The Santa Barbara Volleyball Club competed in the Boys Bid Qualifier the weekend of January 4-6.
The Boys 18-blue team, entering the tournament ranked 49th, finished the SCVA Boys Jr. Invitational with a 3-5 record, falling short of a bid for the 18s open division in Jr. Nationals in June.
“After losing our starting middle blocker Jackson Wopat to injury over holiday break, our team had some work to do. Although we didn’t end up in the top 10 and with a bid to the Open division, we did play some outstanding volleyball, and managed to move up 16 spots.” Commented Coach Armen Zakarian.
The boys team opened up Friday play with a 2-set loss to Diablo 18-1, but came back to upset the #2 seed in pool Legacy 18-Elite, and beat 46 West 18s to place second for the day and continue in the Gold bracket. Hoping to do the same on Saturday, the team did beat RVBC 18s, but was unable to topple Tampa Bay 18s and Manhattan Beach 18s to stay alive for a bid. The team moved into the Bronze playoff bracket for Sunday where it lost a barn-burner playoff match to Arizona Priemiere (25-23, 31-33, 15-12). The team finished 33rd overall in the 18s Division.
“With the absence of Jackson Wopat, Quinn Denkensohn and Duffy Kerwin-McElroy stepped in at the middle position and played with great energy all weekend. Our starting libero Carl Mendoza was absolutely spectacular. He turned in his most consistent performance of the season with great serve receive passing and scrappy floor defense. Quinlan Dougherty and Baker Johnson stepped up at the outside position and provided the bulk of our offense. Chris Newton showed great improvement at the setting position as well, and continues to get better every day.” Coach Zakarian mentioned of his payers. “This group has played together for a very short amount of time, but their work ethic and character has seen them improve in each and every tournament so far this season.”
The Boys 17-Blue team, competing in the 17s division, had a rough start losing its first two matches against SCVC 17s and Bay-to-Bay 18-Black, knocking itself out of contention for a bid on the first day.
The team bounced back to beat SJH 17-Tim to finish 3rd on the day. The team opened up with a loss to Diablo 17s Saturday morning, then recorded two solid wins over Vegas Extreme 17s and San Gabriel 17-Black, moving them into the Flight 2 bracket. On Sunday the team lost a close battle to San Clemente 17s in the first playoff round (25-16, 28-26). The team also finished with a 33rd ranking in the 17s Division.
“Conner Dougherty stepped in for an injured Hayden Millington and played outside hitter for us this weekend and was very productive. I was very pleased with how Conner’s game has improved over these last few weeks leading up to the Qualifier,” Coach Dillan Bennett mentioned. “Ross Warden is starting to find his game. He stepped up on offense and got a bunch of touches on the block for usin the middle, while Nick Kvistad also provided fire for us on the court. As an undersized middle blocker, Nick has to rely on quickness and smart hitting to be successful at the level in which we play. I was very pleased with his effort and improvement in a position he has very little experience in,” Bennett added.
Both teams head into a regular SCVA tournament this coming weekend before heading into a break for their CIF high school volleyball season.