“Our team impressed me so much this season,” exclaimed San Marcos girls water polo head coach Chuckie Roth on Monday at the Santa Barbara Athletic Round Table Press Luncheon at Harry’s Plaza Cafe.
Roth explained that the only goal his team didn’t fulfill this year was winning the championship. The Royals came close, losing 6-2 to undefeated Laguna Beach in the finals on Saturday.
Roth brought athletes Piper Smith, Brittany Prentice, and Paige Hauschild to the luncheon. Hauschild was honored as last week’s Athlete of the Week.
“Paige is arguably the best high school water polo player in the country,” praised Roth. “The game kind of lays in her hands. She’s an amazing shooter.”
UC Santa Barbara
The Gauchos head into the second half of their season with a 10-6 record. Three of their losses have come at the hands of the University of Michigan.
“There’s always that one team that you cross with, and this season it’s been Michigan,” said UCSB head coach Serela Kay. “Sometimes you’ve got to get knocked down a little bit before you can move forward.”
UCSB hosts Cal State Bakersfield this Sunday and travel to Sonoma State a week from Thursday before beginning conference play on March 11 at UC Davis.
Providence head coach Steve Stokes brought seniors Ricky Beebe and Caleb Jones to the luncheon to celebrate another successful season. The Patriots reached the quarterfinals of CIF play, falling to Desert Christian Academy 65-55. Providence went undefeated in league play.
Stokes discussed the impact Jones, Beebe, and fellow senior Gianni Madrigal had on the program, which has been in the top ten in every poll over the past three years. Before these players, Stokes emphasized, Providence had never seen a winning season in league play.
“This group of three guys have been very big for the success of our program the past three years,” Stokes claimed. “They’ve done a good job of showing the younger guys how things are done at Providence, and their ripple effect is going to be felt for a long time.”
No. 6 Westmont heads into postseason play with the Golden State Athletic Conference Tournament being held this Friday and Saturday at the Master’s College in Santa Clarita. Westmont fell to the third seed in the tournament after losing a tiebreaker to rival Biola. The Warriors face San Diego Christian in the first round after beating the Hawks by 16 on February 25.
Head coach Kirsten Moore focused on the team’s desire to avenge losses to rivals Vanguard and Biola, whom the Warriors went 1-3 against this season.
“We hope to earn the right to play them again in the championship,” explained Moore. “Our team is really excited because we have the chance to avenge our two losses this year.”
Similar to their female counterparts, the No. 16 Westmont men are looking forward to postseason play beginning this weekend. The GSAC Tournament’s first two rounds will take place at Westmont.
“If preperation has anything to do with it, then we are in great shape,” said head coach John Moore. “We are the most experienced team in the NAIA. We have six seniors, all six of those have played in a national championship game.”
The Warriors are 23-6 with an 11-5 GSAC record.
“We can score, we have a lot to look forward to with our seniors, and I think we have a chance to be at our best at this time of year,” Moore added.
Moore emphasized that this is his player’s time, and he is excited to watch them compete for a national title.
UCSB finally broke a seven game losing streak on Friday, beating UC San Diego 3-0. The Gauchos have been streaky, winning three in a row at one point and losing seven in a row at another.
UCSB lost a heartbreaker at UC Irvine on Saturday 3-2 in five sets.
“The Gauchos are looking stronger and stronger,” said assistant coach Cullen Irons. “We’re looking for that late season push.”
This week UCSB travels east to take on Penn St. in Pennsylvania before hosting four straight games, including a March 8 date with conference foe Cal St. Northridge.
The Vaqueros started the year 2-1 but have since lost four straight to teams ranked in the top ten in the state. Sean Reynaert had 15 kills and no errors in a 3-1 loss to El Camino on Friday. Jon Newton is the team’s new head coach.
Quinlan Dougherty, a freshman from Santa Barbara High, is third on the team with 42 kills.
The Vaqueros are ranked No. 9 in the state and host Long Beach on Friday after an away matchup with LA Trade Tech on Wednesday.
The Vaqueros have played nine of their first twelve games on the road, and were described by sports information specialist Dave Loveton as “road warriors.” SBCC went 2-2 last week and won in dramatic, walk-off fashion in extra innings against East LA on Saturday.
Loveton praised the play of Wes Ghan-Gibson, who reached base five times on Saturday and went 3-3 with a solo homer in the eighth that tied the game at 4. Ghan-Gibson was a triple shy of the cycle.
The Vaqueros host Cerro Coso on Wednesday before a single game at Fullerton on Thursday and a weekend series at home against Reedley.
The Gauchos had a strong bounce back weekend after a rough 1-3 start by sweeping Tulane in a three game weekend set.
UCSB scored 27 runs over the three games and Colton Burns was named Big West Offensive Player of the Week after batting an absurd .700 and reaching base safely in 16 of his 19 plate appearances.
Santa Ynez High School product Thomas Rowan hit a walk-off single in the final game of the series to complete the sweep.
“Good weekend, good bounce back for us,” said UCSB assistant coach Eddie Cornejo.
The Gauchos have a long week ahead of them, playing a three game series at Kentucky and a four game series at BYU before returning home for an 11-game homestand.