SBVC 18-Smack put it all together, win national championship


Taylor Racich, left, was honored as the tournament MVP and Holland Crenshaw and Eve Ettinger earned all-tournament team honors. (Photos by Brett Ettinger).

The 18-Smack team of the Santa Barbara Volleyball Club struck gold at the USA Volleyball Junior National Championships in Atlanta

Under the direction of coach Jason Donnelly, the 18-Smack went 11-0 in matches and dropped only one set to claim the American Division title.

“(Assistant coach) Courtney (Preston) and I knew heading into the tournament that we were going to have a chance to win it all,” Donnelly said “We challenged the girls to set their goals high and they responded by playing their best volleyball of the year.  To be good enough to win a tournament is one thing, to play well enough over the course of four days to get it done is something really special.”

Taylor Racich of Dos Pueblos High was named the Most Valuable Player of the Division and Santa Barbara’s Eve Ettinger and Holland Crenshaw were selected to the all-tournament team. Ettinger is headed to USC.

The only set Santa Barbara lost was against Bakersfield Jamba 18-Tom in the semifinals. Santa Barbara won the deciding set 19-17 to reach the final against third-seeded Alamo 18 Kaepa of Texas.

The 18-Smack won the title match 25-21, 25-16.

Here on Donnelly’s comments on his players’ performance at the national tournament:

Taylor Racich was unstoppable from the right side.  Over the season she developed her offensive arsenal, and really learned to be a smart attacker.  She mixed power and finess together with flawless success.  She also was diligent in her blocking and it showed in key moments.”

Holland Crenshaw had her best tournament of the year.  She’s been working really hard on her offensive game, and provided us with some momentum swinging blocks.”

Amy Lanski, playing in her last tournament as a middle blocker, provided formidable offense and some big-league serving throughout the entire week.”

Katie Spieler was phenomenal at the libero position. She led the team with 77 digs and provided us with a consistent voice throughout the entire tournament.”

Emma Campbell gave us some added ball control, and her calm court demeanor really made a difference, especially during the last day.”

Eve Ettinger, Nicki Brown and Dani Rottman all had some big moments on the left side. Having three quality outside hitters, all playing well at the same time, really made us difficult to stop.”

Katy Villanueva did a great job playing in a number of different roles. She made some key serves, and when given the opportunity played really well in the middle.”

“Our setter, Amanda Harvey, kept all of our hitters involved, and made us a very difficult team to defend.  Her decision making was the best it’s been this year, as our hitters were one on one throughout much of the tournament. Our team hitting percentage for the week was .350, and a great deal of that was due to Amanda putting our hitters in spots to be successful.”