SBVC Roundup: 15-Blue goes unbeaten in qualifiers

Devan Randolph (13) of the 12-Blue team passes a serve as teammates Ally Mintzer (34) and Erika Foreman (4) look on.

Devan Randolph (13) of the 12-Blue team passes a serve as teammates Ally Mintzer (34) and Erika Foreman (4) look on.

The Santa Barbara Volleyball Club’s 15-Blue tore through its qualifying rounds and will begin the regular season of the Southern California Volleyball Association at the Division 1 level.

The 15-Blue went 9-0 in three qualifying tournaments.

“When you pass consistently, serve tough, and your hitting percentages are strong, your wins are going to add up,” said coach John Sener. “The girls took care of all these critical marks and swept away their opponents this weekend.”

The team had dominant wins over LAVA South 15s (25-12 25-11), Sports Shack 15-Lainey (25-18, 25-11) and Ohana Athletic Club 15-Munoz (25-12, 25-8).

“The outstanding offense and defense of Samantha Slater and Cassidy Drury-Pullen was key throughout the day,” Sener noted. “Both Lauren Orlich and Madison Nicolson came off the bench and showed just how important it is to have solid support players at this level. I believe it takes 11 players working together to have success at this level and this group totally understands that concept!”

Cassidy Drury-Pullen of the 15-Blue displays perfect passing technique

Cassidy Drury-Pullen of the 15-Blue displays perfect passing technique.

Lisa Gera’s 15-White team went 0-3 in a tough Gold bracket pool. The team started out with a gritty 3-set match loss to T-Street 15-Megan, and subsequently lost to Bakersfield Jamba 15-Jessica and Sunshine 15-Westside to finish fourth for the day. The team will start the regular season in Division 4.

“The team competed at the highest level Sunday,” Gera said. “We had great competition and rose to the challenge. Even if the outcome of the match did not go our way, we served tough and kept ourselves in the game. Zoe Maritorena especially had incredible short serves that lead us to victory in our second game of our first match. Overall, the team is learning about the importance of momentum, staying consistent, and teamwork.”

The 15-Red team showed unstoppable momentum from the first match through the last and placed first in its pool. The team beat 805 Elite 15s, Starlings Palmdale 15s and AIGA 15-Black all in two sets.

“Fiona Flynn and Joan Curran took care of business in the back row, passing nails and were very vocal,” coach Dino Garcia said. “Morgan Gomez had a great day from beginning to end, playing solidly all-around, while setter Erin Holehouse, set consistently well and helped lead the team by setting a good example on the court.

“You can really see the difference from where they started early this season!”

The team will begin the regular season in Division 9.

Also on Sunday, the 12-Blue team had an up-and-down day and went 1-2 in the Gold bracket, beating En Fuego 12s then losing to Commerce Crush 12s, before losing its last match of the day to Seal Beach 12-Tony. The team will begin the regular season in Division 3.

On Saturday in Anaheim, the 14-Blue battled tough for its 2-1 record on the day. The team opened up with a slow start against Vision Zone 14s, barely pulling off the win in 3 sets.

“In the second set, we were down by a huge deficit when Izzy Mallett stepped in from the bench and served rockets and made some incredible digs in the back row,” coach K.C. Collins said. “Even though we lost that set, she was still fired up for the 3rd set and between her serving and defense, and Danica Minnich knocking off several quick attacks back-to-back, we won the match.”

The team beat So-Cal Juniors 14-Smack and suffered a gut-wrenching loss to San Gabriel 13s. “We won the first set, had a lead in the second set, and suddenly our passing broke down and San Gabriel started blocking our hitters, and we just kind of lost our hold on the match. It was disappointing to lose, but overall the team played well all day and there were moments of absolute brilliance,” said Collins. “Setters Ady Colburn and Kelly Bickett worked very hard to run our offense and never gave up on any ball, while everyone displayed relentless defense.”

The team will start in division 2 for the regular season.

The 14-White team finished 1-2 for the day in the Silver bracket, resulting in a 3-way tie for second. It finished third on point ratio. The team lost to Temecular Viper 13s and Prime 14-Molten, and took down VCVC 14-Yosh in 3 sets.

Coach Kim Yao said: “A couple players that did exceptionally well for the day were Lauren Cordero and Mia Barton, doing a really great job in the front row for our offense, and both had an amazing serving day. I am very proud of the level of volleyball that my team showed out there against the tough competition.”

The team will begin the regular season in division 7.

Also in the Silver bracket, the 13-Blue team notched two wins on the day over T-Street 13-Janae and Bakersfield 13-Ashley before losing to Sunshine 14-Elite to place 2nd.

“The team is showing steady improvement in the serving and passing department,” Coach Ed Gover commented. “Chloe Mauceri, Taylor Robertson, and Georgia Brace all had a solid days from behind the service line, while Georgia connected on some solid spikes. Devan Randolph’s passing was strong as was the overall play of Erika Foreman.”

The team will begin the regular season in division 6.

The 13-White team’s improvement and overall teamwork shined as it overcame an early morning loss to LA Premier 14s, and bounced back to beat Icon Mizuno 14-Lightening 25-22, 25-14 and battle Oaks VBC 14s to win 25-23, 28-26. The team placed second on the day and will start the regular season in division 14.

“We’ve been working on all the ‘little things’ and it showed as they really played as a team,” mentioned Coach Lindsay Schwartz.