Santa Barbara High’s volleyball team was looking for a quick and efficient week of Channel League matches before heading into the Karch Kiraly Tournament of Champions over the weekend and a first-place showdown at Dos Pueblos early next week.
The Dons accomplished it with a quick 3-0 win against Buena on Tuesday and a 25-17, 25-17, 25-17 sweep over crosstown rival San Marcos on Thursday night at the Thunderhut.
“The week has gone perfectly,” Dons assistant coach Tyler Hansen said.
Santa Barbara (16-5, 6-0 in league) pulled away from the Royals midway through the first set. During one rally, 6-foot setter Dane Westwick blocked three San Marcos attacks and the Dons won the rally to go up 20-15.
“Everyone plays hard but I wish we had six Danes on the court blocking all the time,” Santa Barbara head coach Chad Arneson said. “I don’t want to take anything way from our other players, but the performance he put on out there... That one sequence he had three blocks. It gave me goosebumps.”
In the second set, a kill by Will Rottman followed by a Ben Roach solo block opened up a 15-10 advantage. Henry Hancock reeled off three aces during a four-point serving run in the third set for a 19-10 lead.
The UCSB-bound Hancock led Santa Barbara with 10 kills, Rottman had eight, middle Austin Lind added six and Roach contributed five.
The 6-foot-8 Lind provided some potency in the middle for the Dons. On the final point of the second set, he reached high to reject a soft shot and dunked it to the floor. He also scored the final point of the first set by pushing the ball off the San Marcos blockers.
“He’s coming around, very, very quick, said Hansen. “He knew nothing about the game three months ago and now he’s blocking balls and having fun. It’s really fun to watch him get into it.”
“The way he’s flourishing on the volleyball court I think he’s found a love for a new sport,” said Arneson. “I wish we had him four years ago.”
Ryan Fay put down some impressive hits and finished with seven kills on the night to lead San Marcos (9-8, 3-4), while Jake Sofro added four kills.
First-year San Marcos coach Kyle Benskin said the Royals are fighting for third place in the league. “We’ve done well. We’re working hard.”
The Royals couldn’t match the amount of firepower the Dons bring to the court.
“They have a lot of firepower all over the place and guys are playing consistent,” Benskin said. “We just had a few plays get away from us in the end (of each set) and they capitalized.”
The Royals will join Santa Barbara in the Karch Kiraly TOC. They open against Saint Francis of Mountain View at 11 a.m. Friday.
“I’m looking forward to that,” Benskin said. “We’re going to be playing some tough teams so that will definitely help us for the last little bit of our season going into the playoffs.”
Santa Barbara is the tournament’s sixth seed and opens against South Pasadena at 2:30 p.m.
“If we can take care of business, I’d love to see Mira Costa. That would be our next matchup if we can do that,” said Arneson.