No. 1 Mira Costa suffered its first loss of the season, and second-ranked Santa Margarita stepped up and won the Karch Kiraly Santa Barbara Tournament of Champions on Saturday at J.R. Richards Gym.
Mira Costa got by on Friday playing without its two starting outside hitters. But the Mustangs missed them in the semifinals and lost to Newport Harbor, a team they had beaten in three straight when at full strength earlier in the year. Saturday’s match went five games, with the Sailors winning 25-19, 18-25, 25-17, 22-25, 15-11.
Newport Harbor faced No. 2 Santa Margarita in the final and the Eagles beat their Orange County rivals for the third time this season, 25-18, 25-19, 25-23.
Penn State-bound setter and tournament MVP Taylor Hammond led the Santa Margarita attack with 41 assists. Ryan Baine had 14 kills, UCSB commit Spencer Buckley pounded 13 and Mitch Vallis added 10.
Volleyball legend and Santa Barbara alum Karch Kiraly presented Hammond with the MVP award.
Santa Margarita advanced to the final by sweeping Bellarmine Prep, 25-23, 25-23, 25-23, in the morning semifinals.
Mira Costa, the two-time defending champion, rebounded from its loss and beat Bellarmine Prep, 25-15, 25-19, 25-20 to finish in third place.
Corona del Mar beat Thousand Oaks, 25-22, 25-21, 25-22, to take fifth
Santa Barbara, which lost to Thousand Oaks in the morning, bounced back and beat Valencia in four sets, 25-17, 25-21, 22-25, 25-13, to place seventh.
Dons coach Chad Arneson praised the play of Alex Biedul, Clifford Anderson and sophomore setter Ryan Worley.
Santa Barbara libero Nick Clark played steady the entire tournament and was named to the all-tournament team.
Arneson said Thousand Oaks was running on all cylinders in their fifth-place semifinal match. “We weren’t clicking too well and they were outdiging us and making plays.”
After the four tournament matches over the weekend, the Dons played eight matches in 10 days, including two in Hawaii.
“It’s been a long two weeks for us,” Arneson said. “It’s been a grind. The boys played hard. We need a little rest. Hopefully, we can recharge and be ready for the rest of Channel League. We have three matches against San Marcos Ventura and DP on the road. The boys learned a lot from the tournament and knw what they have to work on.”
In other action, San Marcos lost to Clovis West on Saturday morning, but came back and beat Buena for 15th place. Dos Pueblos rebounded from a five-set loss against Long Beach Wilson and beat Royal in four games to finish 11th.