SBART Luncheon: City volleyball rivals know each other well

Santa Barbara High volleyball coach John Gannon with his sophomore standouts Linnea Skinner, left, and Erika Foreman.

Santa Barbara High volleyball coach John Gannon with his sophomore standouts Linnea Skinner, left, and Erika Foreman.

It’s big-game week for local Channel League girls volleyball teams.  Santa Barbara High travels to the Thunderhut on Tuesday night to take on San Marcos and plays Thursday at Dos Pueblos.

There are no secrets when these teams face off. The coaches know all the personnel and have watched them play.

As San Marcos assistant coach Tina Brown talked about impact players Chloe Allen, Gabi Peoples and Jenna MacFarlane at Monday’s Santa Barbara Athletic Round Table press luncheon, she paused and said, “I probably shouldn’t be telling who all are studs are and strategies because we play John Gannon (of Santa Barbara) on Tuesday.”

When Gannon came up to the podium, he cracked: “So, I wrote down stud outside hitter on my paper.”

Gannon said he was watching video of the Royals on his ipad before falling asleep on the couch. “But I woke up in the fifth set against Westlake.” San Marcos won that set to complete a comeback.

“With Tina, we’ve been going at it for 10-plus years now,” Gannon said. “This is my 10th year at Santa Barbara. She was at DP when they were very strong; she’s at San Marcos and they’re very strong. I think there is a common denominator there.”

Allen (the Athlete of the Week), a powerful outside hitter, leads the Royals attack.

“I’ve coached for a while here in Santa Barbara and I think she’s probably one of the best outside hitters I’ve seen come through the city,” raved Brown of the UCSB commit. “She’s a fantastic athlete, a great leader and a great role model for all the kids in our program.”

The Royals have an athletic setter in Peoples. “She’s really fun to watch,” said Brown. “We have to kind of rein her in every once in a while because she likes to do a lot. She runs a great offense for us.”

Brown said MacFarlane has stepped up to become one of the primary passers for the Royals and has taken on a lot of responsibility.

San Marcos is coming off a third-place finish at the 36-team La Jolla Classic in San Diego and a sweep against Ventura in the Channel League opener at the Thunderhut.

Gannon introduced skilled sophomores Erika Foreman and Linnea Skinner, calling them “the present and the future of our program.” Skinner is a setter and Foreman an outside hitter. They combined to win a beach “AA” rating a few weeks ago.

“The future is bright for us,” said Gannon.

Providence: Former San Marcos High star Dave Goss returned to the luncheon for the first time since his prep days in the late 1980s. He said the last time he was there he and current Round Table president Cara Gamberdella were Royals student-athletes.

Goss said it’s been a struggle finding a gym to practice. “This year is really challenging because at St. Mary’s Seminary they’re selling that property, so we really have to be creative to find gym space.”

Goss introduced team leaders Katie Hodson and Madison Niessen. He said Hodson is the “heart and soul” of the team. He also pointed out that the program received a huge boost by hiring Luke Sunukjian to coach the JV team.

Bishop Diego: Defensive specialist Isabella Gregson and setter Celeste Cardenas have been key players in Bishop’s success, according to coach John Sener. He said Gregson is probably the best female athlete on campus. “We’re lucky enough to have her on the volleyball court the last three years. She is the anchor of our back row.”

He said Cardenas has “grown up immensely on the volleyball court. This is a player I talked about being a lion and learning how to roar on the court. It’s a great pleasure to see her improve as an athlete and help the team become more successful.”

The Cardinals are coming off a third-place finish at the Carpinteria Tournament.

SBCC: The Vaqueros roared back from a 7-0 deficit in a 15-point fifth set against Golden West and pulled out a 22-20 win in the consolation final at the L.A. Pierce Brahma Invitational.

“They just never quit,” assistant coach Lisa Gera said. “They kept pushing and pushing. It was great for our team, and we learned a lot.”

The Vaqueros (11-2), ranked sixth in the state, play host to No. 3 College of the Canyons on Wednesday at 6 p.m. Gera said all high school students with a school ID will get in free. “We want to pack the gym.”

Gera introduced Hillary Bean of Dos Pueblos. She comes off the bench to play defensive specialist.

Westmont: The 16th-ranked Warriors lost in five at top-ranked Biola and four at No. 10 Vanguard.

“We definitely can compete with the top teams in the nation,” coach Patti Cook said.

The Warriors are 11-4 overall and 4-2 in the GSAC, with all the defeats coming against teams in the top 25.

Cook lauded the play of libero Kami Troesh and middle Libby Dahlberg.

Laguna Blanca: Coach Jason Donnelly said talent is not a problem with his team. “The six inches between the ears is where we’re learning to compete a little more consistently.”

Donnelly brought standout middle blocker Dani Abrams and setter/outside hitter Phoebe Madsen. They’ve both committed to Division 3 programs, Abrams to Pomona Pitzer and Madsen to Claremont McKenna College.

Carpinteria: Miranda Marquez is an explosive outside hitter and Gabriella Rigonati plays middle blocker for the Warriors,” said Rick Candaele, speaking for coach Dino Garcia.

SBCC: Coach Craig Moropoulos didn’t hold back in praising his football team for its performance in a 48-20 win at West L.A.

“We thoroughly demolished them, and I’m proud to say that because any time you can run up 507 yards in total offense, 300 yards rushing, you’ve done a good job.”

He said freshmen linemen Bilal Sharmoug and Isaac McClain played key roles in the team’s offensive domination.

“Any time you can run for that many yards it’s because the guys up front did their job,” said Moropoulos.

Santa Barbara: Coach JT Stone called Friday’s 37-28 loss at Royal “probably the best learning experience we’ve had all year in regards to preparation for games and staying focused.”

He added that the lessons learned are going to make the Dons “a better football team from here on out.”

Stone introduced junior Colt Takis and senior running back Isai Figueroa. He called Takis “a big part of our defense.” He gives the Dons a presence at defensive end.

Stone said Figueroa had “a great game” at Royal, catching several passes out of the backfield.

The Dons (3-2) face a tough challenge on Friday against 4-1 Pacifica.

San Marcos: Coach Anthony Linebaugh said it was difficult to argue with an official who blew an inadvertent whistle to stop a play in Friday’s game against Channel Islands. “He was apologizing profusely, Linebaugh said of the official. “How can you argue when he’s apologizing?”

Linebaugh recognized right tackle Rogelio Lopez and running back Ezekiel Chris Ramirez Rodriguez.

The Royals travel to Nordhoff on Friday.

Laguna Blanca: Owls coach Shane Lopes introduced Athlete of the Week Wakelin McNeel and Darwin Miguel.

“There’s no question that Wakelin is a talent,” Lopes said. “He brings a lot of speed and energy to our team.” He’s also a good teammate, giving shout outs to his linemen and lead blockers after games. “He gives credit where credit is due,” said Lopes.

On Miguel, Lopes said he’s the smallest player on defense but he makes plays. He led the team in tackles in Saturday’s win over Crystal Springs of Hillsborough.

Carpinteria: Rudy Beltran and Mike Garibay played well in last Friday’s 21-7 loss at South Torrance. Beltran had eight tackles, broke up a pass and played running back. Garibay, playing his first game at cornerback, had two interceptions. He is also the Warriors quarterback.

Carpinteria is 0-4 going into Friday night’s game against Dos Pueblos.

“We have some big challenges ahead of us,” assistant Rick Candaele said. “The first challenge is we’re playing Dos Pueblos.”

Candaele said the guys are “playing hard and we’re coaching hard. We’re hoping some good things are going to happen this season.”

Westmont men: The Warriors will celebrate their golden anniversary of playing soccer this weekend. The program is one of the most successful in the NAIA, with a winning percentage of .660 over the 50 years.

The program has had only four coaches in its history, and all four will be in attendance at a special event on Friday night at Westmont. Several players, including members of the 1972 national championship team, will be returning to share memories and celebrate the anniversary.

The Warriors’ homecoming game is Saturday against Arizona Christian. The women play at 12:30 and the men kick off at 2:30 p.m.

UCSB women: Coach Paul Stumpf introduced two key freshmen on his squad, Jessica Clegg and Mallory Hromatko. Clegg scored her first collegiate goal last week against Cal State Bakersfield. Hromatko has three goals, including a pair of game winners.

The Gauchos open Big West play on Thursday in Hawaii and have a week off before their second match at home against Long Beach State.

“The timing couldn’t be better to have a couple of games in two weeks, because we continue to get some young ladies back from injury,” said Stumpf.

UCSB men: Assistant coach Fifi Baiden said the Gauchos responded well after their 2-0 loss to Akron on Friday, blowing past University of San Diego, 4-0, on Sunday at Harder Stadium.

Baiden introduced defender/midfielder Ismaila Jome, who has been sidelined with an injury but hopes to return to the lineup soon. The Gauchos open Big West play this week on the road at UC Irvine on Thursday and Cal State Northridge on Saturday.

Westmont women: The No. 9-ranked Warriors are 2-0 in GSAC play and 6-2 overall. Coach Chantel Cappuccelli said nine players have scored goals this season. Kelsey Steck, Jackie Lopez and Brooke Lillywhite have been the most consistent players on offense. Sophie Fuller leads the backline.