SBVC Roundup: Teams to start SCVA season in D2, D3

The Santa Barbara Volleyball Club’s 18-Blue, 17-Blue and 16-Blue teams completed their series of qualifying rounds for the Southern California Volleyball Association season.

Aubrey Knight of the SBVC 16-Blue blocks a ball as teammate Gabi Peoples looks on.

Aubrey Knight of the SBVC 16-Blue stuff blocks an attack as teammate Gabi Peoples looks on.

How the team finishes in pool play determines its division and starting rank.

This past Sunday, the 16-Blue team battled to a 2-1 finish in its gold bracket pool to start its regular season in Division 2. The team had a nail-biter start to the day fending off Rancho Valley 16-Select in 3 sets (19-25, 25-21, 15-6) and was able to take Team Wave 16-Sicole in 2 sets (25-14, 26-24). The team ended the day with another 3-set battle and lost to Mavericks 16-Black in two sets to finish second for the day.

“Although we did not get the results we were hoping for and expecting, I am pleased with the team’s performance and competitive level,” said Coach Ryan Walthall. “We showed at times that we can, and will be, able to play a very high level of volleyball. Consistency remains a primary obstacle for us to reach our potential and play sustained periods of high level volleyball. Obviously, these are issues to be sorted out in the training gym and our efforts and focus in the gym over the next month or two will go a long way in determining whether we can reach our potential sooner as opposed to later.”

On Saturday, the 18-Blue team came out fighting in the gold bracket and played some strong volleyball but couldn’t find the consistency necessary to finish out crucial matches on top.

“We challenged the top two seeds in our pool, and had opportunities to take the matches but just couldn’t pull out a win,” commented Coach KC Collins. “We are right there but in the end it was the lack of consistency that hurt us.”

The team opened up the morning against the number one seed overall in the tournament, 951 Elite 18s, and lost 25-14, 24-26, 15-11. Looking to rebound, the team entered into another three set battle against Seal Beach 17-Melody and lost 25-23, 23-25, 15-11. The team then rolled over Saddleback Valley 17-Rodante 25-10, 25-12 taking 3rd for the day and relegated to Division 3 to start the regular season.

Emily Allen of the 18-Blue rips a spike past a blocker.

Emily Allen of the 18-Blue hits past a blocker.

“We had a strong combined attack against 951, but our passing as a whole just was not up to par. Against Seal Beach, Emily Allen led with 10 kills and 8 digs while Lexi Rottman and Jacqueline Starnes also contributed 8 and 6 digs, respectively. But we just couldn’t string enough strong plays together for the win. McKenna Goss led the offensive strike against Saddleback with 9 kills, followed by Hillary Bean contributing 5 kills and middles Emma Harrah and Caroline Anderson with 4 kills apiece. With a little more elbow grease at practice, the team will continue to work hard at mastering a higher level of consistency and will push to move up in the ranks,” finished Coach Collins.

The 17-Blue team will also start its season in division 3 having gone 1-2 in pool play and also finishing third in the gold bracket.

“The team got their first real exposure to high-level play in the 18s division,” remarked Coach David Haan.

The team started its day with a win over SCVC 17-Roxy (25-22, 25-18), having the upper hand most of the way in both sets. The team then succumbed to back to back losses against Golden West 18-Asics (25-18, 25-14) and Vegas Encore 18s (25-19, 25-20).

“Dani Abrams was our standout player of the tournament. Her blocking was on point all day, and she made critical offensive plays when we needed them,” Coach Haan continued. “It was an eye opener for this team, and we now have a firm understanding of what it takes to compete with the top teams in the SCVA. I am satisfied that we are starting in Division 3, which is very respectable, but I know these girls are hungry to compete with the Division 1 and 2 teams.”

The 18-Blue and 17-Blues teams head off to Vegas in a couple of weeks for the annual 3-day SCVA Las Vegas Invitational over the holiday weekend.