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Youth Sports

SBVC Travel Teams Compete in Las Vegas, Hawaii

Santa Barbara Volleyball Club teams were in Las Vegas and Hawaii for tournaments during the Presidents Day holiday weekend.

The 18 Blue team traveled to complete in the 3-day Las Vegas Classic. Going into the tournament with a 4th seed in their pool, and an overall 103 ranking out of 108 teams, the team had a chip on its shoulder,and set out to prove the tournament directors wrong.

Day 1 the team did just that – they opened with a win over the 2 seed in their pool, HIC 18 Kim (23-25, 25-21, 15-3), before dropping their only match of the day to the 6th overall seed in the tournament, T-Street 18 Randy (14-25, 25-23, 9-15). They finished off the day with a big win over REBELS 18 (25-11, 25-7). Coach Kat Niksto said, “I’m very proud of how well the team played on the first day of competition. Everyone contributed in different ways throughout the day, including Katelyn Mires stepping in the set the 3rd match of the day and really showing how hard she has been working, and how far she has come. Also having a big day was middle blocker Ally Mintzer – her offense and defense gave the team a big boost to a solid first day.”

Day 2 the team faced much stiffer competition! In a very evenly matched pool, the team went 1-2, with their win coming over Actyve 18 Mizuno (17-25, 25-20, 15-10), before dropping close losses to Houston Stellar 18 Elite (19-25, 25-27) and Seattle Jrs 18s (25-21, 24-26, 10-15).  This led to a 3-way tie for 2nd place in the pool, and to advance to the gold bracket challenge match that evening.  Unfortunately, SBVC finished 3rd place when it came down to overall set records. Coach Niksto said of Day 2, “Kelly Bickett stepped up once again and showed her leadership on the court. She ran a great offense, and really did a good job of getting young call up middle blocker Kristine Fimlaid (from the 16 Blue team) involved in the offense. Kristine was impressive as well this weekend, executing the blocking game plan and working hard to get available to attack in transition. All tournament long, Jenna MacFarlane never left the court, and she played every minute all out. She provided consistent offense, defense and serving throughout the entire weekend.”

Day 3 competing in the Bronze Division, the team played its best volleyball of the tournament, going 3-0 with wins over Livewire 18 Adidas (25-12, 25-14), APEX 18-A1 (25-22, 25-17), and finally Portland VBC 18-Black (25-19, 22-25, 15-13). That put the team winning the Bronze Division and taking 31st overall out of 108 teams. Coach Niksto said, “Caylin Zimmerman and Sophia Fay really played their best volleyball on Monday! Caylin took the offensive load of the team and started hitting strong line and hard angle shots, which scored a lot of points; while Sophia played phenomenal defense – not letting any ball hit the ground without 100% effort on her part. Also stepping up big on offense and defense was the blocking of Camilla Tamburini, and the serving and right back defense of another young call up, Alison Minnich (from the 15 Blue team).”

“At the end of the day, I hope this tournament left the players hungry for more. We all felt like we are so close to breaking through into that crossover match, and we only have 2+ weeks to train hard and prepare for our next tournament (in early March) in Denver.” 

The 14 Blue team traveled to Hawaii to take part in the AAU Grand Prix Hawaii. They received the invitation to play in the tournament, partially due to their AAU West Coast Championship Gold Medal last season as a 13 Blue team.

Day 1 saw the team go 2-1, posting wins over Jammers Hawaii 14 Blue (25-13, 25-17), and Laule’a 14 Black (26-24, 25-8) before losing to eventual 3rd place finisher Maximize Volleyball Club (25-13, 17-25, 12-15). 

Day 2 the team faced stiff competition and what felt like a home court disadvantage. They lost close matches to (eventual 2nd place finisher) LAC 14 Grn Hon (26-28, 24-26) and (eventual 1st place finisher) Jammers 14 Black (27-25, 19-25, 11-15), before beating Hoolokahi 13U (25-7, 25-13). 

Coach Dillan Bennett said, “our girls did a great job of competing this weekend. Our only three losses in the tournament came to the teams that finished 1st, 2nd, and 3rd overall. We finished in 9th Place after it was all said and done, and considering the circumstances, I felt we made improvements this weekend. Taylor Wilson and Elise Guerrand-Hermes carried the offense for us, and Tiffany Medel and Madeline Gunderson played very solid defense. These four were also our best servers at the tournament, and our serving kept us in every match we played."

Up next for SBVC travel teams, this weekend the 15’s team head to LA for their Mandatory #1 tournament on Saturday. And for SBVC’s local Blenders non-travel teams, their first tournament is this weekend, with the 7th/8th Grade Division playing Saturday, and the 5th/6th Grade Division playing Sunday.

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