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College Update: Fabian speeds to success in freshman season at UCSB

Glendale High product Sammy Fabian turned in a terrific freshman season at UC Santa Barbara.
(Tony Mastres)

The following are updates on local athletes at the collegiate level.

Sammy Fabian (Glendale High, 2017) UC Santa Barbara softball freshman: Following a phenomenal career at Glendale High that concluded with All-Area Softball Player of the Year and News-Press Girls’ Athlete of the Year honors as a senior, “Smiling Sammy” hasn’t slowed down as the talented speedster racked up honors as a freshman for UCSB.

Playing in 51 games and garnering a .335 batting average, Fabian was an All-Big West Conference honorable mention and an All-Big West Conference All-Freshman Team honoree.

Team-highs were aplenty for Fabian, who led her squad with 54 hits, nine stolen bases and the .335 batting average. Her season included 26 runs, six runs batted in, 11 walks and a .382 on-base percentage with 12 strikeouts, which was third-fewest among starters on the team.


Fabian famously began her career at Glendale High with a 61-game hitting streak and added another surge during her freshman campaign as she had a season-high 10-game hitting streak from Feb. 19 through March 4 when she tallied 18 hits with four multi-hit games in the span. She had 13 multi-hit games over the season.

Arguably her best game came in an 8-5 nonconference loss at home against Dayton in the first game of a doubleheader in which she went four for four with two runs, two doubles and a triple and followed up with a three-for-four performance in an 8-0 win over Dayton in which she had two runs and a stolen base.

UCSB finished its season with a 5-1 loss to Cal Poly after taking two of the first three in the series and ended the campaign at 20-34 with a 7-14 showing in the Big West Conference.

Shannon Hovanesian (Crescenta Valley High, 2014) Cal State Northridge water polo senior: The former All-Area mainstay saved her best for last as she was named an All-Big West honorable mention having tallied career-highs of 33 matches played, 28 goals, 53 steals and 14 field blocks. She added 40 assists.


“Shannon defines what a leader by example is,” head coach Matt Warshaw told the school website of Hovanesian, who was a three-year captain. “She was our consistent rock in and out of the pool. She’s one of the most reliable players I’ve ever coached and to see other coaches in our sport recognize this makes her quiet and calm demeanor even that much more special.”

Hovanesian’s assists and steals led the Big West Conference and she led her team with 78 ejections drawn. Her four goals against Harvard on March 11 tied a career-high for a single game.

She ended her career with 123 matches played, 85 goals, 130 assists (eighth all-time in CSUN history), 167 steals (10th all-time), 37 blocks (seventh all-time) and 190 ejections drawn (third all-time).

CSUN struggled in Hovanesian’s final season as it went 15-18 and 0-5 in the conference with a six-match losing streak to end the year. Hovanesian had seven steals and two assists in a 10-9 sudden-death loss to UC Santa Barbara in the Big West Tournament on April 28 in the last game of the season.

Karina Moreno (Hoover High, 2015) Marymount California University softball junior: After a record-setting career at Pasadena City College in which she became the program’s all-time leader in runs scored, Moreno was at it again for the Mariners.

Moreno scored a team-high 25 runs and hit .280 (37 for 132) with a pair of triples, seven runs batted in and 11 stolen bases.

She was recognized on the All-California Pacific Conference squad with a Champions of Character award.

The left fielder had 10 multi-hit games and was particularly dangerous in March when she put together a five-game hitting streak in which she combined to go nine of 19 with five runs.


The Mariners struggled though as they went just 14-36 with a 7-15 mark in conference.

Jenina Villabroza (Glendale High, 2016) Albion College lacrosse sophomore: The sophomore goalie racked up some postseason hardware as she was an All-Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Assn. second-team pick.

Within the MIAA, she led all goalies with a 56.2 save percentage and her 6.57 goals-against average was first among goalies who played at least seven of eight conference games. She was 17th best among NCAA Division III goalies in goals-against average at 7.60 and her 52.3 save percentage was 25th.

She totaled 125 saves on the season with a season-high 17 coming in a 17-3 loss at Claremont Mudd-Scripps on March 10.

In a season-ending 13-12 loss to St. Mary’s in the conference semifinals, Villabroza notched 14 saves.

Villabroza is one of three Glendale High products on the team.

Junior Ariella Ruiz played in 16 games with one goal, one assist, caused 19 turnovers and fielded 29 ground balls and freshman defender Ashley Iglesias played in nine games with three ground balls and caused two turnovers.

The Britons finished the season at 11-5, which is the second-highest win total in program history.


Abby Sheklow (Crescenta Valley High, 2017) Albion College lacrosse freshman: In her first collegiate season, Sheklow shined, as the attacker tallied 20 goals and five assists in 13 games.

Sheklow, one of four locals on the team, tallied her first college points in the team’s season opener when she scored two goals and added an assist in a 15-1 win over Hanover on Feb. 25. She tallied a season-high five goals in a 15-5 victory over Ohio Northern on March 21.

She added 24 ground balls and seven turnovers caused.

Adrian Damla (Crescenta Valley High, 2016) UC Irvine baseball sophomore: The former multiple-time All-Area and All-CIF selection wrapped up his second season with the Anteaters in the team’s season finale on Saturday in a 4-2 loss at UC Davis.

Damla’s final action of the season was back on May 18 against UC Riverside as he went hitless in a pair of at-bats off the bench. For the season, he played in 34 games with 12 starts as only five Anteaters started in 50 or more games for UC Irvine, which went 32-24 and tied for third in the Big West with a 13-11 mark.

It was the final season for renowned coach Mike Gillespie, who collected 1,156 wins in 31 years at the NCAA Division I level and more than 1,580 wins when including 16 years of junior college coaching as he also coached at USC and College of the Canyons.

Damla’s second season with the Eaters saw him hit .259 (14 for 54) with nine runs, four runs batted in, seven walks and just one error in 26 chances.

Twitter: @TCNGrantGordon