After winning its most important game of the season last Friday, a 3-2 victory over Venice, the Dolphins were off their game throughout a 2-0 loss to Fairfax Monday at Stadium by the Sea. “We’ve put ourselves in a position where we basically can’t afford more than one more loss if we want to make the playoffs,” PaliHi head coach Dave Williams said. “We pretty much have to win every game.” Against the Lions (3-2 in league), Pali controlled play in the first half but failed to score. The second half was all Fairfax. Christopher Orozco scored both goals, the first after a long run and centering pass by Kleber Ortiz in the 56th minute and the second on a breakaway in the 77th minute on a play that looked to be offside. Palisades (2-5-2 overall, 1-3-2 in league) might have lost by more if not for the goaltending of senior goalie Jason Cutler, who made several acrobatic saves, and the defense of Dave Villalobos. The loss tarnished a dramatic victory over Venice in which a corner kick deflected off of Villalobos and into the net in the 79th minute for the game-winning goal. Michael Larin scored in the 13th minute off of a pass from Rafael Martinez and Deyan Sabourian added a goal in the 28th minute off of an assist from Alex Francis. “We easily could be 3-3 or better in league right now,” assistant coach John Lissauer said. “We tied Westchester and University and we dominated for 70 of the 80 minutes and had 17 shots against Hamilton, but still lost 2-1. We’ve just had trouble scoring.”
Eight Southern California regions, including Region 69 (Palisades/Brentwood/Topanga) participated in a two-week Area P tournament last weekend at Culver City High and John Adams Middle School in Santa Monica. The top team from every region played a round robin tournament two weeks ago to determine seeding. Last weekend, each team played again in a single-elimination tournament. Following are results from last weekend involving Palisades teams: U-10 Girls The Pali Storm thundered through the Area P playoffs last weekend in Culver City, winning all four of their games. In Saturday’s opener, Pali defeated Los Angeles Central, 1-0, on a goal off of an indirect free kick by Jenna Davis, assised by Clara Clymer. Pali edged host Culver City, 3-2, in stoppage time Saturday afternoon on a goal by Cami Chapus from 16 yards out. Davis’s throw-in to Eve Babcock set up winning goal. Arden Shore converted a penalty kick in the second when Babcock was taken down in the box. Babcock scored in the third quarter while Izzy DeSantis’ goaltending and the defense of Caroline Frost contributed to the victory. Sunday’s game between Pali and Beverly Hills pitted two undefeated teams. In the second quarter, Deborah Abber scored from the top of the penalty area. A few minutes later, Chapus scored off of an assist from Bella Hicks to give the Storm a 2-0 win. Pali shut out Hollywood-Wilshire 6-0 in its final game Sunday. Madeline Kaplan, Davis, Chapus, Abber, Clymer, and Babcock scored for the Storm. Pali, coached by Chuck Davis and Nancy Babcock, will advance to the quarterfinals against LA Central Saturday at Culver City High. U-12 Girls In a two-day soccer fest held this weekend in Burbank, the Palisades Thunder rolled to a second place finish at the Burbank Blast Tournament. The Pali Thunder (aka the Pali Tsunami) won all three of their games in pool play by 2-1, 1-0, and 3-1 scores, to finish first in their bracket. The team went on to take second place overall after a narrow penalty-kick shootout loss in the finals. Assistants Lupe Rodriguez and Terry Friedman and head coach Eric Waxman were proud of the team’s performance both offensively and defensively. Sweeper Robyn Rapaport and fellow defenders Alondra Barbosa, Erin Landau, Kate Friedman and Olivia Clifford harried the opposition at every turn, allowing only two goals the entire tournament. Barbosa and Landau showed versatility shifting to the forward position and combining to score three goals. Dylan Blakely, Lauren Rodriguez and Ashley Grossman dominated the midfield. Emma Castillo and Carlye Gordon played well at forward with multiple scores. Goalies Katie Takakjian and Alice Phillips made numerous saves.
While watching the Super Bowl this Sunday, keep an eye out for #71 of the Carolina Panthers. It’s 6-8, 315-pound offensive right tackle Matt Willig, who moved to the Palisades bluffs a year ago with his wife, Chris, and their baby. Willig, a 12-year NFL veteran, is a native of Santa Fe Springs and was a standout player at USC. He entered the league as a defensive end but switched to tackle as a rookie with the New York Jets, where he spent the first three seasons of his pro career. He started a career-high 13 games at right tackle for the Atlanta Falcons in 1997, then had a short stint with the Green Bay Packers before earning a Super Bowl ring with the St. Louis Rams in 1999. Willig was traded to San Francisco prior to the 2000 season, where he played three seasons. He signed with Carolina as a free agent in August and has backed-up first-round draft choice Jordan Gross this season. Willig has started 34 of the 133 games he has played in the NFL.
Winning seems to follow Palisadian Jerritt Elliott wherever he goes. The Palisades High grad and former USC interim head coach is now beginning his third year as head coach of the University of Texas women’s volleyball team and already he has brought the program back to national prominence. Under Elliott’s leadership, the Longhorns reached the NCAA tournament for the second straight year and finished fourth in the Big 12 Conference. Elliott was selected Pac-10 Coach of the Year in both of his seasons at USC, where he led the Women of Troy to a No. 4 national ranking and a 29-3 record in 2000. Elliott graduated from Cal State Northridge with a Kinesiology degree in 1991. He was appointed head coach of the USA Junior National team for the summer of 2001 but gave up the position to take the Texas job.
Leslie Randolph Skidmore, Jr., who had raised his family in Pacific Palisades, died peacefully January 15 in Napa, California. He was 85. Born in Portland, Oregon, Skidmore grew up in Salt Lake City, where he attended the University of Utah before transferring to the U. S. Naval Academy, from which he graduated in 1942. Following graduation, he became a gunnery officer aboard the U.S.S. Pensacola. His ship distinguished itself in Pacific Theater battles that included Coral Sea, Midway, Guadacanal, Iwo Jima, Okinawa and Tarawa. The ship survived a torpedo attack in 1942 and returned to action through Armistice Day. Skidmore married Joyce Christensen on June 5, 1945. After the war he received a master’s degree in engineering from the Naval Academy in 1947 and a second master’s degree in physics from UCLA a year later. He worked at Pearl Harbor and the family lived in Kailua, Oahu, between 1951 and 1955. He was honorably discharged from the Navy in 1956 with a rank of Lieutenant Commander. He is remembered fondly and with deepest respect by his shipmates with whom he communicated regularly throughout his life. After the Navy, Skidmore spent his career as an electronics engineer at Deco Electronics, then Hughes Aircraft Company in Culver City. He assisted in developing early satellite transmission facilities in Perth, Australia, in the 1960s and managed classified defense programs including missile guidance and aircraft navigation systems ranging from early radar, sonar and laser research to guidance systems for the F-18 fighter jet. The Skidmores lived from 1958 to 1982 in Pacific Palisades, where Joyce was a well-known real estate agent. After Les retired from Hughes in 1981, the couple retired in Monterey, California, where they and their best friends, Martha and Bill Edlun, both built retirement homes. In 1999, Les and Joy moved to Napa. Skidmore will be fondly remembered for his generous spirit, humor and commitment to and love of his family and his country. He was a meticulous and skilled engineer who relaxed by applying the same attention to detail as a chef, gardener and woodworker. He lived his life in furtherance of American ethics-honor and loyalty to country, family and friends. In addition to his wife, Les is survived by his son, Randy of Napa; his daughter, Terri Skidmore Lantz (husband Stephen) of Pacific Palisades; and his grandchildren, Peter Skidmore, Patrick Skidmore Lantz, Geoffrey Skidmore and Katie Lantz. He was interred at Tulocay cemetery in Napa.
Vincent F. Cleeves, a 54-year resident of Pacific Palisades, passed away on Wednesday, January 21 at St. John’s Hospital in Santa Monica. He was 86. Cleeves was born in La Crescenta on July 4, 1917. As a young boy, he delivered the local newspaper on horseback and as a teenager made a surfboard and learned to surf Southern California beaches. He graduated from UC Berkeley with a degree in mechanical engineering. While working in New York, he met his future wife, Nancy, in 1946. They married shortly thereafter and moved to the Palisades from Santa Monica in 1950. Employed for 35 years at McDonnell Douglas in Ocean Park, Cleeves commuted daily to Long Beach. After retiring, he continued to consult for McDonnell Douglas for three years before settling down to hobbies and his passion of cabinetmaking. An accomplished woodworker, Vince built many beautiful furniture pieces and cabinets for his family. He loved to hike in the Santa Monica Mountains, backpack in the Sierra Nevada Mountains with his sons and nephews, and spend time at the beach bodysurfing. Many family vacations were spent skiing at Mammoth Mountain. He also enjoyed travels to Alaska, Hawaii, Europe and the Panama Canal. Cleeves is survived by his wife of 57 years, Nancy; sons Vincent Jr., of Boulder, Colorado, Monty of Redwood City, and Chuck of San Diego; daughter Virginia of Boulder; a sister, Marion of Berkeley; seven grandchildren; and several nieces and nephews. A funeral Mass was held at Corpus Christi Church in Pacific Palisades on January 24. Contributions may be made in Cleeves’s name to the charity of one’s choice.
Barbara Carr, former manager of the Palisades branches of Santa Monica Bank and U.S. Bank, passed away at West Hills Hospital on December 10, following a lengthy illness. She was 49. Born in Toledo, Ohio, Carr moved to Southern California in 1987. Her career included 29 years in banking. She was an active member of the Palisades Lions Club for seven years and participated in community events as a member of the Palisades Chamber of Commerce and in the American Cancer Society. From 1998-2002, she reviewed and made suggestions for Compsych Systems Publications in Pacific Palisades. Carr will be remembered by her many friends as a caring person with a generous heart. She is survived by her brother Jim Carr and family of Maumee, Ohio, and her sister Judy Vienhage and family of Cape Coral, Florida. A memorial service was held in Westlake Village on December 15. Donations may be made to the American Cancer Society or one’s favorite charity.
Trudy Louise Barker, former employee of Anita Jean and Gages Children’s Wear in Pacific Palisades, passed away on January 26. She was 60. Barker was born on November 27, 1943 in Los Angeles to Jim and Anita Jean Barker and graduated from University High School. She worked in the family business until the store closed in February 1985. Preceded in death by her father, she is survived by her mother and her stepfather, Ross Oakley; sisters Ginny Bass, Linda Oakley and Judi Barker; brother Jim Barker, Jr.; many nieces, nephews and loving friends and “furry friends” Snoopy and Big Toe. Funeral services will be held this morning at 10:30 a.m. at Gates, Kingsley & Gates Moeller Murphy Mortuary Chapel, 1925 Arizona in Santa Monica, with burial following at Eternal Valley Memorial Park in Newhall. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Barker’s memory to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Los Angeles Chapter, 2440 S. Sepulveda Blvd., Suite 115, Los Angeles, CA 90064.
Lifelong Palisadian Catherine Reibel, one of the most highly-recruited high school rowers in the nation, has accepted admission to Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut. Reibel, a senior honors student at Marlborough High, turned down offers from Notre Dame, UCLA, Cal, Pennsylvania, Cornell and Virginia, among others. Reibel was a standout basketball player in the Palisades Recreation Center league before winning an Amateur Athletic Union bronze medal and being selected a Youth Basketball of America National Championship All-Tournament selection. She led Marlborough to the CIF Southern Section Division IV championship and was an Academic-Athlete Award winner as both a freshman and a sophomore before a series of knee injuries ended her promising career prematurely. Reibel then switched her focus to rowing and, after less than a full year of competition, earned a seat on the U.S. Junior National Rowing team, which placed fourth out of 36 teams at the famed Royal Canadian Henley Regatta in the summer. Reibel trains with fellow Palisadians Nicole Eisenberg and Ariadne Reynolds under the tutelage of club coach Zohar Abramovitz at Marina Aquatic Club in Marina Del Rey. While part of the same team, the girls row on different boats. The size of a crew depends largely on the size, physique, strength and endurance of the individual rowers. Reibel sits in the fourth seat of her boat, smack dab in the middle, because of her long, powerful strokes. Reibel’s boat placed fifth at a regatta in Lake Natoma in Sacramento last fall. Reibel competes in regattas year round.
When Palisadian Anjini Desai married and moved to Los Angeles from Bombay in 1996, she vowed to keep the language, customs and traditions of her native land alive, a pledge made all the more meaningful when she became a mother. Desai is exuberantly fulfilling her mission as an ambassador of Indian culture, both with her own children and many other kids in the Palisades. In December, Desai introduced students at Seven Arrows Elementary to Diwali, India’s spectacular festival of lights. Celebrated in India in the fall in accordance with the lunar calendar, Diwali commemorates the arrival of the Hindu Lord Rama, who is said to have returned from exile to reclaim his kingdom. “It’s the biggest festival in India,” says Neil Desai, Anjini’s husband, who is vice president of a biotechnology firm in Santa Monica.”Even though it’s based in religion and represents the Hindu New Year, it’s more of a cultural thing that everyone celebrates.” During the five-day festival, Indians light thousands of earthen “diya,” small oil lamps to illuminate the path of Lord Rama and to welcome Lakshmi, the goddess of prosperity, into their homes. Fireworks explode in the sky many nights in a row, and amid this joyous atmosphere families gather, dressed in new clothes, to exchange gifts and enjoy sweets. As Diwali signifies the renewal of life and heralds the beginning of a new season, the festival also calls for a freshly cleaned and vibrantly decorated home. “It’s really an excuse to have fun,” Anjini told the Palisadian-Post from her parents’ home in Bombay, where she and daughters Ayeshna, 5, and Ayaana, 3, are now on holiday. “India is alive with so many different festivals. It’s a coming together and closeness of people that’s an integral part of who we are.” Children at Seven Arrows got a real taste of this communal spirit when Desai recruited the entire student body to help her fashion the school’s own version of Diwali. They assisted her in making “diya,” created traditional “rangoli” designs composed of colored sand and fresh flowers to adorn the floors and constructed garlands of marigolds and carnations to grace the walls. This set the stage for an event that featured storytelling, traditional Indian music and an elaborate folk dance performance. Both children and adults donned authentic Indian clothing supplied by Desai, some coming from her own wardrobe, other pieces purchased and brought back from India. “Its a different body awareness if you wear costumes,” Desai explains. “I teach little children. They can feel the movement and better understand the culture with the right clothing and costumes.” An unabashed use of bold color was among the most striking elements of the festival. “Color is part and parcel of everyday life in India,” explains Anjini. “It’s part of the vibrancy of the whole culture.” The students not only became active celebrants of Dewali, but also gave thought to the holiday’s underlying purpose as a time of purification, forgiveness and strengthening of friends and family ties. Anjini, who has a degree in business management from Oxford and is a black belt in Goju Karate, regularly teaches traditional and classical Indian dance to children ages 4 to 10. Her “Ghungroo” dance classes are offered through Seven Arrows’ Roots and Wings program in Temescal Gateway Park. The children chant “Dha-ge-na-ki, na-ka-dhin-na,” while “ghungroos,” bands of bells tied to their ankles, rattle and chime to their movements. The dance classes are also infused with stories and poems about the children of India, along with small art projects based on the meaning of a song or instrument. “My daughter is having such a good time, and the dancing is so contagious that I end up dancing with her in class every time,” says Lorena Kiralla, whose daughter Grace, 6, attends Desai’s Ghungroo class. “It is so much fun, the moms have been begging for an adult class of their own.” This is precisely what Desai is planning next, with an adult Ghungroo class scheduled to begin in February. In the meantime, Desai and her husband, who has played the sitar since a child in India, continue to share their cultural heritage around town, including at Little Dolphins, the preschool where both their daughters are enrolled.