Right words will get you into volleyball showdown

If you’re planning on going to Laguna Blanca on Wednesday for the small schools girls volleyball showdown between the host Owls and Cate, you better  say the right thing to get in the gym, warned Laguna coach Jim Alzina.

The match between CIF 4-A Division top-ranked Cate and No. 2 Laguna is for the Condor League championship and the top seeding in the CIF playoffs. Laguna is also going for its 12th straight league title.

“If you say the word Cate, you’re out. We’ll find a spot outside for you,” Alzina quipped at Monday’s Santa Barbara Athletic Round Table press luncheon.

Santa Barbara High volleyball coach John Gannon said his team played well against strong competition during the Tournament of Champions last week. The Dons took Division 1-AA fourth-ranked Corona del Mar to five sets and lost three close sets to perennial power Newport Harbor.

“We’re right there with some of the best teams in Southern California,” he said.

The Dons, who wrapped up the Channel League title last week, play host to San Marcos on Tuesday.

“We’ve already won the title but bragging rights will be on the line,” said Gannon.

Laura Newton of Providence introduced four-year player Hannah Park and freshman Abby Oppenhuizen as key players on her squad. Park can play wherever she is needed and Oppenhuizen , an outside hitter, plays all the way around for the Patriots.

FOOTBALL

Santa Barbara coach Doug Caines said one of the core values of his team was handling adversity. He introduced four players who came back from injuries and played a huge part in Friday’s 42-28 Big Game victory over San Marcos.

The first was Cheroke Cunningham, who missed most of last season with a sprained knee and had been quiet on offense this season because of injuries to the offensive line. Cunningham scored five touchdown, rushed for 159 yards and also contributed on defense with 19 tackles to lead the Dons to their fourth straight Big Game win.

Andrew Solis came back after an early season concussion and made seven tackles (3 solo) and intercepted a pass.

Ivan Lazaro recovered from a bone chip and played “an amazing game on the offensive line,” said Caines.. The fourth player was Adam Ebeling, who healed up from a nagging calf muscle injury and made 11 tackles (2 solo) in the game.

SBCC coach Craig Moropoulos gave props to linebacker Morgan Nevin, who had a whopping 28 tackles in a loss against Santa Monica last Saturday. He also praised second-year running back Mike Petersen, who hails from Denmark.

“He’s the finest young man on our football team with  his character and integrity,” Moropoulos raved. “He’s a fantastic student, person and football player. I’m proud to be his coach.”

Moropoulos encouraged fans to come out to Saturday’s final home game against Glendale.

“Every game at home the attendance is double or more than our games away. I’m proud of that,” he said.

Laguna Blanca Athletic Director Mike Biermann announced that the Owls  got a home game for the CIF 8-man football playoffs on Saturday. The Owls will play Pacific Lutheran of Gardena at 1 or 2 p.m.

“It’s a tribute to Shane Lopes and the work he’s done at the school,,” Biermann said of his football coach. “He’s a high character guy, a motivator and a leader. The kids took up to him.”

Biermann brought two key members of the football team:, Andrew Vignolo and Quentin Tedesco. Both are four-year starters who had big games in the 66-64 win over Dunn.

Cate assistant football coach Dave Soto said the Rams won back-to-back Condor League titles for the first time in the nine years. The Rams open the 8-man playoffs at home against Upland Christian on Saturday at 2 p.m.

Carpinteria football coach Ben Hallock thanked the community for its support for running back Jonathan Esqueda, who was seriously injured last Saturday when his car was broad-sided by a SUV.

Esqueda attended the Warriors’ homecoming win over Santa Paula.

“At the Santa Paula game, our guys were very excited about that,” said Hallock.

The coach introduced Terence Ayala and Efrain Quintero and said both players are important in getting the team ready for every game. The Warriors play top-ranked Oak Park at home on Friday.

“It will be quite a challenge for us to play them. We have to be prepared to play our best football game,” said Hallock.

Bishop Diego football coach Tom Crawford said his team probably learned more from its recent two straight losses against Oak Park and Nordhoff than it has in any game in a long time.

“You learn that the little things get magnified in big games,” he said. “Our kids are very, very focused in correcting the mistakes.”

The Cardinals face another tough opponent on Friday when it hosts Mission Prep, the No. 1 team in the Northeast Division.

Crawford  brought with him Mitch Oleson and Andrew Burgess, who have made their mark on the offensive and defensive lines for the Cardinals.

TENNIS

UCSB men’s coach Marty Davis reported that junior Ziad Sultan reached the semifinals at the 57th SoCal Intercollegiate Championships at UCLA.

Davis introduced his new assistant, Marc Vartabedian, who won Division 3 singles and doubles titles at UC Santa Cruz and has an ATP Tour ranking in doubles.

Santa Barbara High girls tennis coach Greg Tebbe said he had to talk about players Mattea Kilstofte and Madison Hale together.

“Both are juniors, both have similar records, they’re great friends, and they’re not just great tennis players but great teammates,” he said. “They have a positive attitude, they work hard and they’re fun to be around. They have played a key role in team chemistry. They’re a great reason for our success.”

Hale is 29-6 and went 14-0 in singles in the Channel League. Kilstofte, who beat Hale for the league’s individual singles title, is 29-5 and 14-0. Both are outstanding students. Hale has a 4.6 GPA while Kilstofte is at 4.7, said Tebbe.

The Dons open the CIF Division 1 playoffs Wednesday at home against Edison.

Hallock spoke about Carpinteria girls tennis for coach Charles Bryant. He said the Warriors won their third straight Frontier League title. “Thirty-two more in a row and we can catch Santa Barbara,,” was Bryant’s comment, referring to Santa Barbara’s 35 straight Channel League girls tennis titles.

Jacklyn Wilson represented the tennis team. She is the lone senior on the squad and has records of 4-1 in singles and 18-4 in doubles.

SOCCER

Westmont women’s assistant coach Chantel Cappuccilli reported that when this year’s senior class were freshmen the team scored only 16 goals that year. This season 16 different players have scored goals.

She said goalkeeper Lindsey Smith ranks second in the national in goals-against average, and senior defender Amanda Desen has been shutting down the best forwards in the GSAC.

Westmont has a first-round bye in the GSAC Tournament.’

Ron Smith, the sports information director at Westmont, said the men’s soccer team is hosting Vanguard in a GSAC Tournament game on Wednesday.

CROSS COUNTRY

San Marcos assistant Tracy Jenkins noted that the boys team is running so well together that the splits between the one through five runners is less than 30 seconds.  She brought team members Walker Odell and  Nicholas Swider.

From the Royals girls team, Juliana Logan and freshman Emily Pearlman were in attendance. The girls finished second behind Dos Pueblos at the county meet.

“We’re excited to see how they do the rest of the season,” said Jenkins.

Dos Pueblos girls coach Leslie Wiggins Roth said after lead runner Addi Zerrenner crosses the finish line, the second through six runners are coming in 45 seconds park. She introduced Zerrenner and Tabbie Magner. Cross country  taught Magner a life lesson on the value of hard work, Roth said.

On Zerrenner, the coach said this season has taught her about patience, getting healthy and running better at the end of the season. She posted he first PR at the county meet last week.

“She shows me she is on the right track. We’re lucky to have her. She’s led our girls to their best performance in history,” said Roth.

Micks Purnell, the DP boys coach, said the Chargers are ranked No. 1 in Division 2 in the CIF-SS and in the state. “That’s a testimonial that we have a good team,” he said. He brought two key members of the squad, Tyler Bradford and John Greening.”

Laguna Blanca coach John Silverander introduced his lone girls cross country runner, Nadia Belton. She has been accepted to Wake Forest.

Lizzy Verduzco, Clarissa Davis, Matt Hammond and Luca Jordano respresented the Bishop Diego cross country team.

Providence coach Willy Rossow said he has four runners on his team. “I can take my team anywhere. I can pack them in the car and go anywhere for a run,” he said.  He brought three team members, Eric Sheets, Kyle Beveridge and Anthony Zapata.

Westmont coach Russell Smelley talked about the importance of athletes getting enough sleep to help them perform at their best. He said his Warriors will be vying to qualify for the NAIA nationals this weekend at the GSAC Championships.

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