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Tuesday, January 22 , 2019, 10:05 am | Fair 57º

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

Santa Barbara Volleyball Club U18 Boys Take Junior Classic Bronze Title

The Santa Barbara Volleyball Club's under-18 boys team won the Bronze Division championship at the Southern California Volleyball Association Junior Boys Classic in Anaheim.

The three-day tournament featured 76 teams from around the country. The SBVC squad finished 19th overall.

 “I am very proud of the performance our boys put on this weekend," coach Dillan Bennett said. "This is a long tournament with some of the best competition in the country, and to be able to rally a group of boys like this together on such short notice and compete the way we did was an outstanding outcome. It really speaks to how talented this group of players is, and they represented the SB community proudly.”

Day 1 saw the boys team go 2-1 with wins over Legends VBC 18-2 (25-14, 25-22) and Coast 18-2 (25-14, 25-15), and their single loss to MB Surf Nike 18’s (19-25, 19-25). That placed them 2nd in their pool for the day, and advanced them to the upper bracket for pool play the next day. Coach Bennett highlighted the play of Cooper Johnson, Ian McLain, and Henry Hancock.

“They carried the offensive load all weekend, delivering kills when we needed them most. Chris Costantino also contributed at the net with a diverse offense, which opened up hitters and created good matchups for us. Morgan Pierce also contributed well on offense up at the net with timely kills and good blocking reads.”

Day 2 brought significantly stronger teams, and SBVC stepped up to the challenge. This time their sole loss of the pool came at the start of the day to Adversity 18 Purple (15-25, 15-25), followed up by 2 strong wins over MVVC 18 Black (25-22, 20-25, 15-13) and SMBC 18 Black (25-12, 25-10). Finishing 2-1 and second in their pool again, the team once again got re-seeded and started another wave of pool play later that afternoon. That’s when SBVC started to run out of steam; they dropped those final 2 matches of the day to The HBC 18 Black (18-25, 20-25) and SG Elite- 18 Elite (14-25, 18-25).

Coach Bennett  highlighted several more standout players. “Adam Shields provided a spark with consistent blocking at the net. Often he would change momentum with rally-saving moves at the net. While Pierce O’Donnell and Henry Hancock carried the serve receive load for us, keeping us in-system for a majority of the tournament. Defensively, Pierce kept us in rallies and set hittable balls in transition, allowing us to convert real points on defense. Henry also played very well in the back court as a 6-5 outside hitter, covering a good amount of court on defense and in serve receive.”

On Day 3, the team finished that last match from day 2’s pool play with a loss to OCVC 18’s (18-25, 22-25). Then in the playoffs, the team ended strong with wins over Pulse Athletics 18-Hurley (25-20, 25-23) and Akamai 18’s (25-22, 17-25, 15-12).

Coach Bennett noted that, “our two rookie setters, Alex Chang and Parker Crossland had 6 practices leading up to this event to learn how to set at the 18 Open level, and did a great job running a diverse offense. They found good hitting matchups against the defense all weekend, and played very good behind our block. Their serving also provided a great deal of trouble for the opposition, thus making our block that much better. Also our utility players Ben Beifuss and James Halleck played their roles well this weekend, splitting the front and back row for the tournament. Ben served tough and played great in the back row, and James kept us in rallies by hitting the ball in places that made the defense work to get a good swing.”

This tournament marks the end of the season for the SBVC boys.

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