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The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

The Channels

The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

The Channels

Rolling power outages causes game delays and cancellations

Jesus Villafranco Perez
Vaquero volleyball players huddle around and wait for information about the power outage on Friday, Sept. 20, 2019, in theSports Pavilion at City College in Santa Barbara, Calif. The game was eventually canceled.

It was Friday night inside the gym and the City College women’s volleyball team was in a back and forth battle against the Bakersfield Renegades. City College was down three points in the third set. City College served and the ball was soaring through the air when suddenly — the lights went out.

The power outage disrupted the Vaqueros rally. Just as the players were walking off the court, the lights came back on, but the Vaqueros never caught up.

Athletic director Rocco Constantino was in attendance and immediately convened with security to make sure everyone was safe. 

“It’s a big inconvenience to [the athletes] and the teams visiting,” said Constantino. 

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The Sept. 6 game was just one example of several recent power outages that have rattled the athletic department and frustrated the athletes and coaches.

“A wrinkle in our opening night,” said head coach Kat Niksto. 

Two weeks later, the Vaqueros were scheduled to play Santa Monica College at home in a non-conference match when, moments before game time, the power went out again. 

This time, the outage not only affected the Vaqueros but also the football team of Bishop Diego High School, who was set to play Chicago Hope for the first time ever at La Playa Stadium. 

Bishop Diego made up their match the following day, but the volleyball team was not as lucky. Since the power only went out for 20 minutes in the home opener, both teams waited around to see if they could begin the match, but after an hour and word from security, both squads were sent home. 

Niksto and the coaching staff at Santa Monica tried to work out a date to make up the match, but with conference play now in full swing, both teams are having trouble finding room for a non-conference game.

Should these outages continue, Niksto is worried that the team would have to play on the road more. 

“It’s out of our control,” she said. “[The] administration has done all they could.”

The day after the Santa Monica game, the football team dealt with its own set of challenges. 

That morning, hours before the Vaqueros were set to battle College of the Canyons in a night game, the power went out again, this time making it unsafe for the teams to play.

Constantino said that when he left campus the night before, the power was back and everything was set to go on as planned. 

“I’m learning to expect the unexpected,” he said. 

All of the outages were due to issues outside of the college’s power grid, making it tougher to solve the problem.

That Saturday morning, the athletic department scrambled to make a plan to play the game that evening even if it couldn’t be at City College. 

The one person absent from the initial discussion over the outage was the man who would be calling the plays that evening, head coach Craig Moropoulos, whose phone was dead at the time. Moropoulos knew the power had gone out the night before but was told it should be back on by the morning. After plugging in his phone and turning it on, texts from members of the athletic department began to flood in.

With a big coaching staff and over 60 players, the department’s biggest concern was the health and safety of its students, so Constantino did all he could to make sure the game was played in the most secure and efficient way possible. It was decided that playing the game at College of the Canyons on Sunday would be the best call. 

By law, the Southern California Football Association requires teams to play on the next available calendar day, so the game was moved from Santa Barbara to Santa Clarita on Sunday. 

“Ultimately, you just gotta go play,” said Moropoulos. 

The Vaqueros lost the game 63-10.

“Our team just wore down,” he said while commending the players for traveling three weeks in a row. 

Should the random power outages continue to affect City College’s sports teams, Coach Moropoulos has a plan. 

“Have my phone charged,” he said. 

Though the outages have been inconvenient, Constantino looked back on the winter of 2017, when the Thomas Fire devastated the region and teams didn’t have access to the gym for much of December.

“Sometimes there are things more important than sports,” he said. 

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