SBVC’s 14 Blue place at National Championships

Santa Barbara Volleyball Club's 14-Blue in Orlando this week.

Santa Barbara Volleyball Club’s 14-Blue in Orlando this week.

The 14 Blue of the Santa Barbara Volleyball Club competed at the Junior National Volleyball Championships in Florida this past week. As part of the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU), the 14’s Division attracted 307 teams from across the Nation competing in three levels, with SBVC competing in the highest level, the Open Division.

Coach Greg Novak commented, ?Competition was strong and there wasn’t an easy match to be had, every point, set and match had to be earned. It was great to have the solid competition throughout the four days, the entire team learned so much from the talent pool they were competing against.?

The 14 Blue had a tough first day losing in three sets in two of the matches and losing the last match of the day to the eventual tournament winners, OVA of Orlando. The team rebounded nicely on the second day capturing the first two matches but fell short in a tight match against Puerto Rico.

?Puerto Rico?s crowd was loud and boisterous, yelling and chanting at every point we made making it the most exciting match of the week,” Novak said. “We won the first 18-25, lost the second 28-30 and then lost the tiebreaker 16-18, the loss was upsetting but the level of play was outstanding, I couldn’t be more proud of the team.”

The Santa Barbara team then went on to win two more matches to place them into bracket playoffs where they managed to beat Alliance Mizuno to set up a final match against Memphis Juniors of Tennessee. Novak commented “the team had the intensity to win which was nice to see but they were having fun as well.” Novak continued “at timeouts, they would dance and sing to keep pumped up, I didn’t need to say a word, I knew they were in control and would win.?With the support of family and friends, the 14 Blue pulled out the final points to win the finals.”

“It was a lot of playing and the girls continued to get better with every match. Aubrey Knight and Delaney Mayfield were a integral part of the teams success, they received the majority of the sets and tallied most of the kills. Setters Gabi People and Kennedy Klusendorf steadied the team with their setting from the back row and solid hitting from the front row. Soleil Hallig, Cassidy Drury-Pullen and Sam Slater captured many points from the service line and at the net. Defensively, Liana Tacconelli and Delaney Werner earned many bumps and bruises by making incredible in the back row.”

After 11 matches over 4 days of competition, the 14 Blue finished with a 6-5 record and a 34th place finish.