Who to Watch list for fall prep sports

Who to Watch Prep Sports

Presidio Sports covers eight local high schools that compete in the CIF Southern Section.

 

The fall season of high school sports gets rolling after Labor Day weekend. To prepare fans for the action in girls volleyball, girls tennis, boys water polo and boys and girls cross country, Presidio Sports has put together a “Who-to-Watch” list of the standout athletes in each sport.

GIRLS VOLLEYBALL

The talent pool in the area might be the deepest it’s been in years, with several players coming off strong 2013 seasons. The three Channel League schools are loaded with returnees.

Santa Barbara High has All-Channel League MVP Lexi Rottman running the attack again at setter. Rottman is a three-year varsity player and a fierce competitor.

Senior setter Lexi Rottman leads an experienced  Santa Barbara High girls volleyball teaml League..

Senior setter Lexi Rottman leads an experienced Santa Barbara High girls volleyball team.

Rottman will have plenty of weapons ripping her sets. Junior Jessyca Beksa is coming off a great summer in which she won four of the five Tuesday youth beach tournaments at East Beach. “Jessyca has put in a tremendous amount of time this year on the beach and it has really helped her overall game,” said coach John Gannon.

Junior Lourda Weger returns on the outside. She was a consistent point producer for the Dons last season.

Dane Miller, a three-year varsity player, steps into the libero spot. “She has waited patiently behind Bailey Roach and is now ready to show her talents in the back row,” said Gannon.

The Dons are so experienced and balanced this season that Gannon is moving first-team all-league outside hitter Jackie Starnes to the opposite position. Caroline Anderson and Katie Gallivan return at middle blockers.

San Marcos is loaded with returnees, too. Leading the way are senior captains and outside hitters Emily Allen and Anika Wilson.

Coach Erica Menzel Downing says Allen “is looking the strongest I have ever seen her. She is an important part to our success this year. She is a main passer and one of our go-to players.”

Wilson is coming off a successful summer playing on the beach; she’s committed to play sand volleyball at Pepperdine. “She will set the tone defensively and control our passing,” said Downing.

Anika Wilson is an all-around player for San Marcos.

Anika Wilson is an all-around player for San Marcos.

Emma Harrah returns at middle blocker. “She is a very strong blocker. We are going to look to her to challenge the other middles,” said Downing.

Sarah Kang will be playing libero and serving specialist for the Royals.

Chloe Allen is powerhouse on the outside. The junior has already committed to UCSB. “She is going to be doing a lot for us this year. I predict she will lead in digs and kills,” said Downing.

The Royals have an energetic sophomore setter in Gabi Peoples. “She loves the game of volleyball and you can tell when you’re watching her play,” said Downing.

Dos Pueblos returns its top attackers: McKenna Goss, Natalie Klapp and Hillary Bean, and libero Sam Sander.

The 6-1 Goss has committed to Boston College. “She is very versatile so we can play her in just about any position,” coach Todd Garrett said. “We are excited to have her as a senior leader of our team this year.”

The athletic Klapp can crack spikes from the outside and make plays in the back row.

“Natalie will anchor our back row defense and our serve receive,” Garrett said of the senior. “She has a powerful arm and we look forward to her contribution in the front row as well. We are also excited to have her leadership on and off the court.”

Bean, a 5-11 opposite, gives DP another strong attacker. “We are excited because we think her contributions will be huge,” said Garrett.

Sander’s athleticism makes her an outstanding libero. “She displays an incredible work ethic and sets the competitive tone in practice. It is no wonder she is a three-sport varsity athlete at DP,” said Garrett.

Laguna Blanca returns key players off last year’s CIF runner-up squad. Outside hitter and captain Hannah White is a four-year varsity player and three-year starter. “She’s a great defensive player, passer and has a wide array of shots on offense,” said coach Jim Alzina.

Junior setter Phoebe Madsen was All-CIF last year. A three-year starter, she is quick and fearless. Junior Dani Abrams returns at middle blocker.

Cate will be led by Peyton Shelburne and Delaney Mayfield. Shelburne, a three-year varsity player, is solid all around. “Peyton doesn’t let the ball drop on defense and is smart at the net, her big approach and solid arm swing allows her to find open spots on the court,” said coach Greg Novak.

Mayfield made a strong impression as a freshman last year. “Delaney is aggressive and big at the net. Her versatility allows her to swing from all three front row positions,” said Novak.

Bishop Diego coach Jason Donnelly is excited about senior libero Erin Linehan, a three-year varsity player, and senior opposite Judith Angulo, “a hard-hitting lefty who will be carrying a big offensive load for us this year,” he said.

At Providence, Ozie LeSage is an experienced, all-around player. “She has a contagious positive attitude and celebrates her teammates’ successes more than her own,” said coach Laura Trudelle.

Blake Parrish - Dos Pueblos boys water polo

Dos Pueblos is counting on a big season from senior Blake Parrish. He was the Channel League MVP last year.

BOYS WATER POLO

Dos Pueblos has one of the top players in the CIF Southern Section in senior Blake Parrish. A four-year varsity starter, Parrish scored more than 100 goals last year “and was arguably the best all-around defender in our defense,” said coach Chris Parrish, Blake’s dad. “This year, I would expect to see his scoring output increase and also his assists in order to make this team successful.”

The Chargers also return their No. 2 scorer, Jake Griffin. “He is our second-best 2-meter and perimeter defender,” coach Parrish said. “With so many teams focusing on shutting down Blake, Jake will likely get a lot of open looks.”

Santa Barbara returns three starters, Chris Gaffney, Adam Gross and Sawyer Rhodes. The lefthanded Rhodes is the “team’s fastest swimmer and one of the better defenders and shooters,” said coach Mark Walsh.

Walsh called Gaffney “one of our smarter players.” He’ll play more on the perimeter this season after playing primarily center defender as a freshman.

Gross scored a lot of important goals in his freshman season for the Dons. “He has improved his speed and strength,” said Walsh.

San Marcos has four returning players: seniors Kameron Bebb and Ben Hauschild, junior George Kuesis and junior goalie Jack Palmer. Coach Jeff Ashton is counting on contributions from sophomores Miles Cole, Jesse Morrison and Spencer Wood.

Senior captain Zack Allen is a returning first team All-Tri-Valley league player for Cate, and one of the fastest players in the section, according to coach Nathan Aldredge. “He’s got a great outside shot, is solid defensively, and will definitely be a top performer on both sides of the ball this year in league.”

New Carpinteria coach Matt Organista has experience with Noah Reed, Chris Fedderson and Sergio Castaneda. Malek Mehai, Sal Briceno and Forrest Van Stein are also key players.

CROSS COUNTRY

Ruth Hunter burst on the scene as a freshman for Santa Barbara, qualifying for the CIF finals. Coach Olivia Perdices is expecting another big season for her. “She had a solid summer has set some big goals for this year,” said Perdices.

San Marcos returns its top girls runner in Adilene Aldapa. She qualified for the CIF State Meet and finished 20th overall. On the boys side, Walker Odell returns after helping the Royals qualify for the State Meet for the first time in program history.

Brothers Ian and Chris Wasjutin are back after helping Dos Pueblos to a third-place at the State Meet last fall. They’ll be joined by some talented youngsters. Co-coach Kyle Visin said sophomore Hunter Clark has make big strides and incoming freshman Josh McGregor “is a very young talent.” He ran well in Nite Moves races this summer.

The Charger girls return most of their team. The McClure sisters, senior Elaine and sophomore Natalie, lead the way. Christina Rice, Racquel Fygenson and Tatianna Schluep give DP a fast and experienced starting lineup.

GIRLS TENNIS

Carpinteria seniors Kelsie Bryant, Lesly Zapata and Natalie Saito are coming off winning a second straight CIF team title.

Kelsie Bryant - Carpinteria High School Tennis

Kelsie Bryant has helped Carpinteria win two CIF tennis titles.

Bryant enters her senior season with an amazing record of 184-5. Coach Charles Bryant – her dad – says Kelsie’s serve has been clocked at 105 mph. “She has an all-around game and she can play any style and against any style, just a very complete player,” he said.

Zapata is a two-time league doubles champion. “For someone who only plays tennis three-four months out of the year, she is scary good,” coach Bryant said. “She has a great serve that can take her opponent out wide, setting up her partner for an easy volley; powerful, consistent ground strokes and great positioning on the court.

Bryant said Saito plays with much more control with her shot selection and pace. “She moves well, can get anything back and is doing a great job of making you beat versus her beating herself with unforced errors.”

Santa Barbara High has power-packed singles lineup with seniors Mattea Kilstofte, Summer Garrison and Madison Hale. Kilstofte went 41-5 last year and won the league singles title. Garrison, who spent her junior year away from Santa Barbara, was the league MVP in 2012. Hale was the league runner-up in 2013 and posted a dual match record of 38-9.

At Cate, McKenna Madden is in her third year as a singles player and was part of last year’s team that reached the CIF quarterfinals. She qualified for the CIF Individuals. Julia Gan transferred in from North Carolina last year and went 21-0 in the regular season and won the Condor League singles title.

GIRLS GOLF

Megan Caird returns for Dos Pueblos after winning the Channel League individual title last year. “She loves competing, loves the game,” said coach Rob Schiff.

Channel League champion Megan Caird returns for Dos Pueblos.

Channel League champion Megan Caird returns for Dos Pueblos.

Schiff also is excited about freshman Isabella Vigna. “She has a lot of ability, great attitude, and could compete for top spots in league. She has pretty polished skills for a freshman.”

Dos Pueblos will be looking for its 17th straight outright or shared league title.

Senior Kelsey Gellert and incoming freshman Mallory Sestak will lead San Marcos this season, according to coach Sarah Ashton.

Santa Barbara has one returning player in Bridgett Gerlach and adds Midland School transfer Sophie Lebow, the younger sister of former Dons star Shane Lebow, now a senior at Stanford.

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