SBVC 14-Smack wins five matches at Junior Nationals

Santa Barbara Volleyball Club's 15-Smack celebrate a victory at the USA Volleyball Junior Nationals.

After a rough start, the Santa Barbara Volleyball Club’s 14-Smack won five of its last six matches and finished 23rd in the open division at the USA Volleyball Junior Nationals in Atlanta.

The team lost its first three matches in the tournament and suffered a blow when setter Lexi Rottman injured her ankle chasing after a ball.

Santa Barbara turned things around on Day 2. Rottman returned to the lineup with a taped ankle and helped the team beat Ohio’s Circle City, Ka Ulukoa of Hawaii and Arizona’s A5 teams.

Anika Wilson rejects an attack during the USA Junior Nationals. (Photos by Jourdi deWerd)

The 15-Smack beat the Colorado Juniors to start the third day. After the results of other matches and a point differential, the team wound up finishing sixth in its pool and was placed in Flight 3.

“The next match could have been a tough one to play right after hearing the disappointing news,” coach K.C. Collins said, “but rather than folding, the team came out smiling and swinging strong and won the match in two game against Sacramento’s Force 14s.”

The victorious run was snapped in a re-match against Colorado Juniors. Santa Barbara lost in three games to place 23rd overall nationally.

“Obviously we were hoping for a better finish, but when we look over the whole season of accomplishments and success of each player and the team as a whole, we are very proud to have gotten as far as we did to qualify and have the opportunity to play among some of the best competition from across that states, and we hung tough with the best of them,” said Collins.

Members of the 15-Smack are: Emily Allen, Caroline Anderson, Hilary Bean, Andie DeWerd, McKenna Goss, Emma Harrah, Paige Mascari, Dane Miller, Alexis Rottman, Jacqueline Starnes, Anika Wilson

They were coached by K.C. Collins, Deia Kidd-Kadlubek and Steven Zelko.