SBVC: 18-Blue wins MLKSpeakeasy Tourney

This past holiday weekend, the 18-Blue team, coached by Liz Towne-Gilbert and assisted by Jared Godinez and John Sener, won the sixth annual MLKSpeakeasy Tournament.

From the MLK SpeakEasy website:  “The MLKSpeakEasy event is a high level preseason scrimmage setup by a group of club directors in a spirit of camaraderie…hosted at Saddleback Volleyball Club’s new facility in Mission Viejo, Southern California.”

Sixteen of the top teams in the SCVA were invited to the two-day tournament with pool play on Saturday and playoffs on Sunday. The 18-Blue came through the losers’ bracket from dropping one match to Orange County early on the second day in the double elimination playoffs, to ultimately win the one-game final match beating Coast 18-Ohz 25-21. Junior Emily Rottman and senior Michelle Cuttrell (both SBHS) were selected to All Tournament Team while Junior Carly Wopat (DPHS) was honored with Tournament MVP.

Towne-Gilbert praised the team, “All players contributed to the balance of the team and it was a great showing for the first time out.”

A new club season has begun for the Southern California Volleyball Association, and over the past two weekends several Santa Barbara Volleyball Club teams start out the qualifying rounds with a bang!

This past Sunday, the 15 Blue team coached by (UCSB Associate Head Coach) Greg Gibbons and assisted by Todd Garrett convincingly won all three of their matches 2 and 0 (against T-Street 15s, Orange County 15-Red and Sports Shack 15-1) in the Gold bracket to earn a bye for the second of three qualifying rounds. Gibbons said of his team, ” The team played hard and served well. We are a work in progress, but for our first tourney the girls played aggressive and hard.”

Also earning a bye for the second round with a 2-1 finish in the Gold bracket was the 15-White team coached by Kara Weirum and Erica Downing. Kara Weirum pointed out, “The girls showed a lot of improvement throughout the day.  Hannah Harris was very consistent from the outside. We had reliable passing from McKenzie Scarborough and Amanda Moriarty all day.Both Erica and I have a lot to look forward to this season”.  

In the Silver bracket, 15-Red team coached by Desiree Partlow and assisted by Jacky Yao, also went 2-1 giving them a chance to move up to the Gold division depending on how they do in the second qualifying round in a couple of weeks.  Partlow mentioned, “…we came out on fire in the morning, with Sarah McKinny’s help racking up aces, and our serve receive was also very impressive…Our second match we were down by 7-15 in the second game and came back and won, with Andrea Mullaney stepping it up serving and hitting well. I was very impressed to see the girls fought back instead of giving up, and we walked away with a win. Also on the day, Caroline Stoll was consistent at libero with Leila Nathan making some amazing digs” The team lost a close third match to finish second for the day.

The prior weekend, the SB 13’s and 14’s teams took to the courts:

K.C. Collins’ and Greg Novak’s 14-Blue team won all three of their matches in the Gold bracket (beating Bakersfield 14Jill, Beach Cities 14-Platinum and Sport Shack 14-1), with the third match against Sport Shack coming down to an exciting 15-13 end. In the deciding 3rd game, Emma Mascari opened up the match with pounding an amazing quick set out of the middle and Mariah Bell absolutely hammering a kill from the outside to close out the match. Collins reported, “Everyone took turns stepping it up all day, and we ran some quick middle attacks which is pretty high level stuff for this age group and says a lot about our setters Emma Craine and Frankie Lewis…the third match showed how well we play under pressure. Fun day!” The team earned bye for the second round.

Tina Brown’s 12-Blue team, assisted by Deia Kidd, also had a standout day, winning all of their matches in the 12s Gold bracket. Tina Brown reported, “Went 3-0 for the weekend, with everyone contributing, serving well, playing good defense and hitting consistently.  Our setters Alexis Rotman and Paige Mascari did a really good job and Hannah White even had a stuff block. A very exciting 1st tournament”

The 13-Blue team coached by Ed Gover had a tougher day against heavy competition in the Gold bracket going 0-3 for the day. Coach’s special mention goes to libero Evanne Jimenez and setter Teah Burdick for their steady play.

Matt Schroeder’s 14-White team also went 0-3 for the day in the Gold bracket, while Jessie Fahey’s 13-White team finished 2-1 in the Silver bracket. According to Fahey, “The team battled nerves and lost the first match, but came back with energy and dominated to win the next two matches.  Clara Madsen and Sophia Hampp lead the team with excellent setting, while Cydney Pierce showed her on-court leadership. Grace Copeland excelled with serve receive, and libero Brenna Geiger made quick defensive digs.”