Rewinding the big plays, performances of 2011


In the numerous athletic events we cover throughout a year, there are certain plays and individual performances that leave a lasting impression.

Presidio Sports is punching the rewind button and taking a look back at some of the most memorable individual plays and game performances we witnessed and reported on in 2011. 

Also be sure to check out a review of our local Sports Figures of the Month from 2011 as well as our Photos of the Year collection.


Wrestling is an intense, emotional sport, and Chad Lampe of Dos Pueblos experienced the agony and ecstasy last season. In a match that decided the dual-meet showdown against Ventura, Lampe dropped an 11-3 decision to Patrick Birkimer. The sophomore took the loss hard, feeling he let his team down.

A couple weeks later, Lampe and Birkimer met again to decided the league championship at 114 pounds. In a Hollywood-type ending, Lampe rallied from a 5-2 deficit and pulled out a dramatic 6-5 decision over the Ventura senior.

An ecstatic Lampe jumped into the arms of coach Anthony Califano and then ran over to his proud father and leaped into his arms. [VIDEO, ARTICLE]

“I know I went out there sick in the dual meet, but I didn’t care,” Lampe said. “I wanted to keep after it. I came here today and I knew it was my day. I put it to him. All the hard work paid off, all of it. It feels great. I love it.”

The high school girls water polo season was full of amazing highlights.

In a quarterfinal match at Santa Barbara’s Tournament of Champions, Santa Barbara was leading 7-5 in the final period when goalie Madeline Trabucco just finished serving an ejection. Laguna Beach’s Jessica Shusko fired a shot at the empty net, but Trabucco hustled back and made a miraculous save.

“I don’t think I have ever seen that before,” Santa Barbara coach Mark Walsh said. “Madeline’s never been ejected before so she didn’t know she could come back in, so she came back in late.”

Dos Pueblos star Kiley Neushul seemed to make brilliant plays every time she jumped in the pool.

In sudden-death overtime against Santa Barbara, Neushul was being tightly guarded by Kelsey O’Brien when she unleashed a powerful backhand shot that stunned the Dons, 11-10.

“The stars were aligned,” an exhausted Neushul said after the goal. [VIDEO, GAME STORY]

DP’s Tiera Schroeder came up huge in the CIF Division 1 semifinals against Laguna Beach. With 1:32 left in sudden-death overtime, she took a pass from Neushul, pump faked and skipped a shot past the goalkeeper for a 14-13 win.

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In the CIF final against Foothill, Schroeder fed Neushul for a highlight-reel goal. As the pass came in from the left wing, Neushul rose out of the water and redirected the ball into the net with a volleyball-like slap. That gave the Chargers a commanding 7-2 lead. Neushul poured in nine goals in a 16-10 victory that produced DP’s fourth straight title and 67th straight win. [VIDEO, GAME STORY]

Bishop Diego had a magical boys basketball season and Elias Muñoz pulled a victory out of the hat with a stunning game-winning shot in double overtime against Shalhevet in the quarterfinals. Muñoz picked up an offensive rebound and knocked down an eight-foot fade-away for a 64-62 win.

Santa Barbara rallied from a 30-13 deficit and won at Buena for the first time since 2002, 54-45.

Sanford Spivey stepped up huge for Santa Barbara in the boys soccer playoffs, scoring nine goals to  help the Dons reach the CIF-SS Division 1 final and win the Division 2 State Regional championship.

Tony Alfaro tallied the goal of the year. [GAME STORY] The Dons center back scored on a 60-yard free kick in the second overtime to beat JSerra in a CIF quarterfinal match on the road.

Carpinteria’s Johnny Requejo showed the quality that earned him a spot in the U.S. Soccer U17 Residency Camp during a CIF playoff game against No. 1 La Cañada. In the pouring rain, Requejo hit a 50-yard, pin-point pass to Ismael Soriano for the game-winning goal in overtime. [VIDEO]

Cate center back Joshua Yaro made a brilliant play that led to the game-clinching goal in the Rams’ 3-1 win over Mammoth in the CIF Division 7 soccer final. Yaro tackled the ball away from a Mammoth attacker in the penalty area and hit a 50-plus-yard clearing ball that bounced right to forward Teddy Mauze, who took it in to complete a hat trick.

Santa Barbara goalkeeper Miguel Solis stood tall between the posts in the CIF semifinals against West Torrance. In a penalty-kick shootout to reach the final, Solis saved one shot and forced three other shooters to misfire, giving the Dons a 2-1 victory.

Spivey scored on a penalty kick and a header off a 35-yard cross from Cooper Allebrand in the first half, and Santa Barbara’s defense shut down Oak Hills in a 3-0 win that gave the Dons their first CIF State Regional soccer championship. [VIDEO]


There was a full-bloom of excitement on the diamond, on the track and in the gym.

The stellar pitching of junior Hannah Harris led Dos Pueblos to the CIF Division 4 softball title. [VIDEO, ARTICLE]

In a tense quarterfinal game against Ocean View, she pitched nine innings of no-hit ball, and Jordan Roberts singled in Chloe Madill in the 11th inning for a 1-0 win.

In the final, Harris held Kaiser to five hits while striking out 10 and the Chargers won 5-0 for their first title since 2005.

“We came out and had fun,” said Harris. “That’s what we did during the entire CIF. We didn’t really worry about what inning it was. We played for the moment. We just played loose and that’s what helped us get this far.”

Thanks to an earlier rainout, baseball fans were treated to a three-game series between rivals Santa Barbara and Dos Pueblos. The series created a buzz in the community.

In the series decider before a big crowd at DP, Santa Barbara’s seniors stepped up and helped the Dons win, 7-3. Colin Eaton homered to tie the game and Collin Dewell put them ahead with a three-run homer — his third round-tripper in three games. Danny Zandona relieved starter Kees t’Sas and pitched out of a no-out, bases-loaded jam in the sixth and picked off a runner in the seventh to earn the save.

After getting shut out by Zandona in the series opener, DP got some clutch performances to win the second game 10-6. Down 5-4, Porferio Avila pitched out of a bases-loaded jam in the sixth. The Chargers erupted for six runs in their half of the inning. Kyle Richardson broke a 5-5 tie with a two-run double.

Both DP and Santa Barbara provided thrills in the playoffs. Johnny Corazza singled in Kyle Richardson for the winning run in the seventh as the Chargers upset top-seeded Cypress, 5-4, in the second round.

Santa Barbara rallied from a 4-0 deficit at Yucaipa and won 7-4 in the second round. Pepe Gil hit a three-run double to tie the score at 4-4 and Lucas Benenati doubled in Gil for the go-ahead run. Zandona pitched out of jam in the seventh to secure the win.

Zandona was huge all season. In one of his best performances, he struck out 12 and didn’t walk a batter in a 2-1 league title-clinching win over Ventura.

Staying on top is tough, but DP’s Nick Scarvelis managed to do it in the shot put. Scarvelis maintained the top mark in CIF-SS track and field all season, and he capped his year by winning the CIF State title with a throw of 64 feet. He is the Chargers’ first state champion and the first winner from the Santa Barbara area since Carpinteria’s Noah Bryant won the shot put in 2002.

It was a big year for high school track and field. At San Marcos, the girls 4×400 relay team of Kaylin Koopmans, Marie Brashears, Hannah McDaniel and Elysia Hodges finished third in the State with a school-record time of 3:46.89. The Royals finished behind powerhouse teams from Serra and Long Beach Poly.

“For them to run a PR at the end is so exciting,” said an emotional San Marcos coach Marilyn Hantgin. “It’s one of the exceptional things that happened.”

At the CIF-SS Divisional Finals, Shane Rowan popped the longest triple jump of his life. With the Cerritos College crowd clapping in unison, Rowan uncorked a jump of 47-3 — two feet beyond his previous best — to win the Division 3 title.

Also winning CIF titles were Scarvelis in the Division 2 shot put with a mark of 63-8.75; Hannah McDaniel of San Marcos in the Division 3 girls high jump at 5-6 and Connor Reck of Santa Ynez in the Division 4 800 with a time of 1:53.84. [VIDEO, ARTICLE]

Hodges finished two-hundredths of a second behind Omhunique Browne of San Marino in the 300 hurdles in Division 3.

The UCSB men’s volleyball team put together an incredible post-season run and advanced to the NCAA Championship. Senior Jeff Menzel had matches of 27 kills, 23 and 28 in wins over BYU, Long Beach State and top-ranked USC to win the MPSF Tournament.

The Gauchos beat USC again in the national semifinals behind an amazing match from sophomore middle Dylan Davis. He hit .882 with 15 kills. Senior Cullen Irons had 15 kills and six blocks.

UCSB lost to Ohio State in five sets in the national final at Penn State.


The community suffered a huge loss with the sudden passing of Jeff Hesselmeyer in late July. Hess, 59, started his coaching career at Dos Pueblos and was entering his third season as varsity football coach at San Marcos. [VIDEO]

Surfer Lakey Peterson had the best summer of her life. She won the U.S. Open Junior title and finished second in the women’s pro final. A week later, she captured the Supergirl Pro Junior to secure her second North America Pro Junior title.

But the biggest accomplishment for 17-year-old Peterson was earning a spot on the ASP Women’s World Tour, the big league of professional surfing. She’ll be the youngest competitor on the tour in 2012.

Walker Bell, 14, tore it up in the weekly Nite Moves swims, winning 11 of the 1-kilometer events at Leadbetter Beach. Bell also won his age group in the Tiburon Mile in the Bay area.

The Santa Barbara Foresters swept the competition to capture the National Baseball Congress World Series in Wichita, Kan. The team started its road to the title by winning a 10-inning game over Hutchinson, Kan., that was played in 103-degree heat.

In the title game, Santa Barbara beat the Kenai (Alaska) Oilers, 1-0. Mitch Mormann was named player of the game for pitching seven-plus shutout innings, allowing just four hits. Right-hander Spenser Messmore retired six straight batters to close out the game.

“I’m more emotional that I was the other two times (this was their third NBC title), because I’m just so proud of this team,” said manager Bill Pintard. “We had more doubts this year than others, but it all just came together and I couldn’t be happier.”


UCSB soccer star Luis Silva had a brilliant final season, scoring 17 goals and dishing out 10 assists. He thrilled the second-largest crowd in UCSB history (13,772) with three goals in a 3-0 win over the University of San Diego.

His best goal was a rocket to beat Cal State Northridge in double overtime on the road. He played a give-and-go with David Opoku and unleashed a shot that couldn’t be stopped by a Northridge defender. The 3-2 win clinched a spot in the Big West Tournament.

Senior Tim Pontius also delivered a highlight-reel goal. The defender caught UC Davis’ goalkeeper out of the net and scored on a shot from 61yards.

SBCC’s men’s soccer team put together a great season, winning the WSC title and advancing to the State Final Four for the first time since 1998. Defender Roberto Santana, a former Santa Barbara High star, was the WSC Player of the Year.

The Vaquero women also won a WSC soccer crown, led by Player of the Year Jessica Domenichelli. She had four straight hat tricks in late October and set school records for goals (27) and points (64) in a season.

In football, Bishop Diego had a terrific campaign, winning the Frontier League and advancing to the CIF East Valley Division semifinals.

Brandon Gonzalez, a four-year starter, was solid all season. One of his best games came against rival Carpinteria. On a stormy night at La Playa Stadium, he rushed for 236 yards and scored two touchdowns to lead the Cardinals to a 39-20 victory. [VIDEO, GAME STORY]

Bothered by a leg injury for most of the preseason, DP’s Josh Bartley returned to full strength just in time for Channel League play. And, what a difference he made. In a key game against Santa Barbara, he erupted for 236 rushing yards to lead the Chargers to victory. After losing seven straight, they would win twice more in league and earn a CIF playoff berth.

Bartley was the first recipient of the Jeff Hesselmeyer Trophy, awarded to the MVP of the Dos Pueblos-San Marcos football game.

A name from Santa Barbara High’s glorious football past was back in the headlines: Cunningham.

Cheroke Cunningham, the son of former Dons’ star A.C. Cunningham and the nephew of ex-NFL players Sam and Randall Cunningham, had an impressive first season as a varsity player. The sophomore rushed for 142 yards and scored two touchdowns in his first game. His best performance was 203 yards rushing and three scores in a win over Pacifica.

He shined in the Big Game against San Marcos, scoring four touchdowns and rushing for 160 yards in Santa Barbara’s 35-21 victory. He became the first sophomore to win the Gary Blades Memorial MVP Award. [VIDEO]

Dos Pueblos ruled in girls volleyball. Lefty Taylor Racich was a powerhouse for the Chargers. She took over the championship match in Santa Barbara’s Tournament of Champions and led DP to a comeback win over Marymount for the first title by a local team since 1988.

It was a fantastic year for girls tennis. Lauren Stratman of DP made history by winning her fourth Channel League singles championship. The last player to accomplish the feat was Amelia White in 1992. Stratman also advance to the semifinals of the CIF Individual Tournament. [VIDEO]

Santa Barbara was dominating in capturing the CIF Division 2 tennis championship. Toughened by playing — and beating — several Division 1 programs, the Dons overwhelmed Newport Harbor in the final, 16-2. It was the sixth title in school history and first since 2003. [VIDEO, ARTICLE]

Carpinteria, led by freshman Kelsie Bryant, had a magical tennis season and reached the CIF Finals for the first time in 34 years.

In cross country, DP’s Bryan Fernandez and Addi Zerrenner both went undefeated in Channel League and won Santa Barbara County Championships. Charlie Dentzel of Bishop Diego had a perfect record in the Frontier League and Carpinteria swept the team titles.

Zerrenner, in her first season as a varsity runner, advanced to the State Meet and finished 10th.

It was only UCSB’s seventh men’s basketball game of the season, but it was an epic. The Gauchos and 18th-ranked UNLV played a thrilling double-overtime game at a raucous and packed Thunderdome. Orlando Johnson scored 36 points and made a huge play to send the game into overtime. Down by two after making the first of two free throws, he intentionally missed the second and tapped the rebound to Greg Somogyi, who scored at the buzzer. [VIDEO HIGHLIGHT]

In the first overtime, UCSB went up by three, but UNLV’s Chace Stanback hit a fallaway, Kobe Bryant-like 3-pointer to force a second overtime.

The Rebels eventually won 94-88 in an instant classic. [VIDEO, GAME STORY]

“I think this will go down as one of the all-time great games between UNLV and UCSB,” Johnson said.