San Marcos High, ranked No. 4 in this week’s CIF-Southern Section Division 3 girls volleyball poll, is itching for its rematch against Dos Pueblos in next week’s first-place showdown at Sovine Gym.
But first things first, coach Tina Brown said during Monday’s Athletic Round Table press luncheon at Harry’s Plaza Café.
“We start our second round of league (tonight) against Santa Barbara, which is a big cross-town rivalry, too,” coach Tina Brown said. “Then we play Lompoc on Thursday and come back to DP, which is going to be the big match of the year – although we’re not overlooking Santa Barbara because they’re always very solid.”
The Royals (13-6, 4-1 Channel League) have been getting strong play from junior middle Fionna Pennington and freshman utility player Riley Green, she said.
Dos Pueblos (15-9, 5-0) will travel to Santa Ynez tonight and then celebrate Senior Night on Thursday against Cabrillo.
But the Chargers also have what coach Megan O’Carroll calls “our Young Guns” with sophomore Portia Sherman and freshman Chloe Hoffman at outside hitter.
“Portia is our go-to girl,” O’Carroll said. “She carries a huge load for our team down the stretch. SWhenever the game’s tight, or it’s time to finish it up, I always feel like I’m telling our setter, ‘Get Portia the ball! Set Portia! I don’t care if you give her every single ball.’”
Hoffman is a natural setter who was pressed into duty at an outside spot.
“She scores a lot of points for us and is just a natural athlete,” O’Carroll said. “I think I could throw her in as a middle or a libero and she would do awesome.”
Laguna Blanca coach Jason Donnelly sang the praises of junior setter Annie Grabler and senior opposite Ainsley McGovern.
“Annie does a really nice job of keeping our hitters involved,” he said. “Ainsley will have nights when she’s pretty much unstoppable. She’s hit over .400 in a couple of our matches, which from the right side in high school is really hard to defend.”
BOYS WATER POLO
DP, SANTA BARBARA RANKED
A veteran roster – and several fast swimmers such as Jack Taylor and Ryan Drake – have Santa Barbara High in the fast lane of CIF-Southern Section water polo.
The Dons were ranked No. 6 in this week’s Division 3 poll and are the No. 3 seed for this weekend’s Division 2 Showcase in Palos Verdes.
“I’ve got a really good group of older guys,” coach Mark Walsh said. “I’ve got five seniors and a couple of juniors who play quite a bit, but I’ve also got a good group of sophomores who are talented and playing a lot of minutes for us… and a big part of our success.”
They include Taylor and Drake, who complement a solid hole set in Chase Raisin.
“There’s just a lot of speed with this group and Jack is just one of them,” Walsh said. “He really moves well in the water for us. He usually guards the other team’s biggest guy and then counters him down the pool.
“He usually gets open on drives and he’s very crafty in front of the goal and scores a lot of goals for us.”
He found out in last year’s season opener that Drake has a strong arm to go with his fast legs.
“I had enough confidence in him last year as a freshman to put him into a tied,” Walsh said. “I kind of drew up a play for him to get off a shot and he scored the game-winner for us.
“He just has that natural ability, he’s very fast and very competitive and he can score in a variety of ways.”
Two sophomores – Tom Leggett and goalie Ben Webber – are also making a difference for San Marcos.
“Tom was the driving force behind our offense this past weekend, averaging three to fours in the last five games (at the Villa Park Tournament),” coach Peera Sukavivatanachai said. “Ben was our starting goalie last year as a freshman, as well. He brings a lot of experience with him, playing against bigger and older guys.”
Dos Pueblos, which is ranked No. 20 in Division 1, is also playing in the Division 2 Showcase. New head coach Bryan Snyder showcased two of his top seniors – Ethan Parrish and Trevor Lum – during Monday’s luncheon at Harry’s Plaza Café.
“Ethan is leading the team in goals, steals – he’s just an all-around, phenomenal player,” Snyder said. “He’s a great captain.
“Trevor is a guy who comes in off the bench every game and gives us high-quality minutes. He’s a guy helping explain drills or proper form in the weight room to some of the younger guys who maybe don’t understand.
Snyder said Lum is also “seeing things better.”
“He’s been playing water polo without his glasses for his whole life, but he got contacts this past month,” he said. “I wore contacts when I played, so I talked him into it.
“Sure enough, he’s wearing them in the pool now and getting used to them. I’m hoping that it continues to improve his play now that he can actually see under water to see where he’s going.”
DONS, CHARGERS RANKED
Junior Sophia Ostovany and sophomore Heidi Hatton have helped Santa Barbara High (7-5, 2-0 Channel League) earn a No. 6 ranking in the CIF-SS Division 2 heading into today’s cross-town match at San Marcos.
“Sophia is a fabulous competitor,” coach Danny Echt, noting the 15-5 record of his No. 1 singles player. “I appreciate Sophia’s eagerness to learn. She’s very serious. She’s learning how a variety in her shots can help her.
“Heidi (7-5) has been injured and so it’s really nice to see how excited and eager she is to get back on the court, practicing and playing.”
Dos Pueblos is ranked No. 8 in Division 2 and trying to stay on the Dons’ heels in league play. Junior Alessa Somer and senior Julia McEachen have stepped up to play key roles in singles, coach Laura Housinger said.
Somer is 14-5 at the No. 1 position.
“I didn’t have a singles player on my team last year and wasn’t sure what to do, but Alessa took on that challenge and has been doing it solidly ever since,” Housinger said. “She really gets in a zone out there and just floats on the court.”
DP SEEKS FIRST WIN
Dos Pueblos (0-5), which has played a murderous preconference schedule which included top-ranked Righetti (CIF-Central Section Division 2) last week, is looking to start Channel League play off on the right foot on Friday at Cabrillo.
Two of the Chargers, two-way back Conner Lee and lineman Roberto Vargas, have been asserting themselves, coach Doug Caines said.
“Once he gets running, it’s beautiful to watch him move and make full-speed cuts,” Caines said of Lee. “He’s really been electric for us.”
He called Vargas “an absolute gladiator” who “dominated” Righetti’s defensive line.