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Sports: A Noozhawk Partnership with The Lab and American Riviera Bank
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Santa Barbara Overpowers San Marcos

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Royals coach Jon Lee makes last visit to Dons' gym before retiring after 23 years.

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It was Senior Night for Santa Barbara’s boys’ volleyball team Thursday and Dons head coach Chad Arneson gave his squad the green light against San Marcos. The eleven seniors and their support had just enough to top the visiting Royals, 25-22, 20-25, 25-16, 25-16.

In a pre-game ceremony, San Marcos head coach Jon Lee, the most senior of them all, was recognized by Arneson with a plaque, thanking him for 23 years of heated rivalry with the Dons.

Game one had plenty of heat, and saw a 22-20 San Marcos lead evaporate in a series of prime-time errors that gave Dylan Hanseth, Will Montgomery, Andy Abyan and their senior comrades the win.

The Royals, with only two seniors in their ranks, came back strong, however, with Frank Nordin, the Swedish rookie of basketball fame, blocking balls and sending mystifying serves at the Dons. Andrew Grimes’ perfect passing, a pair of Erik Holliday blocks and some Neil Greene offense (eight kills on the night) put it away for San Marcos.

For games three and four, the Dons plugged in their stellar lineup, the one that has led them to tournament wins and a No. 2 national ranking. They clicked well enough to dust the Royals twice as jump serves stung and big blocks turned back San Marcos firepower.

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Santa Barbara has a firm hold on first place in Channel League standings and will face No. 2 Dos Pueblos next week. San Marcos has a showdown Tuesday with Ventura, which won its first-round match, in an effort to force a tie and a playoff with the Cougars for a CIF berth.

Lee left the romantically dim confines of the Dons’ gym for the last time as a head coach.

“The ceremony before the game had me stunned,” he admitted. “I’ve had joyous matches in this gym and plenty of heartbreak. Tonight was a proud show by my relatively inexperienced players, and we competed with confidence against premier opponents.

"We played proudly and that’s what it’s all about.”

Lee was mum on his future plans although he acknowledged that his gig as Noozhawk’s sports coordinator had brought him fame if not fortune.

Santa Barbara swept the JV and frosh/soph matches, 2-0. JV scores were 25-15, 25-15, while frosh/soph results were 25-20, 25-16.

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