Santa Barbara to overflow with soccer matches

If you’re allergic to soccer, leave town immediately.

There will be so much soccer played this weekend that nearly every field in town will be occupied with the world’s most popular sport. UCSB’s Harder Stadium will be the biggest stage, as an NCAA National Champion will be crowned at the College Cup.

But at Monday’s Santa Barbara Athletic Round Table Luncheon, San Marcos High administrator Aaron Solis reminded everyone that the high school ranks will also invade Santa Barbara this weekend. The Soccertown High School Showcase will feature 56 boys teams from Friday to Sunday, including three defending CIF champions. Almost all of the local teams will be participating.

“We’re basically playing games at all the local schools —San Marcos, DP, Santa Barbara, Laguna, Bishop, Cate and Carpinteria in addition to Rob Field and Girsh Park,” said Solis. “The quality of teams in this tournament is simply amazing.”

Three defending CIF Champions — Santa Barbara, Corona del Mar and JSerra — wil be compting as well as all of the local schools. Stay updated with brackets and game times at

ALUMNI GAME COMING BACK: Thousands packed Peabody Stadium this summer as decades of former players from Santa Barbara and San Marcos battled to a 10-10 tie. Dons representative Bobby Bisquera and San Marcos alum Taylor Talkington stepped to the podium to announce that the sequel, dubbed “Vindication at Valley Stadium,” will be held on May 28th, 2011. The event, like last year, will benefit the athletic programs at both schools.

“We’re gonna try to make this a bigger game and entertainment, and we hope everyone comes out to support both programs,” said Bisquera.

HICKS HAS DEBUT: Jelani Hicks, a 2005 DP graduate, is off to a fantastic start in his first year as the Charger girls basketball coach. Led by Tournament MVP Chiara DiMarco, DP defeated Santa Barbara High in the Lompoc Tournament championship game to improve to 4-0 and take the title.

“We’re getting tested early, and hopefully it’ll pay off when we get to league,” he said in his first luncheon as a coach, also introducing Jessica Escalante.

Hicks said that the defense of DiMarco and Escalante has set the tone, and “as they go, we go.” Dons coach Andrew Butcher said the same about his three captains — Tess Emerson, Zoe Echternacht and Riley Lloyd — who he brought to Harry’s.

“I brought three players here, and these three players will determine how we do this year,” he said.

THE FEW, THE PRIDE, THE LIONS: Providence Hall put that little spin on the motto of the Marine Corps slogan to describe their two basketball teams, which feature just eight players apiece in their first season of CIF competition. It’s been a great start for Keith Liberto’s boys team, which is 2-1 so far. He brought JT Royston, who is averaging 23 points per game. The two wins were huge, but the loss against Buckley School was ugly.

Wonder why you didn’t read about it earlier?

“”If we lose by 50, we don’t call it in to the newspaper,” joked Liberto.


Annie Thwing is a standout on the San Marcos cross country and track teams for more than just her athletic prowess.

“Annie’s somebody who is just the epitome of sportsmanship, leadership, great work ethic and great character. Whenever she’s out there she’s someone who we can completely depend on to get the job done and have a positive attitude about it,” said her coach, Brook Bauer. “I’m very proud of her for getting this award.”

Bauer added that whether she wins or loses, Thwing is the type of competitor who interacts with opponents after meets, and that everyone respects her for it. Thwing thanked the Round Table, her parents and her coaches.


Solomon is the captain of the DP wrestling team, nicknamed “The Hebrew Hammer” as a reference to his Jewish faith. He carries a 4.5 GPA and scored Cum Laude on the National Latin Exam in his freshman and junior years. He also served as Junior Class President last year, and has spent time in New Orleans rebuilding houses after Hurricane Katrina. He plans on becoming a teacher.

Last year, he won a crucial postseason match with five seconds remaining, allowing him to advance to the CIF Masters Meet and was an All-Tri Counties first-team selection.

“I don’t know what it’s like for other coaches, but it’s interesting having an athlete that’s way smarter than I am on the team. He’s very patient with me,” said coach Anthony Califano.


Chiara DiMarco, Dos Pueblos Basketball — The junior guard averaged 17 points per game while leading Dos Pueblos to Lompoc Tournament title over Santa Barbara High, also earning MVP honors at the tourney.

“It’s fabulous to see a player get better every year. She’s the type of player where I don’t think I’ve ever seen her complain to a referee or do anything but go all out. If you guys can go watch her play, she’s just the type of athlete you want to see playing high school basketball,” said Dons coach Andrew Butcher.

James Nunnally, UCSB Basketball — The junior had a monster week, scoring a career-high 29 in a win over LMU before dropping 34 just a few days later in a victory at Santa Clara.