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Saturday, March 23 , 2019, 6:52 pm | Mostly Cloudy 64º

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

Santa Barbara Struggles Late in Sets, Loses to Thousand Oaks in Four

Reece Kelley, left, and Linnea Skinner of Santa Barbara combine on a block during match against Thousand Oaks Click to view larger
Reece Kelley, left, and Linnea Skinner of Santa Barbara combine on a block during match against Thousand Oaks (Barry Punzal / Noozhawk photo)

Santa Barbara High couldn’t make the plays down the stretch in sets and dropped its girls volleyball opener against Thousand Oaks on Tuesday night. 

The Lancers took the match in four sets, 25-17, 18-25, 25-21, 25-22.

In sets three and four, the Dons rallied from deficits but they couldn’t sustain the momentum nor stop Thousand Oaks’ 1-2 punch of Aliya Adegoke and Chloe Mayhue.

Santa Barbara coach Chad Arneson said the match came down to execution. 

“Maybe here and there, a couple plays we could have put balls away when we had the opportunities,” he said. “In Game 4, we tied it at 22-all and we got to keep that mentality of staying aggressive and hitting balls, even when we're out of system."

The coach also pointed to some defensive lapses.

“A couple of times we were hesitant on defense and let balls drop right in front of us,” he said. “Santa Barbara is not known for that. Hopefully I can preach to the girls to dive for every ball and refuse to let balls drop. We had too many tips drop in front of us. 

In the third set, Mayhue broke a 21-all tie and made a big dig that resulted in a kill by Adegoke to give the Lancers a 24-21 lead. They blocked a Dons attack for the win. 

Santa Barbara took advantage of Thousand Oaks mistakes and battled back from a 21-17 deficit in the fourth set and knotted the score at 22-22. But once again Mayhue and Adegoke got the job done for the Lancers.  Mayhue sided out and then made a pair of digs, and Adegoke put the sets away on both plays to finish the match.

“You have to give Thousands Oaks credit, they found the right hitters,” Arneson said. “I feel like we’re a better team. We got to keep our heads up. I’m learning from these girls as much as they’re learning for me.”

A stuff block by Linnea Skinner sparked Santa Barbara to its win in the second set. Thousand Oaks was staging a comeback when Skinner made the big play to give her team a 20-16 lead.  Reece Kelley followed with a kill down the line, the Lancers made a hitting error and Chloe Mauceri of the Dons hit a ball off the block for a 23-16 advantage. The score was 24-18 when Kelley finished the set with a kill off the tape.

Mauceri led the Dons with 12 kills, Reece Kelley put away 11, Erika Foreman chipped in eight kills and Skinner finished with seven kills in the middle.

“Linnea really stepped up her game for us,” said Arneson.

Santa Barbara travels to Westlake on Thursday.

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