Collins: “Club history in the making” at SBVC

This past weekend, many SBVC teams participated in final qualifying rounds and first regular season mandatory tournaments and begin the season on a remarkable note!

Just coming off a 3-day tournament for both teams in the Las Vegas Invitational tournament over President’s weekend, on Sunday, the 18 Blue and 18 White teams came out swinging! Competing in the Gold bracket final qualifying round of their age division, they both took first in their pools to both begin the season in Division 1 (both are among the top 16 teams in the Southern California region)!

The 18-White team placed first at the American Sports Center in Anaheim by defeating Coast 18-Davis, and Baja Club 18, and the number one seed overall, Rancho Valley 18-Danny.

“The girls really came together and played as a team this weekend,” said coach Courtney Preston. “All the pieces of the puzzle were there for us to make it happen. Sarah Mendoza’s and Katie Borden’s passing was excellent all day, and Jourdan Lemons’ setting really set the pace for the games to be in our favor. We did a lot of things right on Sunday, and it’s a good feeling starting off the season in a highly competitive division.” 

The 18 Blue team went 2-1 for the day in pool at Cal State Dominguez Hills beating SCVA 17-1 and Wave 18-Kevin Spalding and losing a 3-game battle to SMBC 18-Nabil. Due to a 3-way tie in matches it came down to point ratios, and the 18 Blue claimed first place for the day to also start in Division 1 for the regular season!

“This is the club history in the making, it’s very exciting,” commented Administrator K.C. Collins.

Also spending Sunday on a winning note at the American Sports Center, the 17-Blue team competing in the Silver bracket of the 18’s age division, won all their matches to place first and start the season in Division 5.

Coach John Haroun mentioned that Heidi Vandenoever was unstoppable as a hitter, while Megan Smith and Jordan Fuller passed extremely well.

“As a team, we played our best match ever against Golden West in the final match to capture the 1st place finish,” he said

On Saturday the 16’s teams finished up their qualifying rounds with exciting results as well.

Coach Jake Hong was proud of his team for reaching their goal in the Gold bracket of the 16’s division.

Hong said of his team, “Our goal with these qualifying tournaments was to start in division 1 and we were able to accomplish that feat. Dwayne (Hauschild) and I were very impressed with our team’s mental toughness through the tough situations we had to face throughout the day. Amber Mirabello did a great job offensively with key kills all day long. Page Hawkins also did a great job of stepping in at the end of our 1st match and got us 2 critical kills to close the match.”

Also enjoying a high finish, Kayce Matthess’ 16-White team placed 2nd on the day in the Gold bracket, putting them in division 2 to start the season.

“Both our setters, Caitlin Sullivan and Laura Masho, had strong performances,“ noted Matthess. “Our match against the 3rd seed in our pool, HAX, was definitely the highlight of the day. After getting off to a strong start  in the 3rd set, HAX tied it up at 14-14. Our outside hitters Morgan Riegert and Sage Perry were like the “Energizer Bunny” and due to a combined effort of team, we were able to pull out a victory 16-14. Our passing and defense were strong all day, which revolved around our libero Lauren Capritto. Thanks to strong teamwork, we will start the year off in division 2!”

Competing in the Silver bracket, the 16-Red team finished strong with a 2-1 record, placing 2nd in the pool and will start the season in Division 6 of the 16’s division.

“After shaking off the first game jitters, we started off strong by knocking off the #1 seed team in a close 3-game match,” said coach Katherine Hopkins. “After that exciting win, we suffered a bit of a let down by losing the second match in 2 games and not playing our best as a team. However we rebounded in the last match of the day toughing out a close 3-game match win that took extra points (16-14) to finish up. Marina Lavendar’s offense from the opposite position really shined through all day as she also proved to be the emotional leader of the team. Victoria Chandler also provided consistent all around play from the outside position.”

Spending the weekend in San Diego, the 13’s and 14’s also competed in the first regular season Mandatory tournament of the 14’s Division.

Once the regular season begins, Divisions 1 through 3 have playoffs.  This proved to be a good thing for the 14-Blue team despite being one of the last teams to leave the gym in the dark of the night. The 14 Blue team met tough division 1 competition and suffered losses in pool play to Laguna Beach 14-MS, Sunshine 14-Platinum and SG Elite 14-Roshambo. The matches were all very close, but it came down to the 3-game playoff match against Bakersfield Club Jamba 14-Jodi to keep them in Division 1. Who ever lost the match would move down to Division 2, and the 14-Blue came out on top winning the deciding 3rd set of the match 15-7. The team ultimately lost the next playoff round 19-25 to Vision Zone 14’s finishing 12th out of 16 for the day.

Coach Greg Novak pointed out, “The talent of the teams in our pool was thick and every match was decided by just a couple of points -unfortunately we ended up short of the win. The team did pull off a crucial victory in playoffs to keep us in Division 1. Losing the 1st game, the team came back with a vengeance to win the match, anchored by the experience and strong all around play of both outside hitters Katherine Crook and Sierra Hofstatter, and the unflappable Emma Craine’s steady setting. Though we lost key matches in pool play, I’m very pleased with the performance of the team. We now have a target to aim for; we’ve seen the talent in our pool, so we can now escalate the intensity of our practices to go after the best teams Southern California has to offer!”

Competing in the 14’s division, the 13-Blue battled in division 4 pool play, taking 3rd for the day.

Ed Gover was proud of his team’s tenacity, “Great comeback in the last match!” Gover points out. “Down one set already, and down in the 2nd set 17-24, Sarah Scarminach’s serving sparked a comeback, tied the score 24-24. We won 28-26. And then won the deciding 3rd set 18-16.  Sydney Riegert had a great hitting and serving day, and we had solid defense by Evanne Jimenez.”  The team remains in division 4 for the next tournament.

In Division 5, Coach Matt Schroeder’s 14-White team also took 3rd for the day.

Coach Connor Hastings wraps it up, “Despite a spirited game of Spoons in the hotel dining room Saturday night, the 14-White had difficulty transferring that same passion to the court Sunday morning in their first two matches. Fortunately the team was able to piece together a smooth two-game sweep of the pool’s top seed in its final match, preventing the coaches from reaching complete despondency. In a quasi-Jordanesque performance, Sammi Rhine battled through flu-like symptoms to generate bundles of points from the service line, while Grace Halleck carved up the opposing defense with some well-crafted spikes from the outside. Sunday’s third match also marked the rejuvenation of Hannah Raphael, who put numerous sets to the floor with the artistic flair of an Italian painter. Toiling away thanklessly at Libero was the ever-steady Mia Cattaneo, whose backcourt wizardry and determination continue to prove invaluable.”

The team will remain in division 5 for the next tournament.

Jessie Fahey’s 13 White team competed in Division 10 of the 14’s age group. Fahey was excited to exclaim, “We got 1st!”

The team beat Surf City and Club West but dropped a match to Surfside. Due to a 3-way tie breaker on point, the SB 13-White came out first in their pool, moving them up to Division 9 for the next tournament!

Jessie went on to say, “The team was missing a key player but made the adjustments with ease.  Clara Madsen stepped in as libero and rocked the back row. Although she had never played the position, you’d think she was a natural. Jackie Starnes got to play all around the court, getting a chance to show some amazing defense. Sophia Lugo played through sickness and came up with some great digs. Our outsides Chloe Richman, Cydney Pierce and Grace Copeland showed tremendous improvement in their arm swings, their hitting was dead on. Caty LaFitte came out swinging on the right side, her confidence is growing everyday.”

The 12’s and 16’s compete in their first Mandatory this coming weekend, along with the 15’s heading down to San Diego for their first Mandatory as well!