Lacrosse aplenty this weekend in Santa Barbara

Eighty lacrosse teams are descending on Santa Barbara this weekend to compete in the inaugural Santa Barbara Showdown held at the polo fields in Carpinteria.

“This is a great event for youth lacrosse in Santa Barbara County to be hosting with local organizers,” said co-director Paul Ramsey.

The tournament is under the direction of Ramsey, the head coach of the UCSB women’s team, and Rick Lehman, the President of Santa Barbara Lacrosse Association.

Overall, more than 3,500 athletes and family members will arrive in the general Santa Barbara area for the three-day tournament. Among the eighty teams are five boys teams and two girls teams representing Santa Barbara.

“Our goal is to give the people of the local area an opportunity to play lacrosse in their own backyard. With this in mind, we wanted to put Santa Barbara on the map as a place that is growing lacrosse,” reflected Lehman.

The Showdown opens with a 3 p.m. Friday afternoon exhibition game, a Chumash blessing of the field and a second exhibition game. Regular tournament play starts on Saturday morning and continues into Sunday’s championship games.

In the boys divisions, there will be 40 teams that will compete for championships across seven divisions. On the boys side, there will be five teams representing Santa Barbara. This includes the U-9, U-11,U-13, U-15, and U-17 SB Elite teams coached by Lehman. These teams are made up of all-star caliber players from around the local area.

The SB Elite’s U-17 team is led by Will Beithtol, a defenseman from Santa Barbara High. Beithtol made the West Coast Stars Sectional team during the summer. On the U-15 team, look-out for the outstanding play of attackman Justin Lehman. The impact player was selected for the West Coast Stars National Team over the summer. For the U-13 team, make note of Jackson Peters, an attackman/midfielder who has improved his skill with virtually every aspect of the game. Lastly, Miles Sedlin is a game-changing midfielder for the SB Elite’s U-11 team.

The headlining teams in the girls tournament include BearLax from Northern California, the Pacific Falcons from San Diego, and the Akwesasne Attack from upstate New York.

“Anyone who is interested in watching entertaining lacrosse should come out and see these quality teams play against one another,” Ramsey said.

On the girls side, there will be two teams representing Santa Barbara. This includes the 15/16 and 16/17 UCSB Recruit Teams. These teams are made up of Gauchos’ recruiting prospects from across the nation. To be eligible to play for the UCSB recruit team, the girls must not be playing on another club team attending the tournament. Both recruit teams will be coached by Ramsey’s assistant coaches. Players from the class of 2016 will be split onto either team depending on positions available.

“By the end of this weekend, the girls will know whether they like the style of our coaching,” added Ramsey. “I’m hoping that the players gain an experience from this tournament that will swing them closer to coming to our program.”

The 16/17 UCSB Recruit team will be playing in the Girls Under 18 Division. This team is made up of 16 players who are either sophomores or juniors. There are five local prospects on this Gauchos’ recruit team. This includes two players from Santa Barbara High: Sofia Tate and Sophia Dephlippo; two players from San Marcos: Kellen Peddicord, and Allison Bliss; and one player from Rigetti: Alicia Foster.

The 15/16 UCSB Recruit team will be playing in the Girls Under 19 Division. This team is made up of 18 players who are either juniors or seniors in high school.
The Gauchos’ recruit team is led by Claire Bernardo, an outstanding defender from Glendale High School. Other notable players include attackers Lexie Meanor
from Pennsylvania and Katie Dennis from Maryland.

When asked about Bernardo’s play, Coach Ramsey responded “Claire is very quick and tenacious on defense. She is able to maintain good body-positioning while playing aggressively.”