Week in Sports

March Madness Is Here


UPDATE: UCSB held off UC Irvine 77-74 to clinch the regular season men’s basketball championship of the Big West Conference. The Gauchos (12-4 Big West, 18-9 overall) will next play in the semifinals of the conference tournament on Friday evening, March 12, at the Anaheim Convention Center.

Westmont College’s women upset eighth-ranked Point Loma Nazarene 64-62 and will host Hope International in the GSAC semifinals Friday night. Amber Stevens scored the winning points for the Warriors on two free throws with 20 seconds remaining.

Thirty-six schools went into the CIF Division 2 boys soccer playoffs two weeks ago. There are two teams still standing – the Santa Barbara Dons and Dos Pueblos Chargers. They will play for the championship Friday (March 5) at 7 p.m. at UCSB’s Harder Stadium.

“It’s great for the community,” DP coach Tovi Eliasen said. “We’ve all watched lots of games at Harder Stadium, UCSB games and international exhibitions.” Eliasen admitted he never imagined the Chargers would be playing there. “We were just trying to make the playoffs,” he said.

Santa Barbara whipped Katella 4-1 in Wednesday’s semifinal, unleashed a barrage of second-half goals from four different players (Alfredo Ibarra, Tyler Schleich, Christian Pardo and Jesse Gonzalez). Dos Pueblos advanced the hard way, playing Bell Gardens to a 0-0 standoff after two overtime periods, and then winning a penalty-kick shootout 3-2, as goalie Chris Castillo stopped three Bell Gardens shots.

Had either local team lost, the championship game would have been played in Downey or Mission Viejo. Santa Barbara is undefeated (28-0-1) and the top-seeded team in the division, but the Dons had to eke out a pair of one-goal wins in the playoffs. Soccer is a freaky sport in which a team can be a favorite, and can even dominate a match, and still lose. “We’ve got a bulls-eye on our backs,” defender Brian Joseff said.

Dos Pueblos (15-5-7) finished second in the Channel League to Santa Barbara. In league matches, they held the Dons to a 0-0 tie at the DP field. Santa Barbara won the rematch 2-1 at Peabody Stadium. Friday night, it should be a battle between the Dons’ firepower and the DP’s solid defense with a hot goalkeeper.

It’s the beginning of March Madness in college basketball this week. UCSB’s magic number to clinch the Big West regular season title is one – a Gaucho victory tonight at the Thunderdome against UC Irvine, or a Pacific loss (the Tigers have two games remaining), will give the Gauchos the top seed in next week’s conference tournament at Anaheim.

Westmont College’s teams both have to hit the road in the first round of the Golden State Athletic Conference Tournament – the women tonight at Point Loma, the men Thursday at Fresno Pacific.

Here is a glance at the next 12 days in local sports.

Wednesday, March 3

College baseball – California Baptist at Westmont, 2 p.m.

College softball – Ventura at SBCC, Pershing Park, 2:30 p.m.

High school boys volleyball – Newbury Park at Dos Pueblos, 6 p.m.

College men’s basketball – UC Irvine at UCSB, Thunderdome, 7 p.m.

College men’s volleyball – L.A. Pierce at SBCC, 6 p.m.; UC Irvine at UCSB, Robertson Gym, 7 p.m.

College women’s basketball – UCSB at UC Irvine, 7 p.m. GSAC tournament: Westmont at Point Loma Nazarene, 7:30 p.m.

Thursday, March 4

College baseball – California Baptist at Westmont, 2 p.m.

College women’s water polo – Fresno Pacific at UCSB, 6 p.m.

College men’s basketball – GSAC tournament: Westmont at Fresno Pacific, 7:30 p.m.

Friday, March 5

High school swimming – Channel League Relays at Santa Barbara, 2:30 p.m.

High school baseball – Oxnard at San Marcos, 3 p.m.; Lompoc at Dos Pueblos, 3:30 p.m.

High school softball – Hueneme at San Marcos, 3:30 p.m.

High school boys volleyball – Arcadia at San Marcos, 6 p.m.

High school boys soccer – CIF Division 2 championship: Santa Barbara vs. Dos Pueblos, UCSB Harder Stadium, 7 p.m.

College men’s volleyball – UCSB at USC, 7 p.m.

College women’s basketball – GSAC tournament semifinals: Hope International at Westmont, 7:30 p.m.

Saturday, March 6

Basketball – Santa Barbara Breakers “All(Most)” Pro Tournament, Westmont College, 10 a.m. Breakers vs. Marina Del Rey Advantage, 1:30 p.m.

High school baseball – Santa Ynez at Carpinteria (2), 11 a.m.

College women’s tennis – Pacific at UCSB, 11 a.m.

College women’s basketball – UCSB at Cal State Bakersfield, 5 p.m.

Sunday, March 7

College women’s water polo – Loyola Marymount at UCSB, 12 p.m.

Monday, March 8

Santa Barbara Athletic Round Table press luncheon, Harry’s Plaza Café, 12 p.m.

Exhibition baseball – Waseda University (Japan) at UCSB, 2 p.m.

High school softball – Carpinteria at San Marcos, 3:30 p.m.

College women’s basketball – GSAC championship: Westmont at Vanguard, Costa Mesa, 7:30 p.m.

Tuesday, March 9

College baseball – Oxnard at SBCC, Pershing Park, 2 p.m.

High school swimming – Ventura at Dos Pueblos, 2:30 p.m.

High school baseball – Villanova Prep at Carpinteria, 3:30 p.m.

High school softball – San Marcos at Bishop Diego, 3:30 p.m.

High school boys volleyball – Arroyo Grande at San Marcos, 6 p.m.

Wednesday, March 10

High school baseball – Arleta at San Marcos, 3 p.m.

College baseball – Biola at Westmont, 2 p.m.

High school boys volleyball – Oxnard at Dos Pueblos, 6 p.m.

College men’s volleyball – Cal State Northridge at UCSB, Robertson Gym, 7 p.m.

College women’s basketball – Big West Tournament, first round, Anaheim Convention Center: UCSB vs. Pacific, 12 p.m.

Thursday, March 11

College baseball – Biola at Westmont, 2 p.m.

High school baseball – Arroyo Grande at Santa Barbara, 3:30 p.m.

College basketball – Big West Tournament, quarterfinals, Anaheim Convention Center.

Friday, March 12

High school track and field – Tri-City Relays at Dos Pueblos, 3 p.m.

College baseball – Northern Illinois at UCSB, 2 p.m.

High school softball – Channel Islands at San Marcos, 3:30 p.m.

College basketball – Big West Tournament, semifinals, Anaheim Convention Center.

Saturday, March 13

High school baseball – Santa Ynez at Santa Barbara, 11 a.m.

College baseball – Northern Illinois at UCSB (2), 12 p.m.; Moorpark at SBCC, Pershing Park, 1 p.m.

College basketball – Big West Tournament at Anaheim Convention Center: Women’s final, 1 p.m. Men’s final, 5 p.m.

Sunday, March 14

Youth track and field – Tournament of Champions, SBCC La Playa Stadium 8:30 a.m.

College baseball – Northern Illinois at UCSB, 11 a.m.

College women’s water polo – Cal State San Bernardino at UCSB, 2 p.m.; Bucknell at UCSB, 5 p.m.

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