WeissCrax: Perfect Storm

The pool-side bleachers were full for Saturday's TOC final between Santa Barbara High and Dos Pueblos.

The Chargers kept their amazing win streak intact by winning the Santa Barbara Tournament of Champions for a third straight year.

The conditions started shaping up early…

Despite an absolutely gorgeous, sun-drenched summer-like day, a Saturday storm was on the horizon.

The National Weather Service and local meteorologists were on alert, tracking high pressure atmospheric conditions moving briskly toward Southern California.

Direct impact pinpointed Santa Barbara.

Shortly after 5PM, it hit …


Tournament of Champions. Girls’ Water Polo Finals at Santa Barbara High – home of ‘The Dons.’

Only hours earlier, SB survived a hurricane, edging out Los Alamitos, 5-4, literally at the very last second (OK, actually 1.75 seconds — for those scoring at home).

Their reward?

Santa Barbara's girls team was fired up after scoring the first goal in the championship match on Saturday.

Cross-town, undefeated (15-0) powerhouse – the Chargers, already lying-in-wait.

Last time these two teams played each other a coupla weeks ago, the Dons pushed the Chargers to the limit before, ultimately, falling 6-5.

But the question now was: Would the Dons be able to ‘do it’ this time on their home turf — their ‘chlorinated crib,’ if you will – after grueling semifinal & quarterfinal wins?

As for the defending CIF Champs Chargers, well, they just keep breezing along with their often gale force-like offense, powered by a blizzard-like defense.

They can beat opponents in so many ways … and usually do.

“We were ready for anyone. We have a lot of firepower behind us,” Jaime Neushul, a junior and a TOC All-Tournament selection (along with teammate Tiera Schroeder) would later say. Older sis, Kiley would be named MVP.

Winning streak now 51 after defeating Newport Harbor 13-6 in the semis. That’s DP’s second straight win against them after that unreal, come-from-behind-after-being-down-by five-for-a-near-miraculous-8-7 victory for their 2010 CIF Crown.

And about The Streak …

DP's Tahnia Mark, Michelle Grady & Lauren Schackelford (L to R) relax before the TOC Final.

“There is a lot of pressure. But, we are just having fun,” sez Lauren Schackelford, a senior, while chillin’ with Charger teammates watching the consolation game, won by Los Alamitos 9-8.

The championship game starts slow — nothing really happens for the first five minutes.

Maybe it’s because these young athletes are no strangers. Many are friends and already well-acquainted, having played together on club teams over the years. So, no real surprises here for either team or coaching staff.

SB’s Kelsey O’Brien lights up and hits the net with 1:32 remaining to start the scoring.

DP counters with a flurry — two goals to end the first seven-minute period, up 2-1.

Then with four goals in the second quarter to SB’s one, DP leads 6-2 at halftime. They rain in five more goals in the third period.

When the Don’s only score once in the second half, the barometric pressure totally lets up …

It is 11-3 after three quarters – and that’s “the final” for The Finals.

For 1st year DP head girls coach (and long-time DP boys coach), Chris Parrish, it’s just another game at the office …

“What streak?” he said afterwards in response to the ‘gotta-ask’: ‘How’s it feel to be 52-0?’ question.

Dos Pueblos senior Kiley Neushul was named tournament MVP.

“We don’t even talk about it,” he added. “We’re just trying to stay focused.”

About the TOC Finals …

“Santa Barbara had a tough semi-final game. They started pulling their starters in the second quarter. They may have been exhausted after playing the No. 2 team in the country,” Parrish offered.

“I thought we competed well in first quarter,” said SB head coach Mark Walsh. “…. But once it got over six goals, I decided to play the subs since they hadn’t played a lot this weekend. I would have liked to compete against them (DP) a little more today. But I’m not going to dwell on this game when we played so well early in the tournament …. We had four good games this weekend …. So, I’m really happy.”

And this 1-2 All-Santa Barbara TOC finish wasn’t lost on one special spectator …

“This is a very strong statement for the Santa Barbara water polo community,” he said, “It’s no longer ‘the O.C.’”

As in Orange County formerly being The Center of the Water Polo Universe.

This fan’s voice of experience recalled many trips south years ago when his then-young son played for the San Marcos Royals, before graduation and later playing for the University of the Pacific.

Now, Bill Parrish, DP coach Chris’ Dad, is quite content to watch his son’s team play high-octane games against high-caliber local teams, like the Dons, right here in town.

Oh, standby ….


WHAT!?! The Dons and the Chargers are at it again in league play back here on Tuesday?


And just be sure to keep an eye on the weather.

You already know the forecast …


  1. Chargers are dominating! Congrats girls!!