The Next Level: Evans helps Delaware return to NCAA Tournament

Karina Evans is going back to the NCAA women’s volleyball tournament with the University of Delaware.

Evans, a sophomore middle blocker from Dos Pueblos, helped the Blue Hens win their second straight Colonial Athletic Association tournament title with a five-set win over Virginia Commonwealth.

The Blue Hens trailed 2-1 before winning the last two sets to earn an automatic NCAA Tournament berth. Set scores were 24-26, 25-17, 15-25, 25-18, 15-9.

Evans played a big role in a five-set semifinal win over James Madison, putting down 12 kills.

“Karina Evans turned the match around for us with her hitting,” said coach Bonnie Kenny. “They didn’t respect her as a hitter and we gave it to her once and she annihilated that ball. That was a big time hit. Then (setter) Renee (Tomko) got comfortable with her and kept giving it to her. She opened it up so our outside hitters had a one-on-one block. She was the difference in game three, by far.”

Kristen Dealy earned all-tournament honors for leading Notre Dame to the Big East Tournament final. The fifth-seeded Fighting Irish, seeking to become the lowest-seeded team to ever win the tourney, were swept by No. 2 Cincinnati.

The former Santa Barbara High star had the distinction of earning all-tournament honors for the fourth time.

The loss leaves Notre Dame at 17-12 and makes it a longshot to gain a NCAA Tournament bid.

Sammie Brown, Notre Dame’s sophomore setter from Dos Pueblos, talked about what Dealy and senior libero Frenchy Silva have meant to the team.

“It’s hard to overstate how important those two have been to our program through their years here,” Brown said, “So it was definitely a bittersweet ending for them. They’ll really be missed.”

Dealy, an outside hitter, earned second-team All-Big East honors. She posted 122 kills (2.39/set) and 160 digs (3.14/set) for Notre Dame during the conference season.

For her career, she recorded 513 kills (2.71/set) and 626 digs (3.31) in 54 Big East matches. Her .533 attack percentage. (16 kills on 30 errorless swings) at West Virginia earlier this season was a career-best clip for in league play.

Stanford sophomore Carly Wopat (Dos Pueblos) tied her career-best with18 kills and hit a season-best .692 in a five-set loss to Oregon last Friday. On Saturday, she had a career-high 11 blocks in the Cardinal’s sweep of Oregon State.

Volleyball Magazine has come out with its top 35 players in the history of the sport in the United States, and former Santa Barbaran Karch Kiraly is No. 1 on the list.

The list combined indoor and beach volleyball accomplishments.

Kiraly excelled in both, winning Olympic gold medals with the U.S. men’s national indoor squad and in beach doubles.

Other local players on the list are 2008 Olympic beach volleyball gold medalist Phil Dalhausser at No. 6 and his partner, Todd Rogers, at No. 17, and long-time UCSB women’s coach and beach legend Kathy Gregory at No. 34.

Kelsey Soos, a former SBCC and Santa Ynez High volleyball star now competing at College of Idaho, was named to the All-Cascade Collegiate Conference first team. Soos is Idaho’s setter and is playing in the NAIA National Tournament.

Sanford Spivey, a freshman defender for the Boston University men’s soccer team, made a very good first impression in Division 1. The former Santa Barbara High star was named to the All-Rookie Team in the America East Conference.

“I don’t think anybody on our team improved as much as Sanford did from preseason to the end of the season,” Boston coach Neil Roberts told the school paper, the Daily Free Press. “If the first day of camp you told me that Sanford Spivey would start and play in just about every minute in every game there is no way I would have believed that.”

Boston went 9-9 and 5-2 in conference play.

Tyler Schleich, Spivey’s teammate on last year’s Dons team that won the CIF Division 2 Regional title, started at right back for Bates College, a NCAA Division 3 school. He had three assists on the season.

In football, former Santa Barbara High and SBCC standout quarterback John Uribe enjoyed a solid first season at Lindenwood University in Missouri. He passed for 2,204 yards and 19 touchdowns and completed 60 percent of his passes. The yardage and TD passes rank fourth in program history.

Lindsay Steinriede, a former UCSB soccer player, won the 2011 ASP Women’s World Longboard championship at Hainan Island, China.

Steinriede lost in the quarterfinals but amassed enough points to clinch the title.

“I feel awesome!” Steinriede said. “I knew I didn’t have control of the outcome so I was just letting it happen, and it just went my way so I’m really happy. One of the first things I said to my husband after I lost was that I’ve had a lot worse things happen to me; I was just trying to stay positive. To be able to still be in the title race was awesome, and to actually win it … well, it’s just sinking in and I think I’m going to cry.”