THE NEXT LEVEL: Former Gaucho star headed to the MLS Cup

Eric Avila has a chance to become the third UCSB soccer star from the 2006 College Cup national championship team to win a MLS title.

Avila plays for FC Dallas, which routed the L.A. Galaxy 3-0 in Sunday’s Western Conference championship match to reach the MLS Cup for the first time. Dallas will play the Colorado Rapids in the title match.

Gaucho players have been a part of the last two MLS Cup championship teams: goalkeeper Kyle Reynish with 2009 winner Real Salt Lake and defender Andy Iro with the 2008 champion Columbus Crew.

Although he didn’t see any action in the win over the Galaxy at the Home Depot Center, Avila played a huge part in the FC Dallas playoff run. His 88-minute goal beat Real Salt Lake 2-1 in the playoff opener, and FC Dallas went on to take the two-game, total-goals series 3-2.

DEALY HONORED: Kristen Dealy was named the Big East Volleyball Player of the Week after leading the Irish to a pair of wins of Rutgers and Seton Hall.

The junior outside hitter from Santa Barbara High recorded 11 kills and nine digs in a sweep over Rutgers and she blasted 20 kills and picked up 15 digs in a three-set win over Seton Hall. It was Dealy’s fourth career 20-plus kill output and 28th double-double. She is one of just a handful of Irish players to knock down 20+ kills in a three-set match and the first since 2006.

The award is the second of Dealy’s career, as she was one of four Irish players to win the award during the 2009 campaign.

Dealy and the Irish started play in the Big East Tournament on Tuesday against Villanova.

BLUE HEN HEAVEN: Karina Evans, a 2010 Dos Pueblos graduate, has contributed to the success of the Delaware women’s volleyball team.

Evans is playing middle attacker for the 24-5 Blue Hens, the regular-season champions of the Colonial Athletic Association. She had match highs of eight blocks assists and nine total blocks against Towson State on Oct. 15 and seven block assists against Northeastern on Oct. 24.

Evans and the Blue Hens look to nail down an automatic NCAA Tournament berth this weekend at the CAA Tournament, which they are hosting. They play Virginia Commonwealth in the semifinals.

SOLID FIRST YEAR: Briana Lopez enjoyed an exciting freshman season playing soccer at South Carolina State.

The Santa Barbara High graduate scored 11 goals and had eight assists for a team-best 30 points on a team that finished 13-6-1. She was named the Newcomer of the Year in the Great West Conference East Division and was selected to the division’s all-conference team.

South Carolina State lost 3-2 to North Dakota in the GWC Tournament semifinals.

HIGH ACHIEVER: Dominique Yahyavi of the Stanford men’s soccer team was named to the ESPN Academic All-District and the Pac 10 All-Academic first team.

The former SBHS star had a breakthrough season, leading the Cardinal with six goals and 13 points. He has three game-winning goals on the season, including two in 1-0 wins. The senior maintains a 3.75 GPA in computer science.

STONE-AGE: Former Dos Pueblos basketball star Julyan Stone enters his senior season at University Texas-El Paso.

The 6-6 guard scored 13 points, had eight rebounds and five assists in a win over Mercer on Sunday. He tallied 12 points and 11 rebounds in a season-opening loss to Pacific.

Stone ranks second all-time in assists at UTEP (530 entering the season) behind Tim Hardaway (563).


  1. Technically whether Colorado or FC Dallas wins UCSB will have a former player getting a championship. Though he has been out due to injury, Ciaran O’Brien is still on Colorado’s roster.

    Now I’d prefer to see Avi win it, but just saying a Gaucho will win again no matter what.