Dons have too much firepower for San Marcos

Tessa Emerson, right, of Santa Barbara and Eve Ettinger combined to block a spike attempt by Morgan Reigert of San Marcos. (Photo by Vince Agapito)

Size, experience and match toughness.

Santa Barbara High’s girls volleyball team possesses all three elements, and they all mattered in the Dons’ three-set sweep over San Marcos in a Channel League match Tuesday night at JR Richards Gym.

The game scores were 25-15, 25-16, 25-9.

Three days after playing in a high-level 64-team national tournament in Las Vegas, Santa Barbara looked dominant against its crosstown rivals. The Dons used tough serving and their superior size at the net to throw San Marcos out of system from the beginning of the match.

“We were very workmanlike,” Santa Babara coach John Gannon said. “We came out very focused and serious, and we did what we had to do.”

At the other end of the court, San Marcos coach Erica Downing watched her team put together a few sequences of good volleyball, but overall the Royals couldn’t keep pace with the powerful Dons.

“They have hitters all across the board,” Downing said. “We didn’t serve tough and we didn’t pass well. We’re a good, fighting team, but we just didn’t show that tonight.

“(Santa Barbara) did what they needed to do. It wasn’t all good for us, but it wasn’t all bad.”

Dani Rottman disrupted San Marcos’ attack with some tough serving. She served up five aces on the night.

“One of the first things we said in the huddle was we got to win the serve and passing battle, and I think that was evident right from the start,” Gannon said. “We just served tougher and we got them in trouble passing, and when they have trouble passing they can’t run their middle, and the middle is their strength.”

Said Rottman: “Gannon has really been focusing on tough serving and passing since that’s what wins matches, so I thought this would be a great opportunity to work on it — especially getting ready for the big game on Thursday.”

Santa Barbara (10-4, 2-0) plays host to Dos Pueblos in a showdown of league unbeatens on Thursday night. The Chargers are the defending CIF Division 1 champions. The Dons knocked them off two years ago to claim the title.

Gannon noted that his team learned the importance of serving when it was swept at home by Harvard Westlake. Since then, the serve has become a big weapon for the Dons.

“We played in the Mitty and Las Vegas Tournaments and you had to serve tough otherwise you were going to lose,” said the coach.

Emma Moscari followed her coach’s orders and served up a couple of aces in the match.

At the net, USC-bound Eve Ettinger paced the Dons’ attack with nine kills on the outside, while Remi Pulice provided punch in the middle with five kills. She had one blistering kill in the first set that knocked over a San Marcos player in the back row.

Tessa Emerson was a defensive force in the middle with six blocks.

For San Marcos (2-5, 0-2), Jaime Mayner led the way with five kills and hit .500. Emma Campbell was the leader on defense with five digs.


  1. Nothing is getting past Emerson! Go Tess!