SBVC 14-Smack comes up short in showdown with top seed

The Santa Barbara Volleyball Club’s 14-Smack finally got the chance to play the top-seeded team in Division 1 at the latest Southern California Volleyball Association tournament.

Santa Barbara went three games with Wave 14-Kate and fell 25-16, 23-25, 15-11.

“We were excited to finally get to play this team, somehow we had bypassed them all season,” coach K.C. Collins said. “Again, the team played well but broke down in serve receive in the third game, which was our ultimate demise.

“Caroline Anderson did a great job putting up a big block and swinging hard out of the middle in that match, while Anika Wilson, Jacqueline Starnes and Emily Allen provided a fierce offensive attack from both sides of the court,” Collins added.  “If we can increase the consistency and focus of the little things to maintain our overall game all match long, we’ll be a tough little team to beat at Nationals.”

The 14-Smack finished second in its pool in Division 1, beating Impact 14-Craig and San Gabriel 13s, both in two quick matches.

“The team was on today. We had been practicing a lot of little things to gain more consistency and it really showed against these teams. We were passing better so that middles McKenna Goss and Emma Harrah were able to run their quick attacks in the middle,” said Collins.

The 13-Smack won its pool in Division 6 with an outstanding performance, led by the great serving of Phoebe Madsen and Emily Lafitte according to Coach Ed Gover.

The team jumped on the first seed in its pool, SMBC 13-Casey, 25-17, 25-9, and then defeated Coast 13-Kurt, 25-17-25-18. They finished the day with a three-game battle against SCVC LC 14-Roxy, winning 25-9, 22-25, 15-10.

“Gabi Peoples, Chloe Allen, Lourda Weger and Kristina Garcia all had excellent hitting all day long, while the team’s libero Emily Robertson played outstanding defense,” said Gover.

The 14-Blue team placed second in pool play in Division 6.

“Overall the girls had a really good day … they played very well and I was very proud of them.” said Coach Kim Buktenica.

The team beat Coast 13-Peter and Club West 14-Red before losing a nail biter to SMBC 14-Jeff 22-25, 28-30.

“Both of our middles were gone this weekend so we had to mix things up a little bit. Hannah Craig and Jackie McIntyre did a wonderful job stepping in, each scoring many kills and playing some great defense,” Buktenica said. “Libero Tatum Vedder was hitting outside while Sarah Kang stepped in to play libero, both girls doing a wonderful job showing off their skills and diversity on the court.  Avery Jones was the sole setter for the day doing a great job, while Hannah White, Makayla Moore, and Erin Linehan all did a great job offensively and defensively making a difference every time they were on the court.”

The 13-Blue, competing in Division 11, won its pool, beating San Gabriel 13-Premiere, Sports Shack 14-JS, Surfside 13-Gold.

“We had another incredible tournament, going undefeated,” exclaimed Coach Malinda Reese. “Madison Niessen’s consistent all around play kept the ball alive, while Peyton Shelburne led the team offensively.”

On Sunday, the 16-Smack team went 2-1 in Division 2, displaying a solid performance against some tough teams.

“Each tournament the team continues to improve and we consistently outplay our opponents,” said Coach Greg Novak.

The team opened up with a tough three-game loss to So Cal 16-Elite, but bounced back to solidly beat SMBC 16-Trevor and Golden West 16-Asics.

“Charlotte Garrett had a great performance in the third match against Golden West. It has been exciting watching Charlotte as she has recently found a groove with the quick attack,” Novak said. “The defensive skills in the back row of Emily Lunt, Emma Craine and Mia Cattaneo gave us many point scoring opportunities.”

The 16-Blue finished the day in fourth place in its pool.

All the SBVC teams will be competing in their final regular season regionals tournament at the beginning of June.

The 13-Smack, 16-Smack and 16-Blue teams will then compete at the Volleyball Festival at the end of June, while the 14-Smack will head off to Atlanta for Junior Nationals.