Allen sisters spark San Marcos to a sweep over Santa Barbara

Chloe Allen of San Marcos hits past the Santa Barbara block for one of her 10 kills to help the Royals win in 3 sets. (Photo Wade the Giant)

Chloe Allen of San Marcos hits past the Santa Barbara block for one of her 10 kills to help the Royals win in 3 sets. (Photo Wade the Giant)

Emily Allen is back, and the San Marcos girls volleyball team couldn’t be happier.

Eight months after tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in her right knee playing soccer, Allen can be pronounced fit and in peak form. She put away a match-high 11 kills and picked up nine digs to spark the Royals to a sweep of Santa Barbara on Thursday night at the Thunderhut. The scores were 25-21, 25-20, 25-17.

“We’ve been shuffling some players to try to find that best lineup,” San Marcos coach Erica Downing said. “I think Emily coming back and being able to play, it’s a blessing. We never knew where she was going to be; she’s worked so hard, she deserves to be able to play. She comes in and it’s almost like (the injury) never happened.”

Allen, who played a little in Tuesday’s five-set loss to Ventura, said she felt more at ease on Thursday against the Dons.

“The first game I was like shaking in my boots, I was so nervous,” the junior said. “This one I felt more comfortable.”

Setter Andie O’Donnell was happy to have Emily back on the court.

Emily Allen of San Marcos powers through Santa Barbara's block.   (Photo Wade the Giant)

Emily Allen of San Marcos powers through Santa Barbara’s block. (Photo Wade the Giant)

“It was great. She brings so much consistency and great energy. We’re really happy to have her back” said O’Donnell.

Santa Barbara coach John Gannon noted that Emily Allen’s presence was a huge boost for San Marcos. .

“Knowing Emily was going to play puts a different spin on things for them,” Gannon said. “She’s such a good player. It was really nice to see her get out there and play, and play really well. You got to admire her perseverance coming back from that torn ACL.”

It was a must-win situation for San Marcos after losing back-to-back matches in Channel League. The Royals (6-2 overall) finish the first round of play at 2-2.

Santa Barbara suffered its first league loss and is at 3-1, 9-5.

Emily’s sophomore sister, Chloe Allen, also played a huge role in the win. She had 10 kills, seven digs and four aces. Jt was her serving that got the Royals rolling in the second set. She went on a four-point serving run to open up a 5-2 lead. Chloe also made a spectacular play in the third set, chasing an errant pass across the court, knocking it back into play, and middle Emma Harrah finished it with a kill.

It seemed that San Marcos could do little wrong in the match. Downing said her team committed only eight hitting errors, had 40 kills and hit over. 300. Anika Wilson added eight kills.

The Royals made another hustle play later in the third set. O’Donnell chased a ball out of bounds on the Santa Barbara side, hit back on the court and Chloe Allen buried it for a point.

A Harrah stuff block put the Royals ahead 21-18 in the first set. An Emily Allen kill made it 24-20, and the Royals won the set on a Santa Barbara service error.

In the second set, San Marcos was up 17-14 before Tessa Dewell sparked a three-point Santa Barbara run to tie the score. Chloe Allen crushed the ball to put the Royals back in the lead and start a four-pont run. Chloe Allen hit an attempted dump set by the Dons for a 21-17 advantage. Sarah Kang served an ace for the final point.

The Royals rolled to a 20-9 lead in the third set.

“Tonight, we just didn’t take care of the volleyball as well as we should have,” Gannon said. “That was something you could see. We served out at key times and we didn’t pass well at key times, and they did. And that’s how you win volleyball games and lose volleyball games.”

Jessyca Beksa, Jackie Starnes and Tessa Dewell all had six kills for the Dons.


  1. Fellow Sports Journalist says

    You couldn’t come up with a better lead than that? Come on man…. Read it out loud to yourself before you publish leads like that.

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