BVB: Carpinteria beats Bishop in wild match, clinches tie for TVL title

The match had all the momentum swings, emotions and craziness you’d expect from a crosstown showdown for first-place in a league race.

When it was over, Carpinteria High’s boys volleyball team celebrated its first league title in several years. Mason Picerni tapped a Bishop Diego overpass for the final point in a back-and-forth fifth set, giving the Warriors a wild 19-25, 25-21, 17-25, 25-16, 15-13 Tri-Valley League victory on Wednesday night in Carpinteria.

With the win, the Warriors clinch a tie for the TVL title with a record of 9-1. Bishop Diego falls to 7-3. Both teams have two matches remaining.

The 6-5 Picerni stepppd up when the Warriors needed him the most. He blasted 18 kills and recorded five blocks from his middle position. Victor Saldana had 13 kills from the outside and picked up eight digs and libero Victor Garcia time and again came up with clutch digs and big serves to keep Carpinteria alive. He finished with 18 digs.

Bishop Diego got big nights from John Harris and Austin Bohnett on the outside as they each pounded 18 kills. Luca Jordano added 12 kills. Harris played an all-around fine match, collecting 20 digs and serving eight aces.

It was a would-be ninth ace by Harris that turned the tide in the fifth set. At 13-13, the line judge called his deep serve in the court. But the referee tapped his chest, saying it was his call, and overruled the line judge. That put Carpinteria at set point.

Bishop Diego coach Jason Donnelly said couldn’t believe the official could make that call at 13-all but declined to talk further about it.

The match was played with only one official.

Jose Angeles served for the Warriors and his floater was passed over the net. Picerni used his long arm to tap it over and the Cardinals couldn’t make a play.

It seemed only fitting that Picerni would score the match winner. He took over the match in the fourth set with his hitting and blocking. With Bishop leading 8-7, he scored five straight points and a total of six during an eight-point run by the Warriors. He finished the set with 10 points, including the last two on a kill and a stuff block.

“Very emotional player,” Carpinteria coach Dino Garcia said, “and when he’s confident, he’s unstoppable. I’m very proud of him. He did great this night.”

Bishop Diego slowed Picerni early in the match, but once he got hot the Cardinals couldn’t stop him.

“He’s hard to defend because he hits that high two-ball in the middle and he’s athletic enough to get up and take a swing at it,” Donnelly said. “We slowed him down early and he got hot late. He’s an emotional guy, he’s a good player, he feeds off his emotions.”

Carpinteria carried the momentum of the fourth set into the fifth and jumped out to a 4-0 lead. But Bishop Diego fought back behind the jump serves of Jordano and the hitting of Bohnett. A Bohnett kill tied the score at 4-4 and he later went on a serving run to give them a 7-5 lead.

A Harris kill gave Bishop its last lead of the set at 10-8.

The momentum then shifted to Carpinteria’s side.

“It’s all about momentum, and our youth kind of showed up in game four, where we had an opportunity to finish it off and we didn’t,” Donnelly said. “That’s on us; we made a lot of unforced errors.

“We got a freshman, five sophomores and one junior out there. They’re going to make young-guy mistakes, but I couldn’t be more proud than the way they played.”

Picerni and Mayer Rodrigues combined on a block to tie the score at 10. Victor Garcia then served back-to-back aces and Picerni blocked another Bishop attack after a brilliant defensive play in the back row. The Warriors dug a driven ball but it ricocheted off a ceiling beam and got redirected. A hustling Garcia tracked it down and bumped it over the net. Bishop set up an attack but it was denied by Picerni, giving the Warriors a 13-10 advantage.

But no lead was save on this crazy night. Bishop got a side out and Jordano delivered back-to-back kills to tie the score at 13-all.

Then came Bishop’s bad break.

Moments later, Carpinteria was celebrating a tremendous victory and a league volleyball title.

“My guys stayed composed all the way to the end,” coach Garcia said. “They were just mentally there every play. It was beautiful.”