SBVC 18s among top 16 teams in Southland

Santa Barbara Volleyball Club’s 18-Smack team will start the season in the top division of the Southern California Volleyball Association.

The team, coached by Jason Donnelly, won its pool in the final qualifying round of the Gold Bracket at the American Sports Center in Anaheim.

“We played better and better as the day went on, and now we get to compete in one of the country’s top divisions,” Donnelly said. “I know the team is excited about what lies ahead, and if they continue to learn to work consistently at this level, I think we’ll be a pretty good team.”

The team opened up the day with a nail-biting three game match and beat Excel 18-1, 25-12, 23,-25, 15-12, then beat Wave 17-Courtney and Cal Jrs 18-Matt in two games each.

“Eve Ettinger has been working on her overall game, and showed an ability to be a 6-rotation player,” Donnelly said of the USC-bound outside hitter. “Katie Spieler had a phenomenal day both as a serve receive passer and a defender. She and Emma Campbell provided us with some much needed ball control.

The team will be competing against the top 16 teams in Southern California.

The SBVC’s 17-Smack team, also competing in the Gold Bracket, finished with a 1-2 record in the final qualifier. It will start in Division 3 for the regular season.

The team opened with a tough battle to Sports Shack 18’s and lost 17-25 15-25. It then lost a hotly contested, controversy-filled match against Mizuno LB 17-Rockstar, 23-25 20-25, but bounced back to beat SMBC 18-Nabil in a three-game thriller 24-26 25-14 15-8.

“All in all, we played well and had a few unfortunate missed opportunities that could have swung the balance differently,” commented coach Dwayne Hauschild. “Allie Eason had a strong service game in the SMBC match as did Amanda Moriarty, and Nicole Tetherow had a number of key digs to keep some exciting rallies alive.”

Jacky Yao’s 18-Blue team went 3-0 and won its pool in the Silver Bracket. The team swept Reef 17-Brock, Solana Beach 17-Amanda, and South Bay 17-1.

“The girls played well, we showed a lot of improvement especially in defense and serve receive,” Yao said. “Rachel Szeyller improved tremendously on the defensive side of the ball and contributed offensively. Danica Smith was very good overall, making key digs throughout the day, and Katherine Crook was near flawless with her serve receptions.”

The team will start the regular season in Division 5.

In the second of three qualifying rounds at Long Beach State, the 13-Smack team went 1-2 for the day in the lower Gold Bracket and finished third  in its pool.

The 13-Blue, competing in the Copper Bracket at the American Sports Center, went undefeated for the day.

The 13-Smack began with a battle in their first match against Impact 13-Jessica, going the distance in three games winning 12-25, 15-25, 15-13. The team then subsequently lost the next two matches to Redlands Tiger 14-David and Rincon 14-Elite in two games.

The 13-Blue finished first or the day by beating ACEZ 14-1, California Heat 13-Dynamite, and TStreet 13-Sweet.

Coach Malinda Reese gave accolades to Taryn Stevens and Amara Parris who, “both led the team throughout the day with some terrific serving runs and Natasha Feshbach’s incredible play at the net also played a huge role in the team’s wins.”

The 13-Smack and 13-Blue will join the 14-Smack and 14-Blue in their final qualifying rounds for their divisional starting divisions and rankings at the end of this month.