NEW COLUMN: “Presidio Sports Quick Hits”

The quality of  girls volleyball in this town is off the charts. If you don’t believe it, then check out next Tuesday’s (Sept. 29) epic match between crosstown rivals Santa Barbara and Dos Pueblos at DP’s Sovine Gym. You won’t be disappointed.

These extraordinary student-athletes possess tremendous skill. Their jump serving, hitting, blocking and digging will have you going oooh, ahhh and wow!

Santa Barbara has dynamic players like Emily Rottman, Eve Ettinger and Katherine Keller back from last year’s team that upset Dos Pueblos in the CIF Division 1 championship match at a packed Rob Gym.

Dos Pueblos, which won both Channel League meetings last year, has five returning impact players who experienced the pain of the CIF loss: twins Carly and Samantha Wopat, Sammie Brown, Paige Crane and Sally Yingst.

Both teams are ranked in MaxPreps’ Xcellent 25 national poll — Dos Pueblos is No. 14 and Santa Barbara 15th — and both have lost only to No. 1-ranked Archbishop Mitty of San Jose in the Mitty tournament.

Community West BankA heads up: Make sure you get there early because the gym will be packed. First serve is set for 7 p.m. …

Ed Gover’s SBCC volleyball team is making some noise in the state with a couple of players from San Marcos: Jenn Waddill and Maria Meyer. The Vaqueros are 7-1 and ranked 24th in the state. …

Jim Alzina accomplished something his predecessor Jason Donnelly couldn’t at Laguna Blanca — win the Laguna Blanca Invitational.  But Alzina doesn’t have a CIF title yet. Donnelly, who is now an assistant at Rutgers, guided the Owls to the crown in 2006. …

— It’s been a exhausting pre-league schedule of games for the UCSB men’s soccer team. They’ve made trips to West Virginia and Wisconsin for four matches, squeezed in Friday-Sunday matches at home with Rutgers and Loyola Marymount and played the Mexican U-17 World Cup team. This Friday, they travel to San Diego State and then return home for a huge Big West match against defending champion UC Irvine on Sunday. Depth will be key for the Gauchos. …

— The Gaucho women’s team — remember them? — have been on the road since the season started. After matches in Champaign, Ill., Williamsburg, Va. and Bakersfield, the Gauchos are home Friday and Sunday against two formidable opponents, Arizona and UCLA. The match against the Bruins will pit Gaucho forward Jacqui Simon against her former team. …

For soccer junkies, Harder Stadium will be the place to be on Sunday: UCSB-UCLA women at 4 p.m. followed by UCSB-UC Irvine men at 6:30. …

— What will San Marcos coach Jeff Hesselmeyer do when Cody Clark returns to the lineup? The Royals’ rushing attack hasn’t missed a beat with Kyle Miller. …

Brandon Gonzalez of Bishop Diego was Mr. Touchdown in the Cardinals’ tough loss to Fillmore last Friday, rushing for three scores and passing for another. … Paul Ortega was all over the field on defense in that game.

— Santa Barbara coach Jaime Melgoza was a little hard on himself after the Dons lost to Beverly Hills. After later watching film, he realized his team is getting better. …

Cody Bidlow of DP is one of those “good hands” people on the football field. He blocked a Cabrillo punt, caught the ball before it hit the ground and ran it in for the Chargers’ first TD in their shutout of the Conquistadores. Talk about a highlight reel play. …

— Carpinteria ball boy Michael Garibay is one tough kid. He got drilled while standing on the sidelines when players came flying out of bounds during Carpinteria’s game against Nipomo. Carpinteria coach Ben Hallock reported that Garibay suffered a broken leg and that the kid was upset because he wouldn’t be able to play in his Youth Football League game the next day.

— Carpinteria cross country coach Angel Silva has a tip for a relaxing hump-day afternoon next Wednesday: Grab a Surf Dog and come out and watch his team run in a meet at the picturesque Carpinteria Bluffs course.

— Who says Kathy Gregory can’t change. The venerable UCSB women’s volleyball coach is calmer on the sidelines during matches and she’s scheduled more early home matches than ever before. In the past, the Gauchos wouldn’t play at the Thunderdome until the last week of September. This year, they’ve played at home three times already. What’s up, coach?

“Because we haven’t played as many home matches recently, I made a commitment this year to play more at home this year heading into conference to gain some momentum,” she said after sweeping Loyola Marymount.

Big West play opens Friday at home vs. UC Riverside.

— In a sort of homecoming, former Westmont soccer standouts and assistant coaches Kristen St. Clair and Ryan Jorden return to town this weekend as head coaches for Cal Baptist. Their teams face the Warriors in a doubleheader Saturday at SBCC’s La Playa Stadium.  St. Clair’s women’s team is ranked No. 1 in the NAIA, while Jorden’s men’s squad has a 1-1-3 record.

Got a bit of news that might fit in the next column? E-mail info@presidiosports.com