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Youth Sports

Strong Start for Santa Barbara Volleyball Club 14s, 15s Teams

This weekend saw the Santa Barbara Volleyball Club's 14s teams take the court for their second qualifying event, and the 15s open their season with their first qualifying tournament. 

On Saturday the 14 Blue team went 3-0 as the top-seeded team in pool play. They posted wins over LAVA North 14-Adidas (25-8, 25-21), VCVC 14-Allie (25-16, 25-17),and Vision Zone (26-24, 26-24). By winning the pool, the 14-Blue advance to the final round of Qualifying in a position to start in Gold Divisions 1-4. The team is currently ranked 44th out of 272 teams in the SCVA standings.

Coach Dillan Bennett mention the key contributions of, “Grace Johnson, who stepped into a new role as a setter and played great, distributing the ball with ease to our hitters. Riley Borchardt also had a great tournament, and played as a hitter and a setter. Borchardt recorded her first career block early in the first set against LAVA."

Also competing on Saturday was the 14 Navy team. After having moved up a division from their last tournament, they entered the day the 4th seeded team. However, in their first match of the day they pulled the upset and stunned the 2nd seeded team, San Clemente 14-Robyn (21-25, 25-14, 15-13). They continued their upset streak against the top seeded team with a win over Mavericks 14-White (25-13, 25-18), before finally falling to the overall champions of the pool, Forza1 West 14-Red (20-25, 25-16, 9-15). Assistant Coach Missy Fuerst said: “The girls had a really good day! They really got their rotations down and played well as a team.” Coach Mike Maas noted the outstanding serving of Amelia Fowler, at one point tallying 16 serves in a row in a set!

On Sunday the 15’s team took to the court. The 15 Blue team went 2-1 as the 3rd seeded team in pool play, ranked 33rd overall out of 240 teams in the age division. The team began their morning playing the #1 ranked team in all of Southern California, Coast 15-Said. They played well and gave them a battle, but lost the match (22-25, 16-25). They didn’t let that loss deter them however, and proceeded to secure back to back wins against Surfside 15-Legends Silver (25-19, 25-23) and Supernova 15 All-Stars (25-18, 25-16). Their 2nd finish in pool play raises their overall rank by one position (32nd overall) and qualifies them to play in the Gold Division Power Pools during Qualifying Day #2.

Coach Dillan Bennet said: “Both setters, Mikayla Butzke and Ellie Gamberdella, did a great job of running the offense and attacking in the front row, giving the team versatility on the offensive side of the ball. Alison Minnich played spectacular defense in the back row as the libero, and did a great job keeping the ball off the floor. Grace Matthews played every point of the tournament, and held the team together during rough patches with her ball control, hustle, and volleyball IQ on the court. Bella Johnson led all players in the kills and aces department, and did a great job in a new outside hitting position for the first time today.”      

The 15 White team showed great composure in their first tournament of the season, which was also the first travel tournament ever for many of the newer players on the team. Switch into a 5-team pool at the last minute, the girls were thrown into their first match on short notice. Playing against OCVBC 15-Red they kept both sets close, but dropped the match (17-25, 22-25). Next up they battled in 2 matches that both were pushed to 3-sets, with losses to Forza1 15-Elite Black (25-20, 18-25, 9-15) and ECVBA 15-Isabel (25-8, 16-25, 15-13). In the last match of the day, all the girls hard work paid off and they finally secured their first victory (25-20, 25-23) against ProPlay VBC 15-Jess. 

Coach Taylor Warmerdam said: “Overall the girls started off every match well. Eva Moschitto was a very loud and communicative player, while Lauren Hill lead the defense well and showed great huddle and effort. Alessia Crickette did a great job setting and serving throughout the whole day and Finnian Whelan was an awesome all-around player; she passed well and stayed aggressive the whole day with hitting and serving.”

Up next for SBVC teams, the 16 Blue team has their first tournament of the season this upcoming weekend in the LA area, Qualifier #1 and #2 on Saturday and Sunday. While the 18 Blue team also opens its season playing the California Kickoff tournament in San Jose over the MLK holiday weekend. 

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