SBVC Roundup: 16-Blue avoid relegation, stay in division 1

Ryan Walthall’s Santa Barbara Volleyball Club’s 16-Blue team was able to maintain its division 1 standing by winning one playoff round after taking third in pool play at a Southern California Volleyball Association regular season tournament.

In the morning, the 16-Blue team won its first match over Long Beach 16-Rockstar in two sets ( 25-23, 25-21), but met with back-to-back losses to San Gabriel 16-Roshambo (25-13, 25-17) and Rancho Valley 16-Premier (25-15, 28-26) to place 3rd for the day. To keep itself from moving down a division, the team had to win its first playoff match, aptly coined by coaches as “the death match.”

Fighting tooth-and-nail, the 16-Blue came out on top edging out Legacy 16-Elite by a mere few points (25-23, 26-24). “All in all, the team had a successful tournament despite having to play through adverse gym conditions and with another new line-up,” remarked coach Walthall.

“This team has shown remarkable drive and grit to fight through adversity and uncomfortable situations, which I think is a major factor in the team’s success up to this point.” The team remains in division 1 for its next round.

The 14 Blue team won its division 3 pool and subsequent playoff match to move up a division. “The team played the most consistent volleyball they have all season,” said coach Lisa Gera.

The team opened with a barn-burner win over Mavericks 14-Black (25-20, 19-25, 15-13) and a two-set triumph over Seal Beach 14-Rick before losing that nail-biter match to Forza1 West 14-Asics. Due to a 3-way point ratio tie, the 14-Blue team took first in pool.

“We served teams off the court and made it easy to control the ball. We are starting to understand our roles and trust our teammates which is very important for any team,” continued Gera. “Alison Minnich led the charge with aggressive serving and scrappy defense. Alexandria Marx was consistent in the middle and stepped up when the team needed her to, she played with poise and confidence throughout the day.” The team went on to beat Blue Crush 14-Bryan in the one-round playoff match 25-22, 25-21 and moves up to Division 2 for its next tournament.

The 14-White went 2-1 for the day in its Division 8 pool. The team also entered into a 3-way point ratio tie and came out second overall. The team won its first two matches of the day over Big Dog 14s (19-25, 25-22, 15-13) and Imua 14-Silver (25-18, 25-19) before dropping the match to San Diego 14-Rachel (19-25, 25-23, 15-9). “Olivia Andrews served tough getting a bunch of aces and passed very well in the second match,” Coach Katie Julian commented. “She also stepped in as setter during the last match of the day due to an injury. For not practicing the position, she did a great job. And our outside hitters Lauren Holsted, Avalon Gagnon and Talia Medel, all played great defense throughout the day allowing for some fun, long rallies!”

The team remains in Division 8 for the next tournament.