The Dons celebrate their three-set sweep over rival San Marcos.

Santa Barbara High gained the upper hand in its crosstown Channel League girls volleyball rivalry with San Marcos by shutting down several attacks by the Royals on Wednesday night. The Dons frustrated their rivals with penetrating blocks and solid back-row defense and swept the league-opening match 25-17, 25-23, 25-20 at a raucous J.R. Richards Gym.

Jessyca Beksa blasted 10 kills and picked up 11 digs to lead Santa Barbara (9-3), the No. 9-ranked team in the CIF 1-A Division. But it was the play of middle Katie Gallivan that had a huge impact in the win. She had five blocks and made things difficult for San Marcos’ explosive outside hitter Chloe Allen. Gallivan also put away six kills.

“We have great middle attackers,” Beksa said. “It’s great to have the middles going because it really opens the hits on the outside. It’s a great team dynamic duo.”

“Our serving and our energy got us going,” Gallivan said. “We got a really good start and we just kept up the energy. It was great to have our Scream Team here.”

Beksa said it was satisfying to get a sweep. “People were predicting five games and four games and a sweep was out of the question,” she said. “I think that was a huge, huge win to beat them in a sweep.”

Lourda Weger added eight kills and setter Lexi Rottman handed out 34 assists. Libero Dane Miller had nine digs.

San Marcos coach Erica Menzel Downing said it was frustrating to see the team play so inconsistent. “We came out unconfident,” she said. “We’ve come into other games where we know we can win and I think there was a little bit of a hesitation tonight and it showed right from the get-go.”

“That’s a really good team,” said Santa Barbara coach John Gannon of San Marcos. “You can see the way they can control the ball and hit with pace. We tried to neutralize it the best we can with good defense and good blocking and tough serving.”

For a detailed account of the game, see


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