Santa Barbara High took fourth-seeded Cerritos to the limit but came up short and fell in five sets in a CIF-SS Division 4 girls volleyball first-round match on Thursday. The scores were 25-23, 23-25, 25-23, 19-25, 15-9.

“We battled tonight,” said coach Ariana Garner. “It was a high-intensity game, with a loud crowd. Our girls played with heart tonight. All 18 girls were extremely engaged throughout the entire match.”

The Dons defended like crazy and put balls away on offense.

Freshman Shae Delany, who recently got pulled up from JV, led Santa Barbara with 17 kills. Senior Reese Kelley contributed 12 kills and sophomore Emma Zuffaleto added 11 kills on the night.

Defensively, junior libero Hayden Randolph played scrappy defense, picking up 18 digs, and sophomore Charlotte Caesar had 14 digs in middle back.

Senior Anabel Caesar was a force at the net with three blocks and slowed Cerritos’ most offensive hitter with multiple touches on the block. 

“Our seniors showed our young team what it takes to be apart of the Dons Girls Volleyball program,” said Garner. “They played with heart and left it all out on the court tonight. They can end their seasons with their heads held high. 

“As coaches, we are proud of the way the season ended.”

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Barry Punzal, Sports Editor

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