Short bus ride could make a big difference for Westmont men’s soccer team

Dos Pueblos water polo coach Connor Levoff, center, is joined by players, from left, Wyatt Meckelborg, Jason Teng, Ethan Parrish and Matt Binckley. The Chargers have advanced to the CIF-SS Division 3 semifinals.

Westmont hosts the Golden State Athletic Conference men’s soccer tournament this week, and coach Dave Wolf has a plan to get his team to play better at home.

“We’ve actually struggled a little bit at home this year,” Wolf explained at Monday’s Santa Barbara Athletic Round Table press conference at Harry’s Plaza Cafe. “We were much better on the road, so I’m going to trick my team into believing they’re playing an away game on Thursday. I’m going to rent a Santa Barbara Air Bus and they’re going to drive us 100 feet from the locker room to our game field.”

The Warriors play The Master’s College in a 2 p.m. semifinal game on Thursday. Hope International and Vanguard clash at 11 a.m. The final is Saturday at 2 p.m.

Wolf said he’s had a blast coaching this season. The Warriors have been led by a stingy defense that’s allowed only 11 goals in 15 games.

Wolf is looking for the team to play even better in the postseason.

“It’s the time of the year when you’re trying to parlay a good season into a really good one or, who knows, a really special one,” he said.


Westmont women

Assistant coach Mario Felix said the Warriors are the No. 2 seed in the GSAC Tournament at Vanguard. They open against the Master’s on Wednesday.

Westmont won the two regular-season meetings with the Mustangs, 5-2 and 3-2 in overtime.

“We’re hoping to get into the final on Friday,” Felix said. “We have eight seniors who have a lot of experience in postseason play.”

He noted that the level of intensity in training “has been phenomenal.”

Felix added that Warriors Jackie Lopez, Maddi Berthoud, Alanna Richards and Destinee Adams earned the All-GSAC honors.


The men’s team clinched its first WSC title since 2011. The Vaqueros are 13-0-4, 7-0-1 in conference and ranked No. 3 in the state and No. 7 in the nation.

The women’s team is top-ranked in the state and third in the nation. It’s won 15 straight, including eight in a row by shutout. The Vaqueros are 15-0-1 and 6-0-0 in the conference.


Andres Santa Maria was presented the award for his solid play on the soccer field.

“He has the ability to move from offense to defense like nobody else on the field. It’s really a pleasure to coach him,” said coach Jerry Segal.

Santa Maria is a junior at Santa Barbara High. He recently played for his school at the Special Olympics School Games at Girsh Park.

Santa Maria and the soccer team will be competing against teams from Southern California at the Fall Games in Fountain Valley this weekend. Santa Barbara also is sending teams in tennis and softball.


UCSB Women

The Gauchos end their season this weekend with home matches against UC Irvine and UC Davis.

“If we can sweep out the season, we have a chance to take third in the conference after a rough start. That’s what we’re looking to do,” said assistant coach Matt Jones.

Westmont Women

Coach Patti Cook was all smiles, and it wasn’t just because she loved eating the quesadillas for lunch.

“I’m smiling big because my team is amazing,” she said. “I still love coaching them even though we’re at the end of the season.”

The Warriors finished the regular season 30-3 and 14-0 in the GSAC. They’re the top-seed in the first GSAC Tournament this weekend at The Master’s College.

Defense has been a key to Westmont’s success. The team has allowed opponents to hit a measly .093.

“Our block is looking really good, our defense is looking good,” Cook said.

She also credits the play of her freshmen, Lauren Friis, Hali Gallaway, Brooklynn Cheney and Camryn Kaina.

“Our freshmen are starting to hit their stride.”

San Marcos Girls

The future is bright for the Royals, who won the Channel League with a 7-1 record and went 23-11 overall.

Coach Tina Brown introduced juniors Kristine Fimlaid, Kendall Williams and Molly Kirkbride, who were all impact players this season.


Dos Pueblos Boys

Coach Connor Levoff has the Chargers back in the CIF final four for the first time since 2010. They play Servite in the Division 3 semifinals on Wednesday at the Woollett Aquatic Center in Irvine.

“The athletes have done a really nice job staying consistent, training, playing within themselves and sticking to what they know,” Levoff said. “That consistency is a massive factor in finishing close games and being able to get close wins on the road in the playoffs.”

DP won 18-11 at Burbank Burroughs and 12-11 against Los Alamitos on a last-second goal by Jason Teng.

Levoff credits part of the team’s success to the consistency of senior Matt Binckley and junior Wyatt Meckelborg.

“These are guys who show up and train every day, have a good attitude and are very competent in their roles. We go as our whole squad goes, not as one or two or three guys go.”

Carpinteria Boys

After beating a strong San Luis Obispo team, the Warriors lost a 15-14 heartbreaker in overtime at Chaparral in the second-round of the playoffs. The winning score came when a shot hit the arm of a defender and was redirected past the goalie.

“It was like a stab in the heart,” coach Matt Organista said. “It was so heartbreaking to come that close and then see it end.”

Organista praised the play of Wyatt Stevenson and Connor Van Wingerden. He said Stevenson is not only a standout water polo, he runs an 11.1 100.

“I’m really gong to miss these guys, and I’m definitely going to remember this season,” said Organista.


The Gauchos finish the regular season on Friday at Pepperdine before entering the Gold Coast Conference Tournament for a shot at a NCAA Tournament berth.

“Hopefully we put ourselves in the best position and come out on top,” said coach Wolf Wigo.


Dos Pueblos

Coach Nate Mendoza said linebacker/fullback Anthony Myers and fullback/tight end Daniel Nwosu (Manny’s younger brother) are guys who “do a lot of the dirty work and are huge contributors.”

Myers is lead blocker for the tailback and a standout at linebacker.

Nwosu was playing well before suffering a broken arm in the Buena game.

“Being the tough guy that he is, he literally got up and walked to the sideline,” Mendoza said of when Nwosu suffered his injury, “His arm was visibly broken and sat on bench and told us he needed to see a trainer.”

The Chargers, champions of the Channel League, winners of nine straight games and the No. 2 seed in the CIF Division 10 bracket, open the playoffs at home against Brentwood on Friday night.

“We play Brentwood at home and go for there,” said Mendoza.


The Warriors were in position to score the winning touchdown in the Frontier League championship game at Santa Clara last Friday, but the Saints intercepted a pass at the 15-yard line and returned it 85 yards for the clinching touchdown in 48-35 decision.

“There’s a lesson there,” coach Rick Candaele explained. “You can prepare, be committed and do everything to win and sometimes you don’t. Then you got to get up and say, ‘What happens next?’

“What happens next,” he continued, “is we get to go to the playoffs, which I’m really happy about. We play Santa Maria. We’re going to go do our best and play Warrior football. We’d like to get to seven wins.”

Candaele introduced Juan Tavira and Marcos Alpizar, saying they’re “part of reason I keep coaching. I’ll forget some of the wins and losses, but I’ll remember what these two guys did for a long, long time.”

Tavira is hearing impaired. His interpreter, Christina Montero, comes to football practice every day.

“She interprets everything I say to Juan,” said Candaele. “I want to recognize Juan for the work he puts in and Christina for the all work she puts in.”

He noted that Tavira started his first game against Fillmore and made eight tackles.

“He’s a good athlete and really tough,” said Candaele.

Alpizar is playing football for the first time.

Candaele was moved by an act of unselfishness from the senior wide receiver in an important road game.

A key player forgot a piece of equipment for the game and Alpizar gave him his.

“I asked him, ‘Why would you do that?” said Candaele. “He said, ‘I wanted our team to win. I wanted to contribute to the victory and that was the best way I could do it.’

Bishop Diego

Assistant coach Steve Robles said head coach Tom Crawford told the players to have a short memory following the 31-24 double-overtime loss to Grace Brethren in the Tri-Valley League championship game last Friday night.

Despite the loss, the Cardinals were seeded No. 1 for the Division 6 playoffs. They open against Norte Vista of Riverside.

Norte Vista is just 3-7, but Robles said the record is deceiving. “You see them on film and they’re big and fast.”

He called the playoffs “a new start, and we want to make a good run and see how far we can go.”

Robles introduced linemen Dario Perez and Jacob Songer. Perez plays defensive end and offensive tackle.

“He’s a great kid and has a positive attitude. He knows his role on the team and accepts it,” Robles said.

On Songer, the starting right tackle: “He’s really improved over the years. He works extremely hard. He’s overcome injuries and does a great job,” said the coach.

Laguna Blanca

Coach Shane Lopes said his team played really well in its 84-30 playoff-opening win against Cornerstone Christian.

“They guys are finally figuring out how to balance focus while having fun,” he said. “It’s really good to see. They’re doing things I’ve never seen before, adjustments in the middle of a play and pre-snap.”

The Owls will travel four hours to play their second-round game at Desert Christian Academy in Bermuda Dunes on Friday.


Assistant coach Dave Soto credited lineman Christopher Bennett for helping the Rams gain 550 yards on the ground in their 58-14 CIF 8-man football playoff win at Academy Careers & Exploration in Helendale. Bennett was an All-CIF player last season.

The Rams play host to defending Division 1 champion Mojave on Saturday at 1:30 p.m.

“They beat us in Week One, so we’re excited to get back out there and take it to them.”

Soto also acknowledged his father and head football coach Ben Soto, who was celebrating his birthday.


Coach Craig Moropoulos credited the positivity of the Athletic Round Table for helping him get through a five-game losing streak.

“I could be down,” he said. “We’ve been fortunate the last few years to be on the winning side of those runs. This kind of event brings you back because it’s always so positive.”

Moropoulos introduced freshman quarterback Jerry Hickson and said he’s “one the reasons I’m encourage about next year.”

The coach gave props to defensive back and Santa Barbara High grad Russell Enholm and running back and Dos Pueblos alum Manny Nwosu.

“He’s responsible for any success we’ve had the last two years with his character and leadership abilities,” said Moropoulos of Nwosu.


Westmont men

Coach John Moore enters his 25th year at Westmont, “and there’s no place else I’d rather be,” he said.

Moore said he has nine freshmen on the squad to go with veterans like Gerry Karczewski and Sean Harman.

Two players who have impressed in the early season are seniors Noah Blanton and David Gunn.

“They’ve been waiting in the wings for years,” Moore said.”There’s nothing more satisfying for a coach than to see guys who have paid their dues come through for you. That’s why I’m looking forward to this year, because of guys like that.”


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