Santa Barbara High’s girls volleyball team had a battle on its hands Thursday night against visiting Buena.

The Dons recovered from a slow start and put it all together in the fifth set to beat Bulldogs, 22-25, 25-22, 18-25, 25-21,15-5.

“We had a slow start, with some serve-receive ruts and too many hitting errors,” said coach Kristin Hempy, whose team remained tied for first place in the league with San Marcos and Dos Pueblos at 4-1. “We pushed through and kept battling, and Buena played outstanding defense and served tough consistently. We finally came alive in game five to end the match, but we definitely need to have a stronger start in future matches.’

Gracie Meinzer had a strong match for the Dons, dishing out 37 assists, making 20 digs and putting down five kills.

“Gracie played well for us tonight, with strong setting to place our offense. She is so versatile and really makes an impact on both offense and defense,” said Hempy.

Shae Delany led the attack 22 kills to go with 11 digs and a block.

“Shae had a great night with her kills, and was consistently putting the ball away when we needed it,” said Hempy.

Middles Nicole Schuetz and Augustine Wooten put away 12 and nine kills, respectively. Schuetz also had two blocks.

Libero Tessa de Albergaria led the Dons with 15 digs and gave Buena trouble with her serving.

Santa Barbara is on the road for league matches at Ventura and Rio Mesa next week.

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Barry Punzal, Sports Editor

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