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Saturday, December 15 , 2018, 9:24 am | Fair 53º

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

Laguna Blanca Falls in Five in State Tournament

Laguna Blanca and Riverside-Woodcrest Christian battled through five sets for the second time in the postseason, and the Owls again came out on the short end.

Laguna Blanca rallied from a 2-0 deficit on the road, forced a deciding set and was on the verge of tying the score at 14-all. But Woodcrest Christian came through in the clutch, held off the Owls and won the match to advance to the Division 3 regional semifinals of the CIF State Girls Volleyball Tournament. The game scores were 25-23, 25-20, 20-25, 25-27, 15-13.

"We executed our game plan to the best of our ability. Unfortunately, they just made a few more plays than we did," said Laguna Blanca coach Jason Donnelly.

Woodcrest won a five-set match at Laguna Blanca in the semifinals of the CIF-Southern Section Division 6 semifinals. In that match, Woodcrest battled back from a 2-0 deficit.

This time, Woodcrest took the early advantage. Laguna Blanca roared back behind the play of junior Kelly Bickett. She had 59 assists, 18 digs "and had a great night from the service line, going on a number of long runs, including a 9-0 to start game 3, to get us back in the match," said Donnelly.

Three Owls recorded double figures in kills, led by senior Maddy Nicolson with 18. She also had 11 digs. Laurel Kujan put away 16 kills and Caylin Zimmerman had 14 kills and 15 digs.

Sophia Fay was a force on defense with 41 digs and Kendall White added 18.

Tesa Oaks pounded match-high 30 kills for Woodcrest Christian and outside hitter Raimi Albee came on strong in the latter part of the match and put away 18 kills.

"It was a great high school volleyball match," Donnelly said. "To see us battle back from down 0-2, and 10-14 in the fifth and to have a swing to tie it goes to show you the character of this team. We battle until the very end."

Laguna Blanca ends the season with a 25-3 record.

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