The defense never rests at luncheon

Lucy Carleton said it right.

“Defense is so underrated, I feel,” remarked the Carpinteria girls soccer coach at Monday’s Santa Barbara Athletic Round Table luncheon.

The first thing we look for in a box score is points or goals scored, but what about those defenders?

“Goalies are credited with shutouts, but sometimes I feel like a shutout should be credited to the defenders in front of the goalie,” said Dos Pueblos girls soccer coach Molly Imel, the next speaker.

Maybe we should officially make December 14th “Defense Appreciati0n Day.” … Mark it on your calendars.

Carleton brought along three defenders from her team — seniors Lucy Cortez, Viri Magaña and Cindy Torres — who recently helped the Warriors pick up a shutout over Channel Islands. Carpinteria also beat Cate, holding off the Rams for a 4-3 victory on Saturday in the rain.


DOS PUEBLOS: Imel is back coaching the Chargers after an 8-year hiatus, and she spoke with notable enthusiasm.

“It’s fantastic to be back,” she said.

Back for her senior season is standout defender Kristen Witchey, who was at Harry’s along with junior midfielder Claire Mathews. Imel said that she came back to the program with high goals and demands set for the program.

“These two ladies stepped up and said ‘What do you need? I can do it,'” said Imel.

DP has started a soccer leadership program on campus this year. The Chargers are off to a 1-1-2 start after defeating Righetti on Monday afternoon.

SAN MARCOS: Coach Lloyd Biggs didn’t hesitate to mention that the whistles may have gone the Royals’ way in Thursday’s win over Agoura, their first victory of the season.

“There were some unbelievable refereeing decisions which went our way, which was great,” he said with a grin.

Biggs introduced goalie Kaylin Koopmans, senior defender Missy Robinson and senior Ali Raack.

He said he’s never seen Robinson have a bad game, and also mentioned that Raack’s smaller stature can be deceiving.

“She’s probably one of the smallest seniors you’ll see, but she’s also one of the most technical skill-wise,” he said.

SANTA BARBARA: Senior defender Kristen Jurich has certainly impressed her coaches.

“I would consider her a shut-down defender,” said assistant coach Ryan Throop of the returning all-Channel Leaguer.

The Dons are 1-1-2, picking up both ties by scoring equalizers in the final five minutes against Moorpark and Newbury Park. Throop also recognized Kai Miller, a defender who has two assists on the young season, and star forward Briana Lopez. Lopez is being recruited by colleges such as South Carolina and Westmont.

San Marcos' J.P. Dodson

San Marcos' J.P. Dodson

The Dons’ goals are to return to the playoffs, stay healthy and win the city championship. That’s surely a universal set of goals for the Chargers and Royals as well.


SAN MARCOS: J.P. Dodson led the Royals to a 4-0 record and championship at the Jim Bashore Tournament. His highest scoring output was a very respectable 15 points. Dodson was named MVP of the tourney and Male Athlete of the Week, and coach Jarrod Bradley can back up the reasoning by looking at the tape.

San Marcos is outscoring opponents by 22 points with Dodson in the game. He also made 17 free throws in a row through the weekend (he’s 30-38 on the year) and has drawn a third of the fouls called against San Marcos opponents. He also carries a 4.3 GPA.

“He relishes contact… He provides such an offensive spark to our team,” said Bradley.

But on Defense Appreciation Day, it is important to note the defensive accomplishments of the Royals. They held opponents to an average of 38 points in the tournament, including a second-half shutdown in the semifinals in which Morro Bay scored just four points, all on free throws.

“Defensively we’ve really come around,” said Bradley, whose team is 7-2 and ranked 8th in CIF Division III.

DOS PUEBLOS: The Chargers took fourth place in last week’s Oak Park Tournament, falling in a third-place game to a team from Australia which featured players from places like Cameroon and Sudan. Matt McClenathen and Jay Larinan were the big offensive contributors in the tourney, but Daniel Prichard leads the team in a vital defensive statistic — he’s taken seven chargers this year.

“We always have to pick him up off the ground during the game, which is an awesome thing to see,” said coach Joe Zamora.

The coach also introduced team-elected captain Pablo Miranda, a junior point guard. The Chargers face a trio of tough match-ups this week against Righetti, Lakewood and Mater Dei.

SANTA BARBARA: The Dons remain winless through the season’s first six games, but coach Chris Hantgin reported that three of those losses were very competitive.

“This is a really good group of kids… I’m still optimistic that we’re gonna win a few games here before Christmas,” he said.

Hantgin introduced senior R.J. Rosborough, who is one of the team’s leading scorers despite not having played since eighth grade, and junior guard Daniel Marshall, who was described as the team’s “most dedicated player.”

CARPINTERIA: The Warriors have their fingers crossed, hoping that star post player Manny Rodriguez’s knee injury will be a minor one. In his absence, however, point guard Kevin Lusterio scored 39 points in a 51-50 loss to Nordhoff at the Fillmore Tournament over the weekend.

“It wasn’t just Kevin by himself,” insisted coach John Ward, who also pointed out that the Warriors won the “city championship” against Cate, which is of course the only other high school in Carpinteria.

He introduced two role players who are just starting to heat up as the young season keeps rolling. Jovan Saenz hurt his shoulder against Bishop Diego during football season and couldn’t raise his arm much at all at the start of the hoops season. As his arm gets better, so does his game. Ward recalled coaching at Bishop Diego in the ’80s and having to find a way to stop Saenz’s dad, who was a star for the Warriors at the time.

Now he’s hoping the younger Saenz has some star-potential in him.

Ward also recognized junior Daniel Babineaux, who didn’t even start most of the season on JV last year but is already stepping into a big role with a lot of minutes at the varsity level.

Santa Barbara's Rebecca Griffin

Santa Barbara's Rebecca Griffin

The Warriors host the Jim Bashore Holiday Cage Classic beginning on Friday.


SANTA BARBARA: The Dons are 5-2 after going 2-2 in the Gold Coast Tournament over the weekend. Female Athlete of the Week Rebecca Griffin averaged 24 points in the tournament and is also averaging that many on the year to go along with three rebounds, three steals, two assists and a 78-percent clip from the charity stripe.

The two losses came against Agoura and Chaminade, two very good teams which dominated much of the tournament. Coach Andrew Butcher said that the Dons’ best game of the year was actually the loss to Chaminade.

Along with Griffin were best friends Siondra Pereyra and Anissa Figueroa, who are quite an “exciting” pair.

“They bring a passion to basketball and a passion for life. I think they’d make a really good reality show if you followed them around with some cameras,” said Butcher.

BISHOP DIEGO: The Cardinals finished second in the Bishop Diego/Laguna Blanca Tournament over the weekend, picking up an emotional, hard-fought win over La Reina in Friday’s semifinal before coming out ice cold in Saturday’s final.

“We put so into that game that I think we came up flat on Saturday,” said coach Jeff Burich.

Nonetheless, the Cardinals are off to a 5-4 start and will get a good test against Coast Union — a CIF Central Division champ from last year — on Friday.

DOS PUEBLOS: It’s time for the Chargers to buckle down and dig deep. After star sophomore Jessica Escalante went down with a knee injury on Saturday, the team is down to just six players after projecting 12 to start the season.

Zamora pinch-hit for coach Maynard Pilapil and introduced two of the remaining six. Kristen Gowdy is averaging 10 rebounds per game and Amanda Velarde has been the most committed player on the team, according to a message from Pilapil.

LAGUNA BLANCA: Athletic Director Mike Biermann spoke on behalf of coach Ernie Quiroz, reporting that the Owls are 2-4 after picking up a pair of wins in the Bishop Diego/Laguna Blanca Tournament. Along with Biermann was 3-point specialist Natalie Nomura as well as Megan McAlister, who is averaging 10 points and 11 rebounds per game.


UCSB WOMEN’S BASKETBALL: UCSB Director of Basketball Operations Araceli Gil, a former star player for Butcher’s Dons, happily reported that every eligible player got in Sunday’s blowout win against Cal State Bakersfield and that everyone also scored. The Gauchos are 3-5, but have won three of their last four.

They host UCLA on Tuesday night at 7 p.m.

UCSB MEN’S VOLLEYBALL: UCLA was one of the teams that the Gaucho spikers beat in the preseason, leaving coach Rick McLaughlin excited about his second year at the helm. UCSB lost numerous 5-set matches last season and finished a dismal 4-18.

“We return five starters, and sometimes you wonder if returning five starters from a 4-18 team is a good thing… It’s a good thing,” said McLaughlin.

UCSB hosts its annual tournament, which will feature five of the nation’s top 10 teams, beginning on January 7th.

SBCC MEN’S/WOMEN’S BASKETBALL: The Vaquero men finished fourth in their own tournament, losing the final two games by a combined five points. They are 4-8 on the season.

The SBCC women have been led by Frannie DeAngelis, who is averaging an impressive 18.3 points per game. The Vaqueros are 6-7, with four losses coming against top-20 teams.

SPECIAL OLYMPIAN OF THE MONTH: Chris Powers is a standout in floor hockey, and his attitude has improved so much this year that he has been moved up to a different team, the Dolphins. He was described as a role model to his peers. He also epitomizes the Special Olympics oath:

“Let me win, but if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.”

MIC CHECK: If you’ve attended any luncheons this year, you may have noticed the crackling distortion coming through the microphone at the podium. If you are able to donate an amplifier, please email SBART President Catharine Manset Morreale at [email protected].

Also, the Round Table is searching for a sponsor for the Special Olympian of the Month Award. Please use the same e-mail contact if you are interested.

AN NIGHT WITH TOMMY: UCSB’s Caesar Uyesaka Stadium, named for one of the SBART’s founders, is the baseball home to the Gauchos and the Santa Barbara Foresters.

It needs an upgrade.

Think about it — how cool would it be to have night baseball in Santa Barbara? Lights are one of the many things that the Foresters and Gauchos have in mind.

The two programs have teamed up to make sure it all happens, and have brought in legendary Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda to lend a hand. On February 5th, “A Night With Tommy” will be held as a fund-raiser in town, with Lasorda speaking and all donations going towards the facility upgrade.

The Foresters will also induct their first ever Hall-of-Fame class that evening: Ryan Spilborghs, the late Eric Pintard and Chris Koeper.

Foresters manager Bill Pintard, UCSB Associate Head Coach Tom Myers and UCSB Assistant Athletic Director Tom Hastings were all at Harry’s Monday to announce the event.

All those interested in attending should contact UCSB Events Coordinator for Marketing and Development Christina Baglas at (805) 893-5372 or visit