UPDATE:Dos Pueblos needed five games to prevail over Los Alamitos (25-16, 25-21, 11-25, 20-25, 15-3) in the opening round of the Southern California Division 1 Regionals. The Chargers (31-2) will host Clovis West (32-10) in the semifinals at 5 p.m. Saturday (Nov. 28).
Karch Kiraly personifies greatness in the sport of volleyball, but it was another “G” word that caught Sally Yingst’s attention when he spoke last week to several high school girls’ teams at a Santa Barbara Athletic Round Table fundraiser. “‘Gratitude’ is the number-one thing I clung to,” said Yingst, a Dos Pueblos senior. “I loved to hear him espouse it.”
Turkey and cranberries cannot make Yingst feel any more grateful than she felt at the end of a perfect weekend. She experienced the joy of victory Saturday, as DP’s Chargers swept Huntington Beach (25-10, 25-12, 25-18) in the CIF Southern Section Division 1A girls’ volleyball final. The next day, Yingst spent five hours surfing at UCSB’s Campus Point. “The waves got better and better as the day went on,” she said.
The Chargers’ work did not end with the CIF championship at Cypress College. They entered the State Championships this week as the top-seeded Division 1 team in Southern California. If they keep winning, they could be playing home matches Saturday (Nov. 28) and next Tuesday before meeting the Northern California champion on December 5 at UC Irvine.
“That’s our ultimate goal,” DP coach Todd Garrett said. “We wanted to reach our peak at the end of the season.” The only valleys in the Chargers’ season were two losses to Archbishop Mitty, the nation’s top-ranked team. Dos Pueblos, with its 30-2 record, is ranked right behind the Monarchs. They will not meet in the state tournament because Mitty competes in Division 2.
The Chargers tore through the sectional playoffs like wildfire, sweeping all five foes. In the final, Garrett said, “We were in the zone. Our passing was on, our serving was on, our setters and hitters were connecting.” Yingst described the zone: “It felt so peaceful, no pressure, everything flowing smoothly. We never let the ball drop.”
Four DP players have signed NCAA Division 1 scholarship offers-twins Carly and Sam Wopat (Stanford), Sammie Brown (Notre Dame), and Karina Evans (Delaware). Yingst, a 5‘10” hitter, is going to UC San Diego, a Division 2 school. It suits her field of interest, computer arts, and it will keep her near the beach. “I lived at East Beach since I was in my mom’s stomach,” Yingst said. “All last summer, I played a whole bunch of guys at the beach. It makes you so much better.”
Yingst exudes a calming influence on the floor. She keeps smiling when her teammates might be stressing during a bad patch. “I call Sally ‘The Rock,’” Garrett said. “She’s a workhorse, a really steady player.”
BEACH LEGEND: A nostalgic gathering of beach volleyball old-timers paid tribute last Saturday to the late Henry Bergmann at Cafe del Sol. They told many stories about his awesome hitting and other unique attributes. It was recalled that Bergmann used to run happily along the water’s edge and skim-board “on his chest,” and he would hike barefoot up and down the entire length of the Rattlesnake Canyon trail.
Bergmann is the first of the “Big Four” of the ‘60s-also including Larry Rundle, Ron Lang, and Ron Von Hagen-to pass away. Rundle and Lang spoke at the memorial. “My daughter is a product of the people in this room,” said Butch May, father of two-time Olympic gold medalist Misty May-Treanor.
HERE COME THE GAUCHOS: Back-to-back 1-0 victories over Wofford College and the University of San Diego have put UCSB into the Sweet 16 of the NCAA men’s soccer championship. The Gauchos (17-4-2) will face UCLA (11-3-4) in the next round at 5 p.m. Sunday at Drake Stadium in Westwood.
Senior forward David Walker, the only current Gaucho who was a member of the 2006 national championship team, netted both winning goals. UCSB is loaded with young players who are expected to make a strong run next year, when the NCAA Final Four comes to Santa Barbara, but this year’s squad is starting to look very dangerous as well.
The Gauchos’ spotty performance against Wofford in the first round was not encouraging. Coach Tim Vom Steeg declared, “This team is talented enough to win every game” but the talent would be wasted if they failed to play “with energy, passion and aggression.” They did that at San Diego.
GOING FOR 27: UCSB secured second place in the Big West women’s volleyball standings by sweeping Cal State Northridge last weekend, and that should be good enough to put Coach Kathy Gregory’s Gauchos back into the NCAA tournament. They once brandished a streak of 26 consecutive appearances but missed out the last two years.