Football kicked off the new year of Santa Barbara Athletic Round Table press luncheons at Harry’s Plaza Cafe on Monday.
Noozhawk took over the program with the presentation of its All-South Coast Football Team. Twenty-four players from the five local high schools that play 11-man football were introduced and presented plaques.
Kellen Roberts and Marcellous Gossett of Dos Pueblos, the offensive and defensive MVPs, and DP’s Nate Mendoza, the coach of the year, received trophies.
GIRLS WATER POLO
Dos Pueblos: Kayla Peacock, Olivia Kistler and Ryann Neushul are three players with deeply tied roots to DP water polo, said coach Connor Levoff. They each had older siblings play the sport for the Chargers (10-1).
He said Peacock is a disciplined, hard worker and does things in the pool coaches notice. She threaded a perfect pass to a teammate that lead to a goal in overtime of a 15-14 win against Mater Dei. In an earlier game, she missed making that pass
“That’s a sign of someone getting better and getting confident,” Levoff said.
On Kistler, Levoff, said he coached her sister, Laurel, who last year was conference player of the year at UC San Diego, and thinks “Olivia is better than her today. She does a ton to create for us in transition and in the half court. She is the second leading assist leader because she reads the game well.”
He said Neushul never gets down and keeps going after it in the pool. “She’s like a wrecking ball. She’s just going to go after anybody on the planet. Having her on the team is just incredibly helpful; she’s not afraid of anybody, internationally and domestically. And she’s shown that.”
Santa Barbara: The Dons host their 18th annual Tournament of Champions Thursday through Saturday.
“All 17 teams in Division 1 are coming,” Dons coach Mark Walsh said. “Pretty much anyone who is any good is coming.”
Walsh introduced sophomores Anna Hepp and Jordan Duggan.
“Anna is a very good all-around player for us,” said Walsh. “She’s one of our smarter players and does a lot for us in the pool. We have only nine players on our team and you have to have seven in the water at a time, so we’re pretty thin. So, everybody is really important. If someone is not playing well, it really effects our team. Anna is one of our more stable players. She plays a lot of minutes for us because some of the other girls tend to get in foul trouble. She’s really, really helpful.”
Hepp is a star in the classroom, carrying a 4.8 GPA.
Duggan also is a straight-A student. She splits starting with Hepp.
“She’s one of our better shooters, a tough defender, strong and very competitive,” said Walsh. “She’s eager to learn and has gotten a lot better since she got to Santa Barbara High.”
San Marcos: Coach After playing just five games, the schedule gets really busy for coach Chuckie Roth’s Royals (5-0).
“We play 12 games in the next 14 days and seven games against teams in the top five in Division 1,” he said.
San Marcos hosts No. 1 Laguna Beach on Thursday night at Santa Barbara High before playing in the Tournament of Champions, where the Royals are in the same pool as defending Division 1 champion Orange Lutheran.
Roth introduced two of his talented freshmen, Claire Kronen and Megan Musik.
“We have probably the most competitive training group I’ve coached in my life,” Roth said. “These two girls bring effort day in and day out in the weight room and everywhere to try to get to the next level and become that next great player. I think they’re well on their way, both in the classroom in terms of team camaraderie and also their playing ability.”
San Marcos: Assistant coach Aaron Solis has to remind himself and head coach Chris Hantgin how far the 6-10 Royals have come after four of the losses have come by three points or less.
“As frustrating as that might be, I have to keep reminding myself and coach Chris Hantgin that these type of games last year we would have been losing by 15-20 points,” he said. “As disheartening as it is to lose these close games, we know we’re making strides in the program. We know that we’re improving every week and becoming a better team overall, and sooner or later it’s going to click on all cylinders and we’re going to be a good basketball team.”
He introduced sophomore Juliet Dodson and junior Jackie Hernandez. He called Dodson “a fireball on the court” and said Hernandez is the fastest player on the team and a great athlete.
“I think she’s just starting to realize how good an athlete she really is,” he said.
The Royals open Channel League play at home against Dos Pueblos on Tuesday night.
Dos Pueblos: Athletic director Dan Feldhaus said the Chargers are “a very fun team to watch.”
The team is 15-1 going into Channel League play Tuesday at San Marcos.
Feldhaus introduced role players Sierra Cavaletto, “a spark plug off the bench,” and Emily Guzman, who “brings a lot of energy and works hard to make our team stronger.”
Santa Barbara: “We are really, really good… for a half. Then we’re the inverse,” coach Andrew Butcher said about his team. “If we can play four quarters, I think have a chance to do some really great things.”
The Dons open league at home on Thursday against Buena.
Butcher brought senior Valerie Jaimes and juniors Kristen Sullivan and Cassandra Gordon.
He said Jaimes is the team’s sixth person and “probably the most dedicated player.” She’s also involved in student government and tutors kids.
Sullivan, a transfer from Ventura, is the team’s best three-point shooter.
“There is something in the water down there because she shoots the ball,” said Butcher. “She really contributes to the team.”
On Gordon, Butcher said she’s stepped it up on defense.
“I don’t think defense mattered to her at all until a couple of weeks ago. Right now, she loves playing defense. She’s turning into a complete basketball player. College coaches are calling about her. She’s really making a jump,” he said.
UCSB: Assistant coach Vince Devany said freshmen setters Casey McGarry and Rand DeWeese played well in their debuts at last weekend’s Asics Tournament. The Gauchos went 3-0, beating McKendree, Mt.Olive and Indiana-Fort Wayne.
They open Mountain Pacific Sports Federation play this week with home matches with UC Irvine on Wednesday and UC San Diego on Friday.
SBCC women: The Vaqueros (10-6) have won three in a row and seven of their last nine.
Destinee King has posted six straight double-doubles and is averaging 17 points and 11 rebounds a game.
SBCC ranks second in the state in rebounding, averaging 52 per game.
When the Vaqueros return home on Jan. 18 against Oxnard, fans will be sitting on new bleachers at the Sports Pavilion, said sports information specialist Dave Loveton.
Westmont women: Coach Kirsten Moore is stressing the stat rebounding defense.
What is rebounding defense? “We don’t let the other team get rebounds,” Moore explained. “They don’t get any offensive rebounds and any shots we miss we get the offensive rebound and put it back.”
In their recent win over Biola, Moore said Biola had 24 total rebounds and the Warriors had 23 offensive rebounds. “It makes a difference having those added possessions.”
The NAIA third-ranked Warriors lead the nation in that stat as well as scoring defense.
Westmont men: John Moore’s team is the opposite of the women’s team.
“We’re one of the best offensive teams in the country,” he said. “We shoot over 50 percent and over 40 percent from the three-point line.”
In their win over rival Biola last week, seven players scored in double figures and the Warriors scored 93 points.
“I don’t think that’s ever been done in the history of the Westmont-Biola rivalry,” said Moore.
Westmont is 15-1 and 4-0 in the GSAC.
UCSB women: The Gauchos (6-9, 1-1) play their first Big West game at home on Saturday against UC Riverside at 2 p.m.
Providence: Coach Steve Stokes praised the play of Gianni Madrigal and Bryan Sheets.
“Gianni is really putting together a really nice season, averaging 18 points and nine rebounds on the year,” said Stokes.
He said when Sheets hits his shots from the outside it opens things for Madrigal in the paint
“They work together really, really well,” said Stokes.
The Patriots open Condor League play on Thursday against Ojai Valley at 5:30 p.m. at Westmont.