WVB: SBCC’s Gover reaches 300-win milestone

SBCC volleyball players celebrate with their coach, Ed Gover, after his 300th match victory.

SBCC volleyball players celebrate with their coach, Ed Gover, after his 300th match victory.

Katelynn Womack and Kaitlyn Clemann pounded 10 kills each on Wednesday night and No. 12 SBCC swept past Ventura 25-16, 25-10, 25-19 to give Coach Ed Gover his 300th women’s volleyball win.

It was the third straight victory and 14th in 15 games for the Vaqueros (18-5, 9-1), who remained in first place in the WSC North. Ventura fell to 11-10 and 5-6.

There were many local fans and coaches who showed up at the Sports Pavilion to support Gover. Coaches like legendary ex-UCSB coach Ken Preston, current Gaucho men’s coach Rick McLaughlin and former SBCC coach Armen Zakarian, who served two years as Gover’s assistant and is now an assistant for the UC Irvine men’s team.

Gover is 300-187 (.615) in 24 seasons as the Vaqueros’ head coach. He’s led them to seven WSC championships, including four of the last five years. His teams are 66-8 in WSC play since 2008.

“I’m really proud of the players we have and the commitment to our program and how hard they work every day in practice,” said Gover, a longtime Physical Education teacher at Santa Barbara Junior High who started coaching the Vaquero women in 1991. “This brings up a lot of memories for me. Every team I’ve had is unique and special and I’ve had some great assistant coaches along the way. Armen Zakarian is here tonight and my current assistants, Lisa Gera and Steve Zelko, have been fantastic.

“I’m very proud to be a part of this program.”

The Vaqueros used a 7-0 run to extend their lead to 21-11 in the opening set. Womack, who hit .363 for the match, served six straight points including an ace during that run. Alissa La Rocca tipped an off-speed kill to cap the 25-16 victory.

The second set was all SBCC as the Vaqueros jumped ahead 10-3 on a backrow kill by Tristen Thompson. They used a 10-0 run to stretch the lead to 23-5 on a kill off the block by La Rocca. Ventura scored five of the next six points before a long serve ended the set. The 10 points allowed were the third-lowest in a set this year.

Setter Madelon Leiphardt had 36 assists. Sydney Kantor recorded nine digs and Eryn Young had eight.

The third set was closer with nine ties with the last one coming at 13-all. Womack recorded a kill and Leiphardt dumped a second set, igniting a 5-1 run that gave the Vaqueros a 19-14 lead.

Ventura pulled within two a couple of times before SBCC ended it on an ace serve by Sydney Kantor, a block by Paige Sabin and another ace from Kantor that capped the 25-19 victory.

“We were all aware that coach was going for No. 300 and we were all excited to hear that,” said Leiphardt, a sophomore from Dos Pueblos High. “We knew we had the ability to win and we didn’t feel any extra pressure. We were just excited to give him that 300th win and be a part of it.

“Coach Gover is a great all-around coach. We can go to him with anything and I’m really lucky to be playing for him.”
Gover, who’s never played volleyball competitively, didn’t tell his players that he was closing in on 300 wins.
“We played steady tonight and we were ready for this match,” he said. “I never told them I was going for my 300th win. You know me, I’m all about one game at a time and staying focused.”

The Vaqueros, who are 30-2 in their last 32 conference matches, are seeking their third straight WSC North title. They have two WSC matches left – Friday at L.A. Mission and Wednesday, Nov. 19 in the regular-season home finale vs. Cuesta at 6 p.m.