Santa Barbara High wanted another shot at Mira Costa in the Karch Kiraly Tournament of Champions, and the Dons boys volleyball team got it on Friday.
They battled with they perennial CIF-Southern Section powerhouse through five sets and pulled out the victory to advance to the tournament semifinals. The game scores were 20-25, 33-31, 19-25, 25-13, 15-13.
“It was a sweet win, a team win,” Santa Barbara coach Chad Arneson said.
Santa Barbara will play second-seeded Westlake in one semifinal match at 10:45 a.m. Top-seeded Corona del Mar faces Mountain View Saint Francis in the other semifinal. Both matches are at J.R. Richards Gym. The championship is at 6:15 p.m.
The Dons lost a five-set match against Mira Costa in their home opener back in early March. They are a much better team now.
Santa Barbara jumped out to a 7-3 lead in the fifth set on Friday only to see Mira Costa roar back and take an 11-10 advantage. But the Dons stayed composed and came up with big plays to go ahead 13-11. Henry Hancock came through with a big block to put them at match point.
Mira Costa scored the next two points to make it 14-13. With their star player Max Cajuste serving, the Dons set up Will Rottman and he hit a roll shot that was dug by the Mustangs. They hit a ball from the back row that setter Dane Westwick kept alive. Pierce Barnes then set Rottman and he crushed the ball on an angle for the winning point.
“Everyone is contributing,” said Arneson. “Pierce Barnes was amazing at libero. Ben Roach played great. Everyone stepped up when needed to. We pulled it together. We’re starting off well and learning how to finish games.”
In other action, Westlake beat Simi Valley and Buchanan; Corona del Mar defeated Royal and West Ranch and Saint Francis knocked off San Marcos and Clovis.
San Marcos bounced back and defeated Channel Islands in five sets, 25-20, 15-25, 25-20, 23-25, 15-11. The Royals play Newbury Park in their gym at 10:45 a.m. in the consolation semifinals.