Some of the top girls volleyball teams in the state packed into J.R. Richards Gymnasium for the Santa Barbara Tournament of Champions, which concluded Saturday night.
Torrey Pines of the CIF San Diego Section emerged victorious over Marymount in the final 14-25, 25-18, 29-31, 25-18, 15-12 to claim the tournament title for the second consecutive year.
The three local teams in the tournament Santa Barbara, San Marcos and Dos Pueblos struggled against elite competition and with many of their top players out Saturday for SAT testing the uphill battles became even more daunting.
“We’re obviously seeded last in our own tournament,” said Santa Barbara coach Ariana Garner. “We had the one seed Torrey Pines right off the bat, which was tough for us because we’re not used to seeing such a fast offense and really disciplined girls.”
The Dons dropped their opener to Torrey Pines 25-7, 25-17, 25-9, but bounced back in their second match on Friday against Los Osos and claimed a 27-25, 25-22, 22-25, 25-21 victory.
“It clicked and we won that first set,” said Garner of the victory over Los Osos. “When we win the first set we’re in a groove and it feels good.”
On Saturday Santa Barbara was without several of its senior for it’s opening match against Rancho Cucamonga and took a predictable loss 25-15, 25-9, 25-14.
That setup matchup against Upland in the 11th place match, which the Dons dropped 25-21, 25-23, 25-14.
“This last match of the day was tough for us because we had girls here for half of the day and it was a long weekend,” Garner said. “Two three-out-of-five set (matches) in a day is a lot.”
The Dons were led by senior setter Ellie Chenoweth, who racked up 15 assists in the match against Rancho Cucamonga. Freshman middle blocker Emma Zuffaletto continues to emerge and improved as the tournament progressed.
“She was like a little Bambi at the beginning, but now she is getting up, taking big swings, blocking and pressing over the net,” said Garner of Zuffaletto. “She is one of our shining stars right now and really making a big difference for us offensively and defensively.”
As for Dos Pueblos, Presentation of San Jose defeated the Chargers in their opening match 25-21, 25-15, 25-16. Dos Pueblos then dropped its next match to Ranch Cucamonga 25-21, 25-13, 16-25, 25-13 and a five set thriller against Los Osos 13-25, 25-19, 24-26, 25-23, 15-10.
However, the Chargers finished strong sweeping Valencia in their final match of the tournament 25-22, 25-15, 25-22.
San Marcos went back and forth with Foothill Tech in its opening match before eventually losing 25-20, 19-25, 25-22, 21-25, 16-14. After dropping its ensuing match to Newport Harbor in three sets San Marcos defeated Valencia 27-25, 25-10, 25-27, 27-25.