Santa Barbara High accomplished its game goals and achieved a season goal of making it to the CIF-Southern Section girls volleyball playoffs.

The Dons swept Santa Ynez, 25-17, 28-26, 25-20, in tiebreaking playoff match for the No. 3 CIF playoff spot in the Channel League on Thursday night at Santa Ynez. The teams finished tied for third in the six-team league with 5-5 records.

Santa Barbara missed the playoffs last year.

“In preparation for this match, our team honed in on their personal roles, which ultimately lead to our success as a team.” said Santa Barbara coach Ariana Garner. “We executed our game plan to serve tough and keep the opponent out of system to avoid the middles from getting set.”

Senior Avalon Gagnon stepped up to lead the Santa Barbara attack with 12 kills. Junior Anabel Caesar provided eight kills and a service ace, senior middle Georgia Brace had three kills, three aces and two solo blocks.

Also playing a big role was freshman Lily Singhass, who was pulled up from the JV team last week. 

“She added an offensive spark on the outside, earning six kills in her second match on varsity,” said Garner.

The first-year coach was pleased with her team’s effort in the high-intensity match and is excited that the Dons met their goal of qualifying for the playoffs.

“At our first meeting as a team, the girls set a goal to make it to CIF. We could not be more happy for this group of girls in accomplishing their goal,” she said.

The CIF playoff pairings will be announced on Saturday.   

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Barry Punzal, Sports Editor

— Noozhawk sports editor Barry Punzal can be reached at Follow Noozhawk Sports on Twitter: @NoozhawkSports. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.