GVB: Norco knocks out Dons from CIF

Norco was too much for Santa Barbara High in Tuesday’s CIF first-round match. The host Cougars triumphed 25-20, 25-14, 16-25, 27-25 to advance in the Division 1A Tournament.

Santa Barbara High was without head coach John Gannon, who couldn’t travel because of illness. Assistant coach Chad Arneson took the reins.

Slow starts in each game cost Santa Barbara, according to Arneson, as did an above-average amount of service errors.

A lineup switch before the third game helped breathe life into the Dons, who then captured the third set 25-16. Down 19-16 in the fourth set with Bella Gniadek at the service line, the Dons rallied and took a brief 23-21 lead. Norco called a timeout, took advantage of a Dons service error, and avoided a fifth set.

“I got to give our girls a lot of credit. They played real hard. They showed a lot of character after going down 2-0,” Arneson said.

Seniors Lourda Weger, with 19 kills, and Jessyca Beksa, with 17 kills and 10 digs, were strong in their final matches as Dons. Megan Seabury added seven digs.