The fall prep sports season is winding down, and the various playoff pictures are coming into focus. A mad dash to the finish line will now ensue as teams strive to reach their top gear in time to create a lasting legacy.
GIRLS’ VOLLEYBALL PLAYOFFS: Several area girls’ volleyball teams punched their tickets into the CIF Southern Section playoffs. Channel League co-champions Dos Pueblos (21-14 overall, 9-1 Channel League) and San Marcos (19-6, 9-1) had their placement in the Division 3 playoffs determined by a coin flip that favored Dos Pueblos.
As a result, the Chargers will host Arcadia, the No. 2 team out of the Pacific League, Thursday, October 24, beginning at 6 p.m. at Sovine Gym. Conversely, San Marcos will travel to Quartz Hill to face off against the champions of the Golden League.
Quartz Hill won a CIF championship last season in Division 4, so the Royals are likely in for a stiff test.
“Anytime you play a league champion, it’s a daunting task. Technically, we’re a league champion as well, and a coin flip puts us as No. 2 out of the league,” said San Marcos coach Dwayne Hauschild. “I feel like our matches against Dos Pueblos specifically showed that we’re a good team that can match up against anybody. We’ve beaten a lot of Division 1 teams this year.”
Santa Barbara finished in third place in the Channel League to earn a slot in the Division 4 playoffs, where they will travel to Cerritos, which took first place in the 605 League.
In Division 6, Tri-Valley League Champion Cate is among the favorites. The Rams (17-3, 7-1) are the second-seeded team in the bracket and will host either St. Monica Catholic or Duarte in a first-round match.
Frontier League champion Laguna Blanca (18-4, 8-0) is also in Division 6 and will host La Mirada, the second place team out of the Suburban League in a first-round match.
In Division 8, Bishop Diego (11-13, 7-3), the second place team out of the Frontier League, will host Pacifica Christian of Santa Monica. Carpinteria finished tied for second in the Citrus Coast League and will host Thacher.
All start times are tonight at 6 p.m. unless otherwise noted.
DONS EMERGE IN CHANNEL LEAGUE BOYS’ WATER POLO: Santa Barbara High took a major step toward earning the top seed going into the Channel League tournament with key victories last week, including a 12-9 win over Dos Pueblos in a first-place showdown behind six goals from Dylann Fogg. The Dons followed that up with a 12-7 victory over Lompoc despite resting multiple starters.
Santa Barbara (20-8 overall, 4-0 Channel League) is currently ranked No. 5 in CIF-SS Division 3 and has excelled in Channel League play.
“With our wins against Dos Pueblos and San Marcos, we put ourselves in a pretty good spot for a good seed in the league tournament coming up,” said Santa Barbara coach Mark Walsh. “I like where we’re at. Obviously, there’s not much we can do about the polls.
“Wherever they seed us, we’ll play and have as deep a run as possible in CIF.”
SHAKE UP IN CHANNEL LEAGUE FOOTBALL: For nearly a decade, Lompoc football dominated its league competition, putting together a league winning streak that spanned 43 consecutive games. The majority of those wins came in the now-defunct Los Padres League, but in 2018 Lompoc joined the Channel League and easily dispatched the competition en route to a perfect 5-0 league record.
Conventional wisdom had the Braves running roughshod through the Channel League once again in 2019, but Santa Barbara High seized an opportunity to make history and defeated Lompoc 27-21 this past Friday to take over first place in the Channel League and deliver Lompoc its first league loss since October 2010.
“I think it opens some eyes. I truly believe this program is headed in the right direction,” said Santa Barbara coach J.T. Stone. “I’ve been busting my behind to turn it around. I’ve got some great coaches on board, and we’ve got a bunch of kids that believe in what we’re doing. I really think that from here on out, we’re going to be competitive.”
Kicker Ty Montgomery was the difference with two fourth-quarter field goals of 45 and 26 yards despite heavy wind. Wisconsin-bound quarterback Deacon Hill connected with senior wide receiver Moki Nacario on first half touchdown passes of 69 and 10 yards that set the tone for the historic upset.
The Dons are now 6-2 overall and 3-0 in Channel League with games against Cabrillo and Dos Pueblos remaining. The Chargers (2-6 overall, 2-1 Channel League) defeated rival San Marcos 14-12 last week to keep their hopes of a playoff berth very much alive.
Santa Barbara is in prime position to secure the top seed out of the Channel League going into the Division 8 playoffs and win their first playoff game since 1989.