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Boys Volleyball

Santa Barbara falls to Redondo Union in CIF Opening Round

Dons take early lead before coughing up three consectuive sets during 3-1 defeat

Santa Barbara suffered a 3-1 defeat to Redondo Union on Tuesday evening at JR Richards Gymnasium. Click to view larger
Santa Barbara suffered a 3-1 defeat to Redondo Union on Tuesday evening at JR Richards Gymnasium.  (JC Corliss / Noozhawk photo)

With a dominant 25-13 victory during the first set, it seemed as if things were just heating up for Santa Barbara High in its CIF-SS Division 1 volleyball playoff opener against Redondo Union.

However, with three consecutive set wins, the Sea Hawks effectively bounced back to defeat the Dons 13-25, 25-22, 25-17, 25-23, on Tuesday night at JR Richards Gymnasium. 

“To beat a team like that in first game was pretty impressive, but they didn’t let it bother them,” Santa Barbara head coach Chad Arneson said. “Got to give them credit for making better adjustments.”

Leading the way throughout for Redondo Union was 6-7 outside hitter Lucas Lassone. The future USC Trojan had a .594 hitting percentage on the evening to go along with 22 kills and 4 aces. 

Logan Grove of Redondo Union is blocked by Santa Barbara’s Cord Pereira, left, and Cooper Johnson. Click to view larger
Logan Grove of Redondo Union is blocked by Santa Barbara’s Cord Pereira, left, and Cooper Johnson. (JC Corlss / Noozhawk photo)

Although the Dons (19-11 overall, 7-1 league) may have felt that they were in for a laugher following their first game win, they soon began to realize that the battle-tested Sea Hawks were no joke. 

Redondo Union (22-12 overall, 7-3 league) finished third in a loaded Bay League that featured teams ranked in the top 10 of Division 1, including No. 1 seed Mira Costa and 7th seeded Palos Verdes.

“Santa Barbara is a big physical team and they’re about as difficult of a first-round draw as you can get,” Sea Hawks head coach Duncan Avery commented. “With a large group of seniors, they didn’t want their season to end and battled hard.”

Making his presence felt for the Dons was junior outside hitter Henry Hancock, who tallied 11 kills with only one error. Also adding significant contributions were JM Cage and Bolden Brace, who combined for 17 kills during the contest.

Following their first set victory, Santa Barbara jumped out to a quick 10-5 lead in the second set. Redondo Union  responded with a run of its own to take the lead and eventually the set. 

“We really struggled passing the ball in that first set but we responded adequately,” added coach Avery. “Great ball control eventually made the difference, as we did a good job of getting our middles going.”

In the third set, the Sea Hawks kept their momentum rolling with an impressive display of blocking and serving. This play allowed Redondo Union to easily win the set by a score of 25-17.

During the fourth game, the Dons furiously fought for their lives while trading blows with the Sea Hawks. The set featured five lead changes before Redondo Union eventually pulled out the 25-23 win.

“In the fourth set, we were blocking well but their but their big guy had a good jump serve that was really tough to stop,” senior setter Cord Pereira said.

This defeat marks the second straight season that Santa Barbara has fallen during the first round of the CIF Division 1 playoffs.

“It’s tough and I’m tired of losing in the first round of the Division 1 playoffs,” concluded coach Arneson “We belong at this level and hopefully the young guys can remember this, but deep down it’s little disappointing.”

Redondo advances to the second round of the playoffs and will play fifth seeded Corona del Mar. 

The Dons wrap up another successful season in which they tied for a share of the Channel league title with cross-town rival Dos Pueblos. 

— Noozhawk sports reporter Blake DeVine can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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