BVB: Dons cruise into Division 2 quarterfinals

La Sierra, Santa Barbara High’s second-round CIF volleyball opponent, didn’t play the kind of schedule the Dons did this season.

The difference definitely showed Thursday night at Westmont’s Murchison Gym. The visiting Eagles from Riverside, who came into the match with a 25-0 record, were no match for the Channel League champs. The Dons had their way and won 25-22, 25-18, 25-15.

Outside hitters Ryan Worley and Tristan Fauntleroy each put away 12 kils and Channing Peake played a solid match in the middle, recording 10 kills and five solo blocks. Middle Quinn Denkensohn added three blocks and Joe Rafferty had eight kills from the outside.

Third-seeded Santa Barbara advances to Saturday’s quarterfinal against Oak Park at Westmont. The game time has yet to be determined. Oak Park defeated Lakewood in four sets.

The Dons are playing at Westmont because the renovation of J.R. Richards Gym started this week.

Santa Barbara had too much firepower and big-match experience for La Sierra. The Dons have played many of the top teams in Division 1 and 2, while La Sierra’s toughest opponent on its schedule was Hemet, the No. 4 team in Division 3.

“We’ll take it,” Santa Barbara coach Chad Arneson said. “Ideally, we would like competition as far as building up for the quarterfinals. We knew going into this match that we couldn’t play down to their level, we had to play at our level.

“We saw some good things,” he added, “but we know in reality Saturday is going to be a big test for us.”

Among the good things was the play of Peake in the middle. He was burying balls without much of a block and moving quick along the net to stuff La Sierra spike attempts.

“Channing was quite a presence. His energy is contagious,” said Arneson.

Carl Mendoza also had a good night serving the ball. He had the Eagles scrambling to pass his tough float serves.

Now, it gets tougher for Santa Barbara. Oak Park beat the Dons in a hotly contested three-set match in the quarterfinals of the Dos Pueblos Invitational in March.

“We got to bring our A game,” Arneson said. “We’ve been kind of coasting, but now we have to turn on the afterburns and be ready to earn every point.”

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