After the first two rounds of the 2012 Karch Kiraly Tournament of Champions, Santa Barbara is the only local team left in the winner’s bracket and will face Esperanza in the semifinals.
The Dons swept Harvard Westlake in the opening round, winning the sets by scores of 25-17, 25-19, and 25-20.
Newport Harbor was Santa Barbara’s next opponent, and gave the Dons a tougher match. Santa Barbara won in four sets by scores of 20-25, 25-17, 25-22, and 25-15.
6’11″ middle Blocker Kevin Rakestraw immediately proved to be a problem for the Dons. He led his team to a 25-20 vicotry in the first set and finished the match with 20 kills of 36 attempts for a hitting percentage of .555.
The second set was very closely contested and Santa Barbara’s upperclassmen helped the team to stay composed and win important points.
“Senior leadership—that definitely carries through in these close matches and you could see that as a group,” head coach Chad Arneson said. “Having four or five seniors in the group is a luxury to have.”
Holden Ploch and Sam Cohen, the Dons senior middle blockers set the tone both on offense and defense. Ploch recorded 13 kills and four blocks while Cohen finished with eight kills and five blocks.
Their efforts helped build momentum, and by the fourth set, Santa Barbara was clearly in control of the match.
“When you get up by five or six, you can really get in one of those zones where everyone’s passing well,” Cohen said. You get the ball, spread your offense out, and you just start to flow. It gets really fun.”
Casey Slaught and Tristan Fauntleroy, both outside hitters, played aggressively and attacked the net. Slaught had nine kills and three service aces while Fauntleroy added nine more kills.
The Dons’ quarterfinal victory matches them up with Esperanza, the fourth ranked team in CIF Division I, who defeated Thousand Oaks in four sets. The game is Saturday at Santa Barbara High, starting at 10:45 a.m.
The other quarterfinal is between Mira Costa and Buchanan and will be played at the same time and place.
OTHER LOCAL RESULTS
Both of the other local schools, Dos Pueblos and San Marcos, were knocked out of the winners’ bracket by Mira Costa, the third ranked team in CIF Division I.
Dos Pueblos won its opening round game against Valencia in five sets. Little separated the two teams in the hardly fought match. The Chargers needed 31 and 32 points to win the first and second sets, respectively. Valencia then took the next two sets but Dos Pueblos outlasted its opponent to move on.
In the quarterfinal, Mira Costa jumped on the Chargers and won in three sets.
San Marcos also lost to Mira Costa in three sets, but in its opening game.
In the consolation bracket, the Royals faced Valencia, who showed little fatigue from its extended match against Dos Pueblos. San Marcos got off to a slow start and was unable to climb back, eventually losing in four sets.