Postseason Problems for Many Santa Barbara Teams

Soccer, Football, and Water Polo Woes; College Basketball Heating Up; and More

San Marcos senior James Oriskovich loomed large, but Servite defeated the Royals in the CIF quarterfinals, ending their first season under coach Peera Sukavivatanachai.
Paul Wellman

The match game was not favorable to Santa Barbara teams in postseason playoffs last week. UCSB was ousted by its nemesis, Cal State Fullerton, on a penalty-kick shootout in the Big West men’s soccer tournament. The Gaucho women did reach the conference championship game, won by Long Beach State, 2-0.

In the first round of CIF football playoffs, strong foes to the south resoundingly dismissed all four Channel League entries by scores of 55-7, 43-7, 35-0 and 24-7. Bishop Diego played one of the best games of the weekend and suffered the pain of coming close: a 38-35 defeat at Saugus that was decided by a last-play field goal.

Cate School will be around a while in the 8-man playoffs. The No. 1–ranked Rams opened with an 88-15 thrashing of Desert Christian. Their high-powered attack will blow against Windward in Los Angeles on Friday afternoon.

In boys’ water polo, San Marcos faced a tough matchup against Servite High of Anaheim in the CIF Division 3 quarterfinals last Saturday. The Royals had squeaked out a pair of one-goal wins on the road to reach the quarters, and they were down just 6-5 midway through the first half against the Friars. But then Guillermo Ocasio, a forceful Servite junior center, blew the game wide open. Ocasio scored eight goals of his own and opened up spaces for his teammates to shoot in a 16-7 victory over the Royals.

The biggest man in the pool was San Marcos senior James Oriskovich, a 6′7 1/2″, 270-pounder who scored four goals in his last high school match. His father, Dan Oriskovich, was a Boston College football lineman. But James was not super-sized when he came into the world. “He was six weeks early,” said his mother, Katie. He spent his first days in the pediatric ICU.

San Marcos freshman goalie Ben Webber parried away a number of Servite shots, but Ocasio scored with power shots and some backhand punches.

“Guillermo is a lot to deal with,” said Royals first-year coach Peera Sukavivatanachai.

Sukavivatanachai is no stranger to the water polo scene. He played for San Marcos a decade ago, and media outlets are again getting familiar with his last name, which sets the record in my book that was previously held by Westmont College sprinter Jean-Louis Ravelomanantsoa.

Meanwhile, Mark Walsh, Santa Barbara High’s coach for 22 years, marches on. After the Dons finished behind Dos Pueblos (ousted in the Division 2 playoffs) and San Marcos in the league standings, Walsh has taken them into this week’s Division 3 semifinals against top-seeded Los Osos. He has 13 CIF boys’ and girls’ titles to his credit.

In college men’s water polo, UCSB is ranked No. 6 in the nation with an 18-8 record. The Gauchos will play their final home match at noon on Saturday (Nov. 10) against No. 7 Pepperdine. The teams are coached a pair of former U.S. Olympic team captains, Pepperdine’s Terry Schroeder and UCSB’s Wolf Wigo. Schroeder, the most decorated American player ever, came out of San Marcos High.

No water polo coach is having a better year than Chuckie Roth. He led the San Marcos High girls to the CIF Division 1 title in March, and last week he guided the SBCC women’s team to its fifth consecutive Western State Conference championship. The Vaqueros are defending state champions and will try to repeat with sophomore Emma Fraser, last year’s state tournament MVP, leading the way.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: The 2018-19 season is upon us, with excitement building on all fronts. UCSB’s Gaucho men, coming off a 23-win season in head coach Joe Pasternak’s first year, held an open practice last Saturday and impressed folks with their athleticism and depth of talent.

Several transfers have bolstered the Gauchos around All-Big West junior guard Max Heidegger. They include Ar’mond Davis, a 6′6″ guard who last played for Alabama and is a UCSB graduate student; JaQuori McLaughlin, a sophomore guard from Oregon State; and Devearl Ramsey, a sophomore point guard from Nevada.

“I love our team,” said Davis, who scored in double digits 10 times at Alabama, including a 19-point effort against South Carolina. “We’re really going to be good. We haven’t played together much, but we’re trying to put it all together.”

If the Gauchos have early growing pains, they will be exploited when they play their first two games on the road at Wyoming and North Dakota State. Their home opener will be Tuesday (Nov. 13) against Cal Lutheran, followed by an afternoon contest Saturday (Nov. 17) against Montana State.

UCSB’s women play their home opener Friday (Nov. 9) against CSU Bakersfield. In an exhibition game last week, the Gauchos thumped Cal State San Bernardino, 70-53, as 6′4″ junior center Natalia Bruening scored 18 points and 15 gathered in rebounds. The return of Coco Miller, who was injured last year, fortifies the Gaucho backcourt along with sophomore Danae Miller (no relation).

Westmont College made it to the NAIA women’s national championship game last year and starts out this season with a No. 8 ranking. The Warriors were competitive in a pair of exhibitions against the Pac-12 Conference, losing 79-62 at Cal and 75-55 at UCLA. They will host a pair of 5:30 p.m. games at Murchison Gym this weekend, facing Claremont-Mudd-Scripps on Friday and Westcliff on Saturday.

Westmont’s men, ranked No. 23 in the NAIA, won their regular-season opener at Portland Bible (Ore.), 109-75. The Warriors’ next home game will be Nov. 17 against La Sierra.

During these times when attending a single NBA game can set you back 100 bucks or more (especially more for the Lakers since LeBron James arrived), a great bargain can be found in purchasing a ticket for a season’s worth of college games. UCSB men’s season passes start at $135 for individuals and $300 for a family of five ($125/$250 for the women). Westmont, which has both teams playing in doubleheaders during the conference season, offers a season-long deal known as Coach’s Circle for $50 individual and $100 family.

SBCC is off to a 2-0 start in women’s basketball last weekend after topping Taft, 69-68, on Sierra Cavaletto’s buzzer beater, and pulling away from Butte, 77-56.

The Vaqueros will host seven teams in their MTXE Tournament (signifying “mental toughness/extra effort”) at the Sports Pavilion Friday-Sunday (Nov. 9-11). They open against De Anza at 6 p.m. Friday.


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