Luncheon crowd looking forward to big-time games

If you like big crowds, this might be your kind of week.

Coaches at Monday’s Santa Barbara Athletic Round Table press luncheon spoke of several high-stakes battles on the slate this week, including the year’s first crosstown Dos Pueblos-Santa Barbara High girls volleyball match on Tuesday followed Wednesday’s clash at Harder Stadium between the Gauchos’ men’s soccer team and the defending national champion Akron Zips.

Dos Pueblos Athletic Director Dan Feldhaus may have summed it best.

“We don’t open up both sides of the stands for most games and this week we open up both sides of the stands,” Feldhaus said. “Santa Barbara is a big game. We’re looking forward to a capacity crowd and great volleyball.”

But that match still won’t attract as many people as Wednesday’s game at Harder Stadium. UCSB expects to have a crowd of over 10,000 for the high-profile non-conference matchup. The game will be televised on Fox Soccer Channel at 7 p.m.

“The big one coming up is this Wednesday,” said Gauchos assistant coach Greg Curry. “They’re a top-five team across the polls in the country. A very, very good soccer team.”

“I can guarantee you it will be a good game.”

The Gauchos are coming off of two losses but still hold a 6-3-1 record and like their chances.

“It’s not that we’re struggling by any means. We have created chances to score goals, just been a little unfortunate in the past few games,” Curry said.

If that isn’t enough, then there’s prep football on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights.

Santa Barbara High's Cheroke Cunningham

One of the teams in action, Santa Barbara High, features this week’s male Athlete of the Week in Cheroke Cunningham. The Dons host Pacifica while trying to improve their record to 3-3 on the season. It’s their last game before starting Channel League against San Marcos on October 21st.

Cunningham, a sophomore, rushed for 185 yards and three touchdowns in the Dons’ victory over Nordhoff last week. Cunningham, whose father – former Don great A.C. Cunningham – was present at Harry’s, has scored eight touchdowns in Santa Barbara’s first five games.

Dos Pueblos (0-5) hosts Canyon in a Thursday football game to be broadcast on 1290 AM. Canyon (4-0) is the No. 2 team in the Northern Division. Friday’s Dons game will also be broadcast live on the radio.

Carpinteria and San Marcos join the Dons playing on Friday night and Bishop Diego faces a 5-0 team on Saturday in St. Genevieve. There were a handful of football players present, including Carpinteria’s Alberto Santamaria and Brian Schneider-Cordero, Dos Pueblos’ Nico Borden and Ricardo Alvarez, San Marcos’ Ricky Lopez, John Wurts, Omar Torres and Wes Gibson, and Laguna Blanca’s Brandon Bickett and Steven McCaffrey, along with Cunningham’s teammates Bradford Jellison and Matt Gonzalez.

Leah Sully, meanwhile, was the female Athlete of the Week for leading UCSB’s women’s volleyball team to a pair of Big West victories over the weekend. The senior outside hitter recorded double-doubles in both matches and put together an amazing 15-point service streak on Friday night in the deciding set. The Gauchos find themselves in a tie for first place after the weekend with Cal State Fullerton.

Another award was handed out Monday, as Debra Koopmans was named Sportsperson of the Month. The award was presented by American Riviera Bank’s Laurie Leighty and is sponsored by Wade and Roxanne Nomura.

Debra Koopmans, left, receives a round of applause for receiving the Sportsperson of the Month award.

San Marcos Athletic Director Abe Jahadmy thanked Koopmans for her huge role behind the scenes making sure San Marcos athletes have the best experience possible.

“She has been willing to take on any tasks to improve the school and leave the place in better shape than when she got there,” Jahadmy said.

For some of the other coaches at Harry’s, however, the tough taste of defeat lingered.

“I chose not to bring any athletes so they wouldn’t have to relive this,” joked Gauchos head coach Paul Stumpf.

UCSB’s women’s soccer team lost two overtime games in three days over the weekend.

“Learning how to win is a skill,” noted Bishop Diego girls volleyball coach Jason Donnelly, whose team used a loss to motivate them to get better.

Donnelly brought players McKenna Hogue and Jenna McIntyre as well as Cardinals football players Nic Mon and Michael Winnewisser.

Westmont was happy to report of week filled with big victories from its men’s and women’s soccer teams and women’s volleyball. The Warriors had four athletes – Isaac Thompkins, Maddison Serrano, Ciara Turner, Jenny Martinez – make Honorable Mention in the Athlete of the Week voting.

Women’s soccer coach Kristi Kiely has her Warriors off to a 6-2 start while excelling on both sides of the field. The defense has five shutouts in eight matches and the offense has already equaled its goal total from the entire season before.

SBCC has a pair of strong soccer teams, with the women’s team ranked No. 5 in the country. Last year’s record-setting goal scorer Jessica Domenichelli is at it again and scored four goals in two victories last week. The Vaqueros travel for a stiff WSC battle on Thursday at Ventura.

Much of the room was full of volleyball players from seven high schools.

Santa Barbara’s Remi Pulice and Holland Crenshaw will go up against Amanda Moriarty and Sarah McKinney in tomorrow’s big match. Also present were San Marcos’ Kristen Berlo and Iris Campbell, Laguna Blanca’s Bella Taron and Courtney O’Donnell, Providence Hall’s Lacey Gonzalez and Olivia Barroca, Carpinteria’s Ally Sundara and Morgan Wallace, plus Hogue and McIntyre.


UCSB's Leah Sully


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