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Girls Volleyball

San Marcos Seniors Rise to Occasion on Special Night, Lead Royals to Sweep of Santa Barbara

Ady Colburn, Erin Holehouse, Delaney Werner, Dani Dusebout all make impact in match

Jenna MacFarlane, left, and Sierra Palladino block a shot by Santa Barbara’s Chloe Mauceri Click to view larger
Jenna MacFarlane, left, and Sierra Palladino block a shot by Santa Barbara’s Chloe Mauceri (Gary Kim photo)

The San Marcos volleyball seniors had a Senior Night to remember on Thursday. All four of them made huge contributions to help the Royals sweep crosstown rival Santa Barbara High, clinch second place in the Channel League and earn a CIF playoff spot.

When senior Erin Holehouse served an ace for the final point, the San Marcos students rushed the court to join the team in celebrating a 25-23, 28-26, 25-19 victory at the Thunderhut.

The Royals complete league play at 5-3 to finish behind unbeaten Ventura. Santa Barbara falls to 3-4 and is tied for third place with Dos Pueblos. The Dons finish league play next week against Ventura while Dos Pueblos plays winless Buena.

On a night they were honored, seniors Delaney Werner, Ady Colburn, Dani Dusebout and Holehouse all had a hand in the sweep over the rival Dons. Werner led the team with 11 digs and served 3 aces, Dusebout was in the zone defensively and picked up 10 digs, Colburn put away 8 kills and Holehouse had two aces and 6 digs.

Junior outside hitter Jenna MacFarlane was San Marcos’ kill leader with 9.

“It was a really great win for us and we really wanted it,” said Colburn. “It was nice to see the whole team come together to get that.”

Royals co-coach Dwayne Hauschild said the win was big relief.

“For us, this match was big to win because of the CIF implications and  trying to get that squared away,” he said. “If we lost, it could have been a three-way logjam (with Dos Pueblos and Santa Barbara) and it would’ve been coin flips. So, we told the girls to do your best so we don’t have to worry about the drama. It was really cool it worked out.”

Colburn said the seniors were excited and looking forward to their special night.

“We came really prepared and ready to win this one on our Senior Night and our last time playing Santa Barbara. It was a really great time,” she said.

San Marcos found itself in trouble in the first set as it fell behind 23-18 after committing a hitting error. They suddenly turned things around after Colburn put a ball away for a side out. Taylor Hantgin served an ace, the Dons failed to convert after a dig and MacFarlane scored on a back-row kill to make it 23-22.

Then came a huge play in the set. The Dons thought they sided out on a Hallig hit down the line, but the floor official ruled the ball grazed the antenna. The call gave the point to San Marcos and tied the score at 23-23. Santa Barbara was called for a double contact violation on the next play, and San Marcos scored the winning point when a Dons’ attack was hit outside the antenna.

“That was a difference maker right there,” Santa Barbara coach John Gannon said of the call on Hallig’s hit. “That really hurt. If we could have pulled that first set out, obviously, things would have been different. We would have put some pressure on them.”

Colburn said the comeback was a matter of bearing down and playing better.

“We just really got to kick it into gear,” she said. “We know we got to play hard and minimize our errors and we just pulled it together in that last part and we fought hard and stayed aggressive.”

In the second set, Santa Barbara roared back from a 23-18 deficit to tie the score at 25-25. Brenna Carney and Erika Foreman combined on a couple of blocks and Liana Tacconelli served an ace to spark the comeback.

Kendall Williams and Sierra Palladino combined on block to give the Royals a 26-25 lead, but Foreman answered with a kill for the Dons to tie score. San Marcos scored the next two points on a Santa Barbara service error and a Kristine Fimlaid block to pull out the set.

“Our bench was so great. They also come in ready to play and ready to make a contribution to the team; they make such a difference,” Colburn said of players like Williams and Palladino. “We really couldn’t do without every single one of our players. Every single person contributes and we need all of us together. When we come together as a team, that’s when we win.”

Despite suffering two tough defeats, Santa Barbara continued to battle. San Marcos, however, kept coming up with big plays. Dusebout and Werner picked up some tough digs and Williams terminated the rally with a block to give the Royals a 16-10 lead.

A tip by Hallig brought the Dons to 21-19 but a hitting error killed their momentum. San Marcos finished out the match on a middle kill from Molly Kirkbride and two tough serves from Holehouse.

“It’s tough. I think we’re a better team than we showed tonight,” Gannon said. “A lot of credit to them, they have good servers, they got a little run going there. You can’t play tight. If you’re going to win in a good rivalry match you got to serve tough, you got to control the ball and you have to play with no fear. And we got tight.”

Chloe Mauceri had 9 kills to lead Santa Barbara, while Erika Foreman added 8 and Soliel Hallig had 7. Liana Tacconelli led the Dons defense with 13 digs.

Hauschild said the outcome of the match was a perfect ending for the San Marcos seniors.

“It’s kind of the dream scenario,” he said. “You want them to have a great crowd; you want the rivalry to be exciting — everybody having a great time in the gym — and the games to be close and exciting. To have your seniors go out in that kind of game is really cool.”

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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