Report from 18-Smack Coach Jason Donnelly:
“Courtney Preston (Assistant Coach) and I knew heading into the tournament that we were going to have a chance to win it all. We challenged the girls to set their goals high and they responded by playing their best volleyball the year. To be good enough to win a tournament is one thing, to play well enough over the course of 4 days to get it done is something really special.
“Our setter, Amanda Harvey, kept all of our hitters involved, and made us a very difficult team to defend. Her decision making was the best it’s been this year, as our hitters were one on one throughout much of the tournament. Our team hitting percentage for the week was .350 and a great deal of that was due to Amanda putting our hitters in spots to be successful.
“Taylor Racich was unstoppable from the right side. Over the season she developed her offensive arsenal, and really learned to be a smart attacker. She mixed power and finesse together with flawless success. She also was diligent in her blocking and it showed in key moments.
“Holland Crenshaw had her best tournament of the year. She’s been working really hard on her offensive game, and provided us with some momentum swinging blocks. Amy Lanski, playing in her last tournament as a middle blocker, provided formidable offense and some big league serving throughout the entire week.
“Katie Spieler was phenomenal at the libero position. She led the team with 77 digs and provided us with a consistent voice throughout the entire tournament. Emma Campbell gave us some added ball control, and her calm court demeanor really made a difference, especially during the last day.
“Eve Ettinger, Nicki Brown, and Dani Rottman all had some big moments on the left side. Having three quality outside hitters, all playing well at the same time, really made us difficult to stop.
“Katy Villanueva did a great job playing in a number of different roles. She made some key serves, and when given the opportunity played really well in the middle.”
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17-Smack competed and finished 10th overall in American Division (17U):
Santa Barbara 17 Smack finished the tourney in 10th place out of 48 teams in the American division. The team went 6-1 in pool play, but lost the challenge match to get in the top 8 to Saddleback Valley 17-Brian. In the Silver Bracket, the team beat both Nebraska Elite 17-Nemisis and Texas Eclipse 17-Green before losing to Rockwood Thunder 17-1s in a barn burner 3-set match 23-25, 25-18, 15-13 to finish 10th overall.
From Coach Dwayne Hauschild: “This is an outstanding accomplishment considering the high quality of teams at the event. We played and beat 2 teams that made the final medal bracket, including one of the finalists so I am happy with our level of play. I can say with a level of certainty that we got the most games for our money as we went three sets in nearly every match, and considering we had to change lineups due to illness and injury, I am proud of our commitment, and resilience throughout the season all the way to the end.”
The 17-Smack team was coached by Dwayne Hauschild and Gaucho-alum Charlene DeHoog.
Roster includes: Lauren Alef, Allie Eason, Sierra Hofstatter, Jaimie Mayner, Sarah McKinny, Amanda Moriarty, Tristan Racich, Nicole Tetherow, Amber Wiswell
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14-Smack placed 23rd overall nationally competing in the Open Division (14U):
The 14-Smack team suffered a setback on the first day of competition when its setter Lexi Rottman was sidelined due to an ankle injury in the first set of the second match. Rallying without the starting setter, the team played good volleyball but went 0-3 on opening day. Day 2, taped up tight and carted up to the court in a wheelchair, Rottman returned and the team went on a redemption run of 3 straight victories.
The team came back on Day 3 to defeat the last team in their pool which gave a glimmer of hope going into a 3-way tie for 3rd, but due to the point ratio tie breaking method, the team placed a gut-wrenching 6th in pool and moved them into “Flight 3.”
The next match could have been a tough one to play right after hearing the disappointing news, but rather than folding, the team came out smiling and swinging strong and won the match in two games. Day 4, the victorious run was snapped as the team gave one last nail-biter fight, but lost the match in three games to place 23rd overall nationally.
From Coach K.C. Collins:
“Obviously we were hoping for a better finish, but when we look over the whole season of accomplishments and success of each player and the team as a whole, we are very proud to have gotten as far as we did to qualify and have the opportunity to play among some of the best competition from across that States. And we hung tough with the best of ‘em!”
The team was coached by: K.C. Collins, Deia Kidd-Kadlubek and Steven Zelko
The roster includes: Emily Allen, Caroline Anderson, Hillary Bean, Andie deWerd, McKenna Goss, Emma Harrah, Paige Mascari, Dane Miller, Alexis Rottman, Jacqueline Starnes, Anika Wilson