Lighting up the scoreboard in the dark night is SBCC’s soccer superhero: Mark Knight.
Knight, a 20-year-old striker from Woking, England, rarely misses a chance to finish off an attack by the Vaqueros. He led all state community college players with 28 goals last year, and a four-goal outburst in a game last week put him on top of the heap again this season with 18 goals in 16 games.
Knight’s likeability is as strong as his scoring ability. He has two teams pulling for him-the Vaquero women as well as the men. The squads share the same coaching staff, headed by John Sisterson, and they hang out together. “I don’t know anybody who doesn’t like Mark,” said women’s midfielder Laura Spivack, who accepted Knight’s invitation to visit England last summer.
The tourism has come the other way this month. Four members of Knight’s family are visiting Santa Barbara. “He loves it here, the weather and everything,” said Peter Knight, who managed his son’s youth soccer club in Woking, southwest of London.
Knight stayed firm in his decision to further his education and soccer career at SBCC despite a nasty case of sunburn last spring. “I fell asleep for 45 minutes on the beach,” he said. “My midsection was all blistered up. It wasn’t a good week for me.”
This fall, Knight has resumed burning defenses and hapless goalkeepers. His teammates know that good things happen when they feed the ball to the sturdy Englishman. “He’s a natural scorer,” said freshman midfielder Waid Ibrahim. “He’s always hungry to score, always out there looking for the ball. I like a player like that.”
Ibrahim, who came here from Ghana by way of Dunn School, is a flashy dribbler and passer who complements Knight well. “Waid is an awesome, awesome player,” Knight said. Ibrahim plays with passion in short spurts. His playing time is limited because he is under doctor’s care for a congenital heart condition. He has been implanted with a pacemaker that regulates his heartbeat.
Because many of the Vaqueros were brought up in the Latin American ball-control style of soccer, Knight has refined his game from the long-ball “route one” approach favored in England. “I like to bring players in with the ball at my feet,” he said. “We’re an all-around better attacking team than we were last year.” If he does not have a clear shot, there are other options. “I already have more assists [seven] than I did all last season,” he said last week.
Knight and the Vaqueros opened a five-game homestand this week. They will play night games at La Playa Stadium the next two Fridays and Tuesdays. They are leading the Western State Conference.
SBCC’s women, tied for second in the Western State Conference, are doing it with defense. Freshman goalkeeper Meghan Maiwald has posted nine shutouts in 15 games. Coach Sisterson brought Maiwald to Santa Barbara from the U.S. Deaf Olympic Team, which he also coaches. “She makes up for her lack of hearing by having 60 percent more peripheral vision,” Sisterson said.
Maiwald attested to her visual acuity. “I can read slight body movements,” she said. “I can tell when they’re going to shoot.” She also said she has an acute sense of smell. A native of Gilroy, she said, “I can smell the garlic all the way in San Jose,” where she now lives.
ATHLETES OF THE WEEK: SBCC freshman Trayone Harris scored four touchdowns and set a school record with 316 all-purpose yards-222 rushing and 94 on punt returns-in the Vaqueros’ 38-30 football victory over L.A. Pierce. In the latest sweep of the Western State Conference by the SBCC women’s golf team-league record: 34-1-Asaka Sim shot a 75 at the Santa Barbara Golf Club for medalist honors.
GAMES OF THE WEEK: St. Bonaventure, the L.A. Times’s third-ranked Southland football team, visits Santa Barbara High tonight (Thu., Oct. 30) at 7 p.m. The Seraphs have never lost a Channel League game. SBCC goes for its fourth consecutive victory on the gridiron against West L.A. at 6 p.m. on Saturday at La Playa Stadium. UCSB will try to break the Big West soccer attendance record next Wednesday (Nov. 5) when Cal Poly visits Harder Stadium. Those teams drew the record crowd of 11,075 at San Luis Obispo two weeks ago.
Top Sporting Events: October 30-November 9
Thursday, October 30
High school boys water polo San Marcos at Dos Pueblos, 3:15 p.m.; Buena at Santa Barbara, 3:15 p.m.
High school girls volleyball Carpinteria at Bishop Diego, 6 p.m.
High school football St. Bonaventure at Santa Barbara, 7 p.m.; Santa Clara at Bishop Diego, La Playa Stadium, 7 p.m.
Friday, October 31
High school cross country Santa Barbara County Championships, Lompoc River Park, 2:30 p.m.
High school boys water polo Nordhoff at Carpinteria, 3:15 p.m.
High school football Buena at San Marcos, 6 p.m.; Dos Pueblos at Ventura, 7 p.m.; Nordhoff at Carpinteria, 7:30 p.m. (Eight man) Laguna Blanca at Ojai Valley, 7 p.m.
College women’s soccer Taft at SBCC, La Playa Stadium, 1 p.m.; Long Beach State at UCSB, Harder Stadium, 7 p.m.
College men’s soccer Citrus at SBCC, La Playa Stadium, 7 p.m.
Saturday, November 1
Running Santa Barbara Half Marathon and 5K, Leadbetter Beach, 8 a.m.
College women’s volleyball California Baptist at Westmont, 3 p.m.
College football West L.A. at SBCC, La Playa Stadium, 6 p.m.
College men’s soccer UC Irvine at UCSB, Harder Stadium, 7 p.m.
High school football (eight man) Montclair Prep at Cate, Carpinteria High, 7 p.m.
Sunday, November 2
College women’s soccer UC Irvine at UCSB, Harder Stadium, 5 p.m.
Monday, November 3
High school girls tennis Channel League singles, opening rounds, San Marcos High, 12 p.m.
Santa Barbara Athletic Round Table press luncheon, Harry’s Plaza Cafe, 12 p.m.
Tuesday, November 4
High school girls tennis Channel League singles, semis and finals, Tennis Club of Santa Barbara, 12 p.m.
High school boys water polo Santa Barbara at San Marcos, 3:15 p.m.
High school girls volleyball Santa Barbara at San Marcos, 6:30 p.m.; St. Bonaventure at Bishop Diego, 6 p.m.; Malibu at Carpinteria, 6 p.m.
College men’s soccer Glendale at SBCC, La Playa Stadium, 7:30 p.m.
College women’s soccer GSAC Tournament, first round, TBA at Westmont.
Wednesday, November 5
High school girls tennis Channel League doubles, opening rounds, San Marcos High, 12 p.m.
College men’s soccer Cal Poly at UCSB, Harder Stadium, 7 p.m.; GSAC Tournament, first round, Westmont at TBA.
College women’s basketball Westmont at UCSB (exhibition), Thunderdome, 7 p.m.
Thursday, November 6
High school girls tennis Channel League doubles, semis and finals, Tennis Club of Santa Barbara, 12 p.m.
High school boys water polo Dos Pueblos at Santa Barbara, 3:15 p.m.
High school girls volleyball Dos Pueblos at Santa Barbara, 6:30 p.m.; Ventura at San Marcos, 6 p.m.; Oak Park at Carpinteria, 6:30 p.m.
Friday, November 7
High school football San Marcos at Santa Barbara, 5 p.m.; St. Bonaventure at Dos Pueblos, San Marcos stadium, 7 p.m.; Bishop Diego at Carpinteria, 7:30 p.m.
College men’s soccer Moorpark at SBCC, La Playa Stadium, 7:30 p.m.
College women’s soccer Big West Tournament semifinal; GSAC Tournament semifinal.
College women’s volleyball Long Beach State at UCSB, Thunderdome, 7 p.m.
Saturday, November 8
College men’s water polo Long Beach State at UCSB, 12 p.m.
College men’s soccer UCSB at UC Davis, 12 p.m.; GSAC Tournament semifinal.
High school football (eight man) Thacher at Laguna Blanca, 2:30 p.m.; Dunn at Cate, 2:30 p.m.
College women’s volleyball Concordia Irvine at Westmont, 3 p.m.
College football L.A. Valley at SBCC, La Playa Stadium, 6 p.m.
College men’s basketball Cal State Dominguez Hills at UCSB (exhibition), Thunderdome, 7 p.m.
Sunday, November 9
College men’s water polo Stanford at UCSB, 12 p.m.
College women’s soccer Big West Tournament.