GVB: Dons take out Canyon, earn shot at No. 1 seed

The first trip to Orange County for the CIF playoffs went well for the Santa Barbara High girls volleyball team Tuesday night.

Jessyca Beksa pounded 13 kills, had five blocks and served three aces, leading the Dons to a four-set victory over Canyon of Anaheim Hills in a Division 1A first-round match. The set scores were 22-25, 25-19, 25-18, 25-19.

The victory sets up Orange County trip No. 2 on Thursday. Santa Barbara (17-12) will re-board the bus and travel to play top-seeded Aliso Niguel (25-1), which had first-round bye. Aliso Niguel is led by 6-6 junior setter/opposite Kathryn Plummer.

Santa Barbara’s middles of Caroline Anderson and Katie Gallivan played a big part in the win over Canyon. They combined for 20 kills, with Anderson putting away 11 and Gallivan nine.

“Lexi Rottman did a great job running the middle,” Santa Barbara coach John Gannon said of his senior setter. “That was a key for us because Canyon had a big block on the outside.”

The potent middle attack enabled Beksa and Lourda Weger (9 kills) to score from the outside.

Santa Barbara also got a big match from libero Dane Miller, who picked up 22 digs. “She was on fire,” said Gannon.

“This was a really good team win for us,” he added.