. First, however, DP has an opportunity to do something it hasn’t done since 1979, which is to win a Channel League title. The conference crown will be up for grabs on Thursday when DP takes on Ventura at Larrabee Stadium.

“I was eight years old last time we won. I’m approaching that 40-year mark myself, so it’s been a long time,” said coach Jeff Uyesaka at Monday’s Santa Barbara Athletic Round Table luncheon. He was accompanied by backup quarterback Ben Adams, star running back Josh Bartley, and two-way standout Aaron Thomas.

ROYAL RUNNERS: A lot of great things had gone down for the San Marcos girls cross country team since the last time coach Lawrence Stehmeier stood at the podium at Harry’s. The Royals won a county championship, their first since 2006, a couple of weeks ago and then sneaked into the postseason thanks to personal-best times by all seven girls last week at the league championships in Ventura.

Stehmeier had an interesting strategy for his runners at the County Championships that involved Dos Pueblos.

“Leading into it, it was gonna be between our girls team and their girls team. So I just put it out there to our girls — I don’t care what time you run, just if you see someone from Dos Pueblos go catch them,” said Stehmeier. “I’m just gonna keep that as a coaching strategy.”

Joining the coach were girls runners Rachel Faye and Jordan Jenkins as well as Grant Bradford and Jake Elliott from the boys team. CIF competition is coming up on Saturday at Mt. SAC.

VAQS WRAP UP: SBCC’s football season ended with a heartbreaker on Saturday, having what would have been a game-tying touchdown called back due to offensive pass interference in a 27-21 loss to visiting West L.A. At the luncheon, coach Craig Moropoulos said that he does not fault the official for the call, and said despite a 4-6 season, he has enjoyed this year’s team more than any other squad he’s had.

“I’ve enjoyed every day with these guys, and the great thing about it is that the three guys I brought, they’re all local guys,” said Moropoulos.

The three local guys are Santa Barbara High grad John Uribe, Bishop Diego alum Art Gonzalez and former San Marcos Royal Manny Hernandez. Uribe, a sophomore, is Southern California’s top community college passer while freshman Hernandez is tops in the state in tackles.

VOLLEY PLAYOFFS: Providence Hall began the season 2-5 but finished it 7-2 to make the playoffs in its first year of CIF competition. The Lions will open up on Tuesday night at St. Monica Academy in Pasadena.

“We don’t really know much of anything about them, and we don’t really care at this point. Everything right now for us is gravy, and the girls are really excited to be in the playoffs,” he said before introducing freshmen Jenna Wilcox and Olivia Johnson.

Laguna Blanca has won its eighth consecutive Condor League title with a fifth consecutive undefeated league season. The Owls have a bye for Tuesday’s first round and will need it to regroup after losing their starting middle blocker to a knee injury, an outside hitter to a broken arm and a defensive specialist due to a back injury. Coach Jim Alzina brought along standouts Amanda Harvey and Lauren Alef.

Dos Pueblos opens at home against Palos Verdes on Tuesday night, while Santa Barbara hosts Peninsula. It’s a tough draw for the Dons, who earned the 15th seed despite having beaten four teams seeded ahead of them

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