BVB: Mistakes cost Dons in CIF Division 1 opener

Santa Barbara High’s opener in the CIF Division 1 boys volleyball playoffs didn’t go well.

Visiting Harvard Westlake jumped out to an 8-1 lead in the first set, took advantage of Santa Barbara errors at critical moments and pulled out a five-set victory over the Channel League champions Tuesday night at J.R. Richards Gym. The scores were 25-21, 20-25, 25-23, 19-25, 19-17.

“I knew coming in,” Santa Barbara coach Chad Arneson said, “I had this feeling playing in Division 1. (Harvard Westlake is) well coached. At the same time we kind of beat up ourselves. We go five games, we have an opportunity for game point, we miss the serve and it doesn’t even go over the net.

“It’s tough. The kids worked really hard. We’re back in Division 1 and we can’t underestimate any opponent.”

The Dons fought off two match points in the fifth set. Setter Cord Pereira fed Grant Galitzer for a kill in the middle to make it 14-13 and Harvard Westlake hit the next ball into the antenna to knot the score at 14. Santa Barbara capitalized on a bad pass by the Wolverines, with Galitzer scoring again for a 15-14 advantage.

Serving for the match, Santa Barbara blew an opportunity by hitting a float serve into the net. Harvard Westlake’s Jeremy Tepper blocked a Dons’ attack to put the Wolverines ahead, 17-16.

Harvard Westlake coach Adam Black said Tepper’s clutch play was a perfect example of how much his players have improved over the course of the season.

“What’s great about out team is we have a bunch of kids who are great learners,” Black said. “They work really hard to get it right. We’re not going to be 100 percent right all of the time. (Tepper) doesn’t play volleyball (year round); he has a little foundation of volleyball. He and the other guys have done such a great job learning they’re able to make plays like that. The guys are working hard and they’re staying together, and they’re grinding.”

Santa Barbara was able to tie the score at 17-17 when the Wolverines were called for a throw while trying to set a ball that hit off the ceiling.

Hudson Ling hit off the top of the Santa Barbara block to put Harvard Westlake at match point, 18-17. On the next serve, the Dons botched a hand pass for the final point.

“Our kids were playing too tight,” Arneson said. “Guys were trying too hard and we just couldn’t put it together. Collectively, we just didn’t do well as a group.”

Jasper Rhodes had 19 kills to lead three Dons in double figures for kills. Hayden Millington had 14 kills and Kyle Skinner added 10.

Harvard Westlake outside hitter Collin Shannon led all hitters with 23 kills. Ling had eight.