Royals lose sleep over matches

Getting a good night’s sleep was a problem for the San Marcos girls volleyball coaching staff last week.

The staff watched the team go through the lows and highs of a season in a three-day span.

“We started off with a Tuesday night game against Ventura and it was rough,” said assistant coach Marilyn Hantgin. “Nothing was going right. We couldn’t go to sleep that night; we were just wondering what we were going to do, how we were going to pull it together.”

Two nights later, the Royals played a sparkling match and swept Santa Barbara.

“Again, we couldn’t go to sleep that night due to being excited after the match,” Hantgin said. “It was really great to see the girls come off a two-game losing streak and play the way they did. Anyone who was there saw that everything was working.”

Senior middle Carly Yarnell has been one of the most consistent hitters for the Royals, Hantgin noted. “We know we can go to her and score points,” she said.

She also introduced Emily Allen, who just returned to the team after recovering from a torn ACL suffered eight months ago.

“You’d never know she’d been out that long,” Hantgin said of Allen’s performance against Santa Barbara. “We’re happy Emily is back.”

John Gannon of Santa Barbara High shared in the up-and-down theme for girls volleyball. The Dons swept Ventura then lost to San Marcos in three sets.

Despite the loss, Gannon said it was exciting to see Emily Allen come back from her injury and excel.

“There’s a bit of frustration as a head coach, but you try to find silver linings,” he said. “I think of most of the volleyball talent some times, and when you see somebody excel in town that’s special.”

Gannon took his team to the California Challenge in San Diego the day after the San Marcos match and the Dons went 2-3 over the weekend.

“We got 19 sets of volleyball last week and I was thinking, ‘Gosh, that’s not enough,’” he quipped.

The Dons begin the second round of Channel League play Tuesday at home against Dos Pueblos.

Laguna Blanca girls volleyball coach Jim Alzina said his team experienced a roller-coaster week. The Owls lost at Division 3-A power Windward, beat Division 4-A No. 4 Pacifica Christian and fell at No. 2 Cate.

UCSB volleyball player Katey Thompson was named the female Athlete of the Week.

UCSB volleyball player Katey Thompson was named the female Athlete of the Week.

“Cate played the best I’ve seen them play, “ Alzina said. “I talked to a couple of their coaches and they said the same thing.”

He added: “One of the things we have run into is after winning league 11 straight years is we’re everybody’s big game; everybody brings their A game against us and we can’t take a night off.”

Alzina brought junior, three-year varsity player Hannah White and sophomore Dani Abrams, a two-year varsity player.

Even though she’s a first-year varsity player, Vivana Morales stepped up and accepted a leadership role on the Carpinteria girls volleyball team. Morales, who carries at 4.43 GPA, is the setter, reported Chris Gahan, speaking for head coach Marc Denitz.

Providence volleyball assistant Dale Colburn said he liked how the team competed against established volleyball programs at Laguna Blanca and Cate. He noted the team knocked off Thacher for the first time.

Colburn praised the play of Olivia Johnson and sophomore Katie Hodson. He said Hodson has made tremendous progress in her game. She led the team in kills and blocks against Dunn.


Santa Barbara High’s Doug Caines said a slow start and critical mistakes in the first half cost his team against Dos Pueblos. The Dons trailed 21-0 after the first quarter and 28-0 at halftime.

Caines introduced nose guard Skylar Rauch, a player who’s working his way back from a knee injury, and Freddie Jimenez, who’s played at center and guard.

The Dons have their Senior Night on Friday against Buena.

Tom Crawford introduced two key members of his top-ranked football team: running back Abel Gonzalez and two-way lineman John “Cowboy” Samson.

Of Gonzalez, the coach said he’s averaged 100 yards a game and “is so consistent in the way he runs. He’s deceptive and hard nosed.”

Crawford said Samson is an ironman on the line, playing 90 percent of the downs.

“He’s a guy with a great motor. I hope colleges take a chance on him.”

Crawford noted “it was nice to win the rivalry game with Carpinteria, but in the big picture it’s nice to get a league win, which is probably the most important thing in a
competitive league.”

Carpinteria coach Ben Hallock gave props to Bishop Diego for its 24-6 win over his previously undefeated team.

“Bishop Diego is a very good football team,” he said. “Bishop is very experienced and very confident, and that experience and confidence shows through in how they play.”

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