Tim Vom Steeg wasn’t wearing a Halloween disguise when he arrived at Monday’s Santa Barbara Athletic Round Table press luncheon at Harry’s Plaza Cafe.
The UCSB men’s soccer coach said after losing four starters to injuries and dropping four Big West Conference games, it was time to change things up.
“With that, I turned to one of my assistants and said, ‘You know, we need to look different,’ ” he said. “We just don’t have enough players to look different, so I decided to grow a beard so I’d look different. I can’t change my team, but I can change me. It’s the next best thing.”
The change has been good because the Gauchos have won their last two matches and have put themselves in position to win the regular season title. They play an important match Tuesday night at Cal State Northridge and come home Friday for a rematch against Cal Poly.
“For us, it’s a huge community event,” Vom Steeg said of the Poly match. “Cal Poly did 11,100 people (when UCSB lost up there two weeks ago). That’s what they said. The fact is that’s all they could report because it would have gotten them in trouble with the fire marshall.”
An added treat to Friday’s match is UCSB will be celebrating the fifth anniversary of the 2006 national championship. Vom Steeg said 18 of 22 players from the team that beat UCLA in freezing St. Louis have confirmed they will be at Harder Stadium.
“The reason we he have that many is because many of them play on really bad MLS soccer teams,” he joked.
“It should be a great celebration and, hopefully, we’ll be playing for a league championship as well.”
—Santa Barbara girls volleyball coach John Gannon showed a lot of class by coming to the luncheon when his sport wasn’t on the schedule so he could congratulate Dos Pueblos for winning last weekend’s Tournament of Champions.
“It was a great tournament, it was a high level of volleyball,” Gannon said. “DP did so many great things over the weekend. To win the fifth set 15-13 … I was doing the lines in the final and I got goose bumps, and that doesn’t happen when you’ve been around the game for a long time.”
Gannon said DP was the first local team to win the tournament since 1988.
Gannon also expressed his thanks for those who attended and donated money at the team’s Breast Cancer Awareness match against San Marcos. He said more than $1,600 was raised for the Cancer Center of Santa Barbara.
—DP girls volleyball coach Todd Garrett thanked Gannon for his kind words and for running a great tournament.
“John said that game gave him goose bumps. It gave me a heart attack,” Garrett quipped.
Dos Pueblos rallied from a 13-9 deficit in the fifth set against Marymount and won 15-13.
“It was amazing volleyball,” Garrett said. “All the credit goes to those kids for not giving up.”
—Westmont women’s soccer coach Kristi Kiely said her team is playing good soccer at the right time of the year and the players are enjoying themselves.
“You can’t ask for anything else,” she said.
The Warriors finished fourth in the GSAC to earn a home game for the first round of the conference tournament. They host 13th-ranked Concordia at 3 p.m. on Tuesday.
The Westmont men qualified for the GSAC Tournament and play at first-place Fresno Pacific on Wednesday.
—SBCC’s Jessica Domenichelli is tearing it up on the soccer field. The sophomore has recorded hat tricks in four straight matches and is one goal away from tying her school record of 25 in a season. Sophomore Katie Voss has a school-record 14 assists.
The Vaqueros host Ventura in a first-place showdown in the Western State Conference North Division on Tuesday at 7:30 p.m.
The SBCC men are unbeaten in their last nine matches, going 8-0-1.
—Dos Pueblos football coach Jeff Uyesaka had a smile on face when he took the podium.
“After seven long weeks, I can finally stand up and say, ‘Thank, God, we won,’ “ he said.
A key to the Chargers’ 9-6 win over Buena was the return of running back Josh Bartley.
“Thank goodness for Josh Bartley getting his hamstring better. We missed him for 3 1/2 weeks. He’s running like a man possessed, so I think he’s got something to prove.”
The Chargers travel to Santa Barbara on Friday for a game that could determine second place in the Channel League.
—SBCC football coach Craig Moropoulos expressed the feelings of a coach going through a winless season.
“There’s absolutely nothing fun, nothing happy, nothing related to that,” he said. “It’s tough and demanding, but that’s why we coach. It’s about getting your guys motivated to play.”
The Vaqueros finish the season Saturday at conference-leading West L.A.
“We’re going down there and we’re going to play hard. That’s what we’re going to focus on,” said Moropoulos.
—UCSB women’s soccer coach Paul Stumpf played all 10 of his seniors in their final game last Friday against Cal Poly. One of those players was Santa Barbara High grad Katherine Serdio, a backup goalkeeper.
“She was so nervous she was almost begging us not to play her,” Stumpf said. “We talked to her and she played great. She made two really good saves, one in the last minute to keep it 0-0. It was great to see her play and to see her play well.”
—Westmont men’s basketball coach John Moore made his first luncheon appearance of the 2011-12 season.
“It’s good to be home,” he said, noting all the familiar faces and local sports legends in the room. “That’s what this is. It’s like family.”
Moore’s Warriors open their season with two home games this week — Thursday at 7:30 p.m. against Division 2 power Alaska Anchorage and Saturday at 4 p.m. against UC Merced. The Saturday game is a basketball homecoming. “We’re asking all former players to come back,” Moore said. “Our Legends of Murchison will be there.”