SBVC Roundup: 16-Blue rebounds in playoff rounds

Ellie Chenoweth sets for the 14-Blue team during a recent Southern California Volleyball Association Tournament.

Ellie Chenoweth sets for the 14-Blue team during a recent Southern California Volleyball Association Tournament.

The Santa Barbara Volleyball Club’s 16-Blue went beyond winning the “death match” to stay in Division 1 of the Southern California Volleyball Association past weekend.

The team, competing among the top 16, finished 1-2 in its pool but bounced back late in the afternoon to beat Bakersfield 16-Morgan 27-25, 25-12 in a first-round playoff match to remain in division 1 standing. The team went on to beat Baja 16-1 in a one set semi-final match 25-11 and lost in a rematch to Sunshine 16-Westside in a one set nail-biter final 27-25 to place 10th overall.

Coach Ryan Walthall said: “After having to grind and battle through the majority of the day, this team showed flashes of brilliant play late in the tournament.”

The team remains solidly in division 1 for the next regular tournament. “Hopefully this gives us confidence to build from as we prepare for the SoCal qualifier in the upcoming weeks,” remarked Walthall.

The team next competes in two weeks at the Southern California Jr. National Qualifier, seeking a bid for the USAV Jr. Nationals in New Orleans in June.

The 14-Blue team remains in division 2 after finishing third out of pool play and winning the first playoff match.

“The team worked hard this tournament and competed well against stronger opponents. We had excellent play by Taylor Robertson who had the most digs on the day,” commented Coach Lisa Gera. “Overall, we have been working on competing under pressure at practices, and you can tell the girls are starting to enjoy it and feel more comfortable at the end of matches.”

The team opened up with back-to-back three-set losses to Sunshine 14-South Bay (25-23, 18-25, 15-13) and Rise VBC 14-Kris (16-25, 26-24, 18-16), but finished pool play with a two-set win over Commerce Crush 14s (25-20, 25-16). Fighting to stay in Division 2, the team then beat Bakersfield 14-Jodi (25-18, 27-25) before losing to A4 Volley 14-Purple in the semi round 25-19.

“We are staying in division 2 and hope to be a division 1 team by the end of the season!” finished Gera.

The 14-White team placed second for the day to remain in Division 8. The team beat San Gabriel 14-Black (23-25, 25-18, 15-11) and lost to New Wave 14-Platinum (25-13, 20-25, 15-11) to start the day. The team returned in the afternoon to scratch out a win over Blue Crush 14-Oceans 26-24, 29-27.

“Our libero, Bailey Steelman, passed well, played tough defense and didn’t miss a serve,” Coach Katie Julian observed.