Athletic Roundtable Luncheon: Relationships in the Volleyball Community Go Back | Sports
San Marcos boys’ volleyball coach Roger Kuntz commented on how tight-knit the volleyball community is in the Santa Barbara area.
In his presentation at the Santa Barbara Sports Roundtable press luncheon Monday, Kuntz shared his ties to fellow coaches Mickey Caughey of Carpinteria and Chad Arneson of Santa Barbara High, the father of one of Arneson’s current players. as well as Roundtable Chair Ken Newendorp.
The lunch agenda at Harry’s Plaza Cafe also included high school baseball, track and field and women’s lacrosse, as well as college athletics.
“The volleyball community has been close in Santa Barbara for a long time,” Kuntz said. “Mickey was one of my (beach) partners in the early 1980s.
“A few years ago my son Josh called and said, ‘Dad, I’m in the King of the Beach tournament here (in East Beach) and one of my partners is Kenny Newendorp, and he has says you trained him in two sports.’
“All of a sudden I can see Kenny and my son owning the beach.”
Kuntz also recalled the days he and partner Brian Montgomery played against Arneson and his father, Eric, at East Beach. He added that another partner was Mike McCaskey, the father of current Dons player Liam McCaskey, whom Arneson brought to lunch.
“I’ve loved your dad for 20, 30, 40 years or something,” Kuntz told Liam.
Arneson congratulated Kuntz, whose son got married over the weekend.
“It’s quite an honor and a really awesome thing,” Arneson said.
Things get intense this week on the volleyball court, as San Marcos, Santa Barbara and Dos Pueblos meet in their final rivalry games of the season.
Outside hitter Joaquin Gonzalez and setter Gavin Lohuis helped Carpinteria to No. 1 in the CIF-SS Division 5. (Photo Barry Punzal/Noozhawk)
San Marcos (4-1 in the league) will host Dos Pueblos (3-2) on Tuesday night and Santa Barbara (6-0) on Thursday. All three Channel League teams and Carpinteria will compete in the Karch Kiraly Tournament of Champions in Santa Barbara.
Kuntz introduced his “three-headed monster” offense of middle Aiden Paizer and outside hitters Zach Willbanks and Jack Wilson.
The 6-foot-4 Paizer is the team leader in kill percentage. “And if our ball control is as strong as it’s been all year, then we get to activate it, and he’s pretty unstoppable out of the middle,” Kuntz said.
The 6-4 Willbanks has become a force as a bowling hitter, Kuntz said. “Over the past 2-3 weeks he has shown why he is our terminator away from home. With his growth we have been able to really count on him as a go-to away player, and he has stood out for us in many big matches.
Paizer and Willbanks are the senior captains of the 20-6 Royals.
Wilson is a dynamic sophomore who scores first and last.
The Dons d’Arneson are 20-3 this season and rank sixth in the CIF-SS Division 1.
It featured setter and backline specialist Diego Arroyo and McCaskey, a multi-position player. Arneson said both players bring a positive vibe and good work ethic to the team.
Mickey Caughey is thrilled to coach the Carpinteria men’s volleyball team. (photo Barry Punzal/Noozhawk)
“It’s a pleasure to have these two guys. That’s the reason I love coaching,” he said. “They create a good atmosphere. That’s what a team is thanks to these two players.”
Caughey shares his enthusiasm for the volleyball of Carpinteria, which is currently ranked No. 1 in the CIF-SS Division 5.
“We have a very good team this year,” he said. “We have eight seniors in our team, which is unheard of. If I was into astrology, all the stars are perfectly aligned.
Caughey brought two members of his strong senior class: setter and floor captain Gavin Lohuis and outside hitter Joaquin Gonzalez.
Caughey called Lohuis his trainer on the floor. “I couldn’t even be there and he could lead the team perfectly. As well as I did. He understands the game very well,” the coach said.
Gonzalez is the best outside hitter on the team. He’s averaging 10 points per game, the majority of which have been three-set sweeps.
“If you’ve ever needed a good outside hitter, you’d like to have him on your team because he’s very consistent. He finds the holes in the block and he can hit over a block,” Caughey said.
He noted that the team’s 9-3 record doesn’t sound impressive, but he doesn’t count games won in tournaments.
The Warriors can test themselves against elite teams this weekend by accepting an invitation to play in the Karch Kiraly Tournament of Champions at Santa Barbara High.
Here’s a look at the other coaches and student-athletes who attended the press luncheon.
All of the coaches’ presentations can be viewed in the video above.
Santa Barbara coach Steve Schuck, freshman third baseman Kai Mault and freshman pitcher Eric Anthony
Dos Pueblos coach George Hedricks, seniors Dylon Bailey and Gino Darke
Dos Pueblos Coach Sara Richardson, Long Distance Runners Lauren Elliott, Phoebe Wolfe Lyons, Samsara Chahine, Ellie Gleason, Katie Hellman
San Marcos coach Marilyn Hantgin, senior 400-800 runner Jacob Snodgress, junior 400 runner Justin Hess, sophomore sprinter Ava Carter, junior 400 runner Stella Crawford
Westmont College student-athletes Matthew Williams, Lily Sweet
Sam Limkeman, Dos Pueblos Coach, Junior Lauren Elliott (Athlete of the Week)