The powerful jump serves of No. 1 seed Valencia battered Santa Barbara and swept up the title in Saturday’s Division 2 CIF final, 25-16, 32-30, 25-19.
Middle blocker Chris Pratt played well for the Dons, but Valencia’s heavy-handed middles had their day, capitalizing on precision passing and balanced power and quickness on the attack.
Losing the tight second game battle seemed to dishearten the Dons, who mustered little resistance in game three.
The year was memorable for head coach Chad Arneson and his talented, senior-laden squad that settled for a second-straight CIF runner-up finish.
The Dons defeated Corona Del Mar, last year’s CIF champion, in a fabulous five-game semi-final match Wednesday, and reigned as undefeated champion of the Channel League and winner of big-time tournament titles in Santa Barbara and San Diego. Valencia, meanwhile, bounced Dos Pueblos from the tournament Wednesday.
The Dons had knocked Valencia out of the CIF tournament last season, and had split with the Vikings in nonleague matches this year, so Saturday’s win was some vindication for Valencia.
The Vikings are coached by Santa Barbara High alum Mark Knudsen.