SBART Luncheon: Moropoulos bowled over by text message

Cate volleyball players, from left, Sumner Matthews and Peyton Shelburne, with coach KC Collins, and Scholar-Athlete of the Year Lucia Johnson.

Cate volleyball players, from left, Sumner Matthews and Peyton Shelburne, with coach KC Collins, and Scholar-Athlete of the Year Lucia Johnson.

On Sunday morning, a day after his SBCC football team lost to Glendale in a game for an automatic bowl bid, coach Craig Moropoulos’ cell phone kept buzzing with text messages from a number he didn’t recognize.

Moropoulos had already given his season-ending speech to his players, telling them how they changed the climate in the program by going 7-3 for the second straight year.

Moropoulos learned that he’ll be making more speeches this week to get his team ready for a postseason game. Those text messages he was getting were from a coach at Cerritos College.

“He says, ‘Are you ready to exchange film,’ Moropoulos told the crowd at Monday’s Santa Barbara Athletic Round Table press luncheon at Harry’s Plaza Café. “I said, ‘Wait a second.’ I’m saying, ‘No, we’re not in a bowl game.’ And he says, ‘Check the SCFA (Southern California Football Association) web site because you’re playing us in the Golden State Bowl at Cerritos at 7 o’clock Saturday night.”

It will be SBCC’s first bowl-game appearance in 17 years.

“I’m extremely excited,” Moropoulos said. “They’re one of the better programs in the southern half of California. It will be a great challenge for us, but we’re excited about it. We’re going to go give it shot.”

PREP FOOTBALL

Bishop Diego: Assistant coach Steve Robles said the Cardinals reached 10 wins for the fourth straight season.

He introduced junior quarterback Spencer Stovesand and senior running back/linebacker Abel Gonzalez.

Robles said Stovesand “is a great athlete with great football intelligence and a strong arm.” Stovesand comes from a long line of Bishop alums. His grandfather is the longtime announcer for football and basketball.

Gonzalez, the Athlete of the Week for his performance in the 21-14 win over Antelope Valley in the CIF Northern Division first-round playoff game, has shown great toughness despite dealing with some injuries, Robles said. “Saturday he put it all together.”

The Cardinals travel to Pac 5 League co-champion Atascadero for a quarterfinal game on Friday night

“They’re gig and physical,” Robles said. “The key for us is to compete, eliminate mistakes and play with speed and determination.”

WOMEN’S BASKETBALL

Westmont: Kirsten Moore expresses her excitement about this year’s team.

“I’m really optimistic about my team,” she said. “We have a chance to be a really good basketball team this year. It’s really fun.”

She said newcomers like junior point guard Kristin Karr, a transfer from Idaho, and freshman post player Lauren McCoy have raised the level of play on the team

The Warriors have jumped head first into the season, playing an exhibition game at UCLA and playing four games in four days in Oregon, including a game against the University of Oregon.

“We have not eased into the season; we’ve gone from zero to 60 right away,” Moore said. “I took the team to Oregon, where played four games in four days, which is not the smartest thing a coach can do to your team scheduling-wise. But I did it with anticipation of trying to train my girls from the beginning for the national tournament. When we won national championship, we had to win five games in six days.”

The Warriors host the four-team Best Western Plus Carpinteria Inn Classic on Friday and Saturday at Murchison Gym. The tourney guests are Goshen, Ind., Menlo College and The Master’s. Westmont plays Goshen on Friday at 5:30 and Menlo on Saturday at 7:30 p.m.

SBCC: The Vaqueros host their MTXE (mental toughness, extra effort) tournament Thursday through Saturday. They open against Solano at 8 p.m.

GIRLS VOLLEYBALL

Cate: Assistant coach KC Collins said all the goal-setting and hard work is paying off for the Rams, who are in the CIF Division 4A semifinals on Tuesday. The Rams host Summit High of Fontana on Tuesday at 6 p.m.

Collins introduced two key players to the Rams’ success, Peyton Shelburne (the Athlete of the Week) and senior captain Sumner Matthews.

WOMEN’S WATER POLO

SBCC: “If you want to talk about a Cinderella season… When you think you’re down and out and find a way to overachieve, that’s what our season is all about,” said coach Chuckie Roth, who guided the first-year program to a Western State Conference championship and a regional playoff win.

Roth recalled telling his assistant at the beginning of the year this was going to be their best coaching job.

Kaitlyn Wentz Fitzgerald and Rocio Fesembeck were the pivotal contributors in the team’s success. Fitzgerald, who holds an architecture degree from Cal Poly, scored 45 goals and had a “tremendous impact. We don’t achieve what we do without her. She played every minute of every game,” said Roth.

On Fesembeck: “She’s a phenomenal offensive talent but also phenomenal defensive talent. We don’t do what we do if we don’t have Rocio in the water,” said the coach. Fesembeck led the team with 102 goals.

San Marcos senior captain goalie Jenna Phreaner, left, with freshman protege Sophia Trumbull.

San Marcos senior captain goalie Jenna Phreaner, left, with freshman protege Sophia Trumbull.


GIRLS WATER POLO

San Marcos: Roth said the leadership qualities, integrity and character of his senior players has trickled down to the other players in the program.

Roth singled out goalie Jenna Phreaner as one of those senior leaders. Phreaner signed a Letter of Intent with UC Irvine.

Roth introduced freshman Sophie Trumbull. A big “Star Wars” fan, Roth called Trumbull the apprentice to Phreaner, like Luke Skywalker is to Obi Wan Kenobi.

“For every master, there is an apprentice,” Roth said. “Sophie Trumbull, she is the apprentice. She has big shoes to fill, and she works really hard.”

Santa Barbara: The Dons has only three starters back from last year’s final four team — they’ve reached the CIF semifinals the last two years.

“We have only 10 girls who have played water polo in our program right now and eight come in with club experience,” coach Mark Walsh said. “We’re pretty raw and our numbers are pretty low, but they’re buying in and doing a good job.”

Santa Barbara has one senior, three juniors, one sophomore and three freshmen. “We have three girls old enough to drive.”

The Dons jump into the deep in right away, scrimmaging against powerhouses Laguna Beach and Newport Harbor before opening the season against Foothill.

“We’ll be challenged right from the start,” Walsh said. “We’ll figure out where were at and what we need to work on before league.”

Walsh brought junior Jessie Ransone and senior goalie senior Siena Goggia. He said Ransone is a quick, determined, strong player. “She’s a huge part of our success.”

Goggia, who signed with Concordia University, started playing water polo four years ago and played goalie for the first time last season.

“It’s amazing to me how far she’s come and she keeps getting better,” said Walsh.

COLLEGE VOLLEYBALL

SBCC: The Vaqueros have won four straight and 15 of their last 16 matches. A victory over Cuesta on Wednesday will give them the outright Western State Conference title.

COLLEGE SOCCER

Westmont: The Warriors enter the NAIA National Tournament on an eight-match winning streak. They host Ottawa University of Kansas on Saturday in a first-round match.

“We’re in good form going into the national tournament,” said assistant coach Chantel Cappuccilli.

SBCC women: The Vaqueros clinched their second WSC North title in four years. They’ve won eight matches and are 9-0 at home. They’ll host a regional playoff match on Saturday.

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