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Sports: A Noozhawk Partnership with Santa Barbara Athletic Round Table, The Lab, and American Riviera Bank
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Girls Volleyball

Laguna Blanca Beats Oaks Christian to Take Cate’s Mesa Mixer

Laguna Blanca took down a top-5 team from a higher CIF-SS division to win Cate's Mesa Mixer girls volleyball tournament on Saturday.

The Owls beat Oaks Christian, the No. 4 team in Division 4, in three sets, 25-15, 16-25, 15-13. The Owls, fourth ranked in Division 5, also beat the Lions in three sets in round-robin pool play. They beat Cate (25-8 18-25, 15-4) and Pacifica Christian (25-11, 25-17) to go undefeated.

"It was another good tournament for our team," assistant coach Kat Niksto said. "Being the third weekend in a row of  tournaments, it was a bit of a grind, but I think we got a lot of valuable experiences."

Natalie McCaffery had a productive day for the Owls, racking up 18 kills.

Senior and USC commit Laurel Kujan paced the Laguna Blanca attack with 33 kills on a .480 hitting percentage. She also had 25 digs and served seven aces. 

Caylin Zimmerman recorded 20 kills and 30 digs, while Kelly Bickett was all over the court, notching 14 kills, 26 digs, 59 assists and serving 12 aces on the day. 

Sophia Fay was the digs and passing leader, she scooped up 53 balls and passed 2.2 in serve receive.

"Sofia Fay was rock solid in serve receive all day long, and made some highlight digs against some powerful swings by Oaks Christian attackers," said Niksto. "Laurel Kujan was once again almost unstoppable in the middle, especially in transition. Kelly Bickett continues to do it all well — hit, set, serve, and play defense. And Natalie McCaffery had a big day offensively in the middle."

Laguna Blanca improves to 18-3 on the season.

Host Cate went 2-2 on the day, with both wins coming against Pacifica Christian.

Said coach Greg Novak: "We pushed Laguna to a third game but unforced errors allowed Laguna to pull ahead and never look back. We lost in two in our match against Oaks Christian where they had too many powerful swings to defend. We took down Pacifica Christian in pool play and again in the lower playoff match."

Novak praised the play Grace Blankenhorn, Maya Blattberg, Emily Burns and Hailey Panzer.

"Playing tough matches against some solid teams made the day very productive. We learned a lot and gained a lot of experience," said Novak


Noozhawk sports editor Barry Punzal can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk Sports on Twitter: @NoozhawkSports. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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