SB Elite goes 1-1 in winter season beach opener

The Santa Barbara Elite girls beach volleyball club kicked off the winter beach season with matches against Las Vegas and Los Angeles ICG. SB Elite blanked Las Vegas 5-0 and lost 3-2 against LAICG.

The doubles teams that won in straight sets against Las Vegas were Lindsey Knudsen (Valencia High)/Sammy Slater (Ventura), Kaity Uythoven (Valencia)/Jessyca Beksa (Santa Barbara), Kelsey Knudsen (Valencia)/Keara Rutz (Providence Middle School),and Cassandra Amador (Santa Barbara)/Laurel Kujan (Laguna Blanca). The team of Josie Doughty (Laguna Blanca)/Audrey Baldwin (Dos Pueblos) squeaked out a 2-1 win. In the deciding third set, they rebounded from 4-0 deficit and came back to win 15-12.

Lindsey Knudsen and Slater won a tight three-set match against the league’s No. 1 team from LAICG, 23-21, 15-21, 18-16. Amador and Kujan captured the other match in straight sets.

SB Elite coach Dillan Bennett was impressed how his players performed in their debut.

“As a team, we have been working very hard in practice since mid-November, and I think the girls were anxious to get out there and compete against someone besides their teammates. I think they were expecting results to be similar to last year when we started, and the girls were pleasantly surprised to see how well their work has paid off. The sweep of Vegas showed that, with several games being won by eight or more points.

“I am so proud of the growth of each and every player and excited to continue working with this group through February.”

The team will be back on the court at West Beach in Santa Barbara on Jan. 11.

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