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Youth Sports

SBVC’s 13 Blue Wins Gold Medal at AAU West Coast Championships

The SBVC 13 Blue includes (back row, from left), assistant coach Keslie Brown, Tiffany Medel, Taylor Wilson, Annabelle Tiller, Maddie Oriskovich, Grace Johnson, Summer Nestlerode, Maddie Gunderson, head coach Ed Gover; front row, Riley Borchardt and Paige Doughty.
The SBVC 13 Blue includes (back row, from left), assistant coach Keslie Brown, Tiffany Medel, Taylor Wilson, Annabelle Tiller, Maddie Oriskovich, Grace Johnson, Summer Nestlerode, Maddie Gunderson, head coach Ed Gover; front row, Riley Borchardt and Paige Doughty.

The Santa Barbara Volleyball Club's 13 Blue team captured a gold medal at the AAU West Coast Championships in Las Vegas.

The 13 Blue upset tournament No. 1 seed Aces Athletics 13 Elite Dave in the semifinals (25-16, 24-26, 15-12) and blitzed Club V 13 Black EP  (25-15, 25-12) for the gold medal.

“I am so proud of this team” said coach Ed Gover. “Everyone played a huge role in our success. Libero Maddie Gunderson played great the whole weekend, helping to stabilize our passing, while attackers Annabelle Tiller, Grace Johnson, and Tiffany Medel did a good job of mixing up their shots and being smart on offense. Paige Doughty and Riley Borchardt not only handled the setting duties all weekend long, but hit in the front row as well. Taylor Wilson was particularly strong at the net in the middle, along with Maddie Oriskovich and Summer Nestlerode. We had a great tournament, and I’m so happy this team achieved their goal of winning a gold medal.”

The 13 Blue battled a bit of nerves in the first match of the tournament, but still beat Next Level 13’s in straight sets (26-24, 25-18). From there they settled into a rhythm and never looked back. They cruised through the next two matches, beating Twin Falls Elite 13 National (25-9, 25-11) and Boise 13 (25-13, 25-9).

“We started the day a little shaky but our serving and passing keep us steady. Paige Doughty served 4 aces in the second set of our first match," said Gover.

On Day 2, the team jumped all over their first opponent of the morning, beating AVA 13 Gold (25-6, 25-0). Again, serving played a big role as Tiffany Medel served 24 points in a row in the second set. Next, they swept Mid City 13’s (25-19, 25-17), before taking on the top-seeded team. In final match of the day, the Blue team lost a tight 3-set match to Storm VBC Blizzard (20-25, 25-10, 8-15) who was the No. 1 seed in the pool.  Still, their second-place finish on the day qualified them to move on to the top-6 Gold Bracket for the final day.

Coach Gover noted the strength of the team’s defense and its scrappy play. “As a team, you frustrate your opponent when you don’t let a ball hit the ground, and that’s what we do as a team. Leading the way was Annabelle Tiller, Riley Borchardt, Paige and Tiffany.”

In the quarterfinals, the 13 Blue team swept Velocity VBC 13U (25-20, 25-13) to advance to the semifinals. There, they faced the toughest match of the tournament, a battle against top overall seed, Aces Athletics 13 Elite Dave.  With outstanding team play and excellent serving, they played some of their best volleyball of the season and pulled out the win. During that match, the team lost middle Summer Nestlerode to an injury. But middles Taylor Wilson and Maddie Oriskovich stepped up and the team carried on into the finals.

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