Mater Dei ends Santa Barbara’s first D-I season

Santa Barbara High’s first boys volleyball season in Division I has come to a conclusion.


“It was a big difference. I mean, we were challenged in the second round of the playoffs this year, when we usually aren’t really challenged until the semifinals,” said senior Chris Pratt.

The Dons survived that second round against Edison earlier in the week, but a trip to Santa Ana to face prep sports superpower Mater Dei proved to be the end of the road Friday. Santa Barbara fell to the Monarchs 25-27, 25-23, 18-25, 20-25.

Tyler Worley had 13 kills in his final game as a Don while Pratt had 12 and Taylor Fauntleroy added 11. Other graduating seniors are Blake Crowe, Will Boucher and University of Hawaii-bound setter Sam Biscaro.

“It was a great atmosphere down here with some good volleyball. We were ready to play, but I’m still just in shock a little bit,” said coach Chad Arneson. “I’m really going to miss these seniors and I feel very fortunate to have coached them.”

Mater Dei’s star senior, 6-6 UC Irvine-bound Connor Hughes, was “the real deal” according to Arneson and proved hard for the Dons to slow down. Santa Barbara was up 4-1 early in the third game but let it slip away.

“It just came down to little mental mistakes in our passing and hitting. We would go up by three and then slow down a bit,” said Pratt, who thanked Arneson and assistant coach Shane Cervantes for helping guide the team.

The seniors now have their prom — postponed by the Jesusita Fire — to look forward to on Saturday.

“I think it’ll help mask the pain from this loss but not take it away. We’re looking forward to it,” said Pratt.

Santa Barbara finishes the season at 14-5 with its five-year undefeated streak in the Channel League still intact.