SBVC Roundup: 14-Blue, 15-Blue sweep in first qualifier

The Santa Barbara Volleyball Club kicked off its new year in the Southern California Volleyball Association qualifying rounds over the last two weekends. The teams will compete in a series of three rounds to earn initial rankings to start the regular tournament season, which will run over the next six months, leading up to Junior Nationals at the end of June.

Competing in the Gold bracket of their respective age groups, the 14-Blue and 15-Blue teams both swept their pools 3-0, while the 16-Blue and 12-Blue teams placed second with a 2-1 record.

The 14-Blue knocked off Beach Cities 14-Smack, Club H 14s, and Team WAVE 14s all in 2 sets to place first for the day in Anaheim. Coach K.C. Collins said the team played smoothly and had very tough serving by every player.

Caylin Zimmerman reaches high for a spike during a recent SCVA Qualifying Tournament.

Caylin Zimmerman of the Santa Barbara Volleyball Club’s 14-Blue team reaches high for a spike as teammate Ady Colburn looks on.

“We are strong servers and are definitely going to cause teams a lot of trouble with that,” she said. “Both our setters Ady Colburn and Kelly Bickett set a balanced offense, giving all of our hitters a chance to attack even from the back row. We had some great defensive digs all day by everyone, and offensively Danica Minnich was especially strong out of the middle with the quick attack and overpass putaways, while Jenna MacFarlane and Caylin Zimmerman were our go-to kill leaders on the pins for the day.”

The following day at El Camino College, Coach John Sener’s 15-Blue team took its pool by sweeping San Gabriel Elite, LAVA West 15s and Sunshine 15-Elite.

“This team showed up and played with enthusiasm and worked together as a unit,” according to Sener. “All 11 players contributed to the success of the day. Together, middles Delaney Mayfield and Aubrey Knight did a great job controlling the net, altering shots and delivering key points whenever we needed one.”

Also on Sunday, the 12-Blue team, loaded with “a bunch of feisty gamers,” rattled their pool by placing second for the day.

“After a shaky start losing to Long Beach 12s, the team learned quickly and proved its competitiveness and mental toughness in the matches that followed,” remarked Coach Laura Marcus. Following a 25-9 loss against the San Gabriel 12-Elite in the first set, the team came back to win the second set as Danielle LaGrange widened the gap with an 8-point serving streak, and the team took set 3 for the match win. In the third match of the day against San Clemente 12s, a quick side-out and a 9-0 serving streak by Ingrid Blau was the key to a dominating win, which secured the second-place standing.

“Brynn Sofro led the team with kills in both matches against San Gabriel and San Clemente which helped to inspire the team to fight hard and do whatever it took to continue to be aggressive to the ball and never let up.” Marcus said.

Earlier in the month, in the Gold bracket, the 16-Blue team shined in its pool with solid 2-set wins over LAVA-West 16s and Laguna Beach 16-Riva. Their tight loss to Temecula 16-Kat went three sets.

“We had great setting by Phoebe Madsen and Gabi Peoples, giving our hitters a lot of success,” coach Tina Brown said. “Strong work throughout the day by Chloe Allen and Lourda Weger on the outside and Kamille Williams did great for us in the middle. Overall, a great team effort from everyone.”

The 18-Blue team had a good start in its Gold bracket pool by beating Wave 18-Jon in 2 sets, but found itself struggling against two tough teams to lose the next to matches to San Gabriel 17-Roshambo and Sunshine 18-Hurley.

“The girls came out and played hard,” said Coach Jacky Yao. “Bailey Roach anchored our defense while Anika Wilson and Natalie Klapp did a great job both offensively and defensively. McKenna Goss was hard to stop in the middle. We really got a good idea of things we do well and what we need to work on to improve to compete at the highest club level.”

The 14-White team made some waves in its Silver bracket pool by beating TCA 14-White and Cal Heat 14-Fusion before losing to Coast 13-Woodie. “Mia Waters had a really great serving day for us and Julia McCaw did a great job setting all day!” exclaimed Coach Kim Yao. “The last game of the day against Cal Heat, we were down almost the whole last set and fought back to win it 26 to 24, and win the match! A great way to end the day.”

The 13-Blue team, coached by Ed Gover, had to contend with a very strong Gold bracket pool. The team lost to Sunshine 14-Westside, Jamba 14-Jodi and Surfside 13s and finished 0-3.

“The season is early and there is plenty of room for improvement for this young squad,” said Coach Gover, “The players made some great strides and learned quite a bit. Keara Rutz and Erika Foreman did a great job setting and passing while Kristine Fimlaid recorded several blocks from the middle for the day.”

The 13-White team also finished 0-3 in the Bronze bracket and according to Coach Lindsay Schwartz, “The consistency was not there yet. But in our last match of the day, the girls came back from being down 12-20 to win the set 25-22.”

The team lost to Epic 13-Danielle in 2-sets, but took West 13-Elite and Seal Beach 13-Rick to 3 sets. “The jitters for the first travel tournament are out of the way now…this team will surprise themselves with results down the road.”

The 15-White team finished with an 0-3 record in the Gold bracket. Coach Lisa Gera praised her team for “demonstrating their tenacity.” She said her team “is full of scrappy defensive players that never gave up.

“Isabel Bassi had an exceptional day with her jump serve and consistency in the back row,” Gera continued. “Bridget Jellison comes from a volleyball family and used this knowledge to come up with three blocks throughout the day! The future is bright for this team and we look forward to what the season holds!”

Dino Garcia’s 15-Red team finished 3rd for the day with a 1-2 record. The team had a great start gaining a 2-set victory over Biodynamax 15-Brittany, but then lost two close matches to Santa Monica 15Asics and Rincon 15-Nike.

“It was great to see my team come together in their first tournament,” Garcia said. “Setter Erin Holehouse and libero Joan Curran both displayed some excellent plays throughout the day. The team is looking forward to our next practice to continue improving.”

The 16-White team met up with some tough Gold bracket competition and finished 0-3 losing to Sunshine 16-Westside, Epic 16-Jim and Bakersfield 16-Jill.

From Coach Jordy Druary: “Last weekend was a learning experience for us as we were in a very competitive pool. Maddie Minier passed well for us and kept the ball alive during some tough rallies. Karissa Mertens went on a few serving runs that kept us competitive.”

In the Silver bracket, the 16-Red competed well but just couldn’t eek out a win for the day finishing 0-4 in a five team pool. The team lost to Beach Cities 16-Smack, Rincon 16-Nike, LA Premier 16s, So Cal Spitfires 16-Kate.

“Our team faced some difficult challenges in this tournament,” Coach Sarah Amos said. “We came across a fast offense which we were not yet accustomed to. We fought until the end, never gave up and kept working on our side of the net. The scores were very close which shows the determination in our team for success.”