The Santa Ynez High girls volleyball team made the journey to J.R. Richards Gymnasium to take on Santa Barbara in a Channel League match for the first time on Tuesday night.
Despite a scrappy effort, the visiting Pirates couldn’t get over the hump as the Dons cranked up their execution at key moments in the match to claim a 25-19, 26-24, 25-23 victory.
“It was good to see that everybody can contribute,” said Santa Barbara coach Ariana Garner. “Some (players) have stepped up in tough situations when they’ve been on the bench the whole set.”
It was the best offensive match of the season thus far for the Dons. As a team, Santa Barbara hit over .200 for the first time this season and setter Ellie Chenoweth spread out the opportunities evenly amongst her attacking options en-route to 37 assists.
Senior opposite Chloe Mauceri led the way with 12 kills and Talia Medel was right behind her with eleven. Sky Mainz and Georgia Brace contributed nine and eight kills respectively.
“We still have a lot to work on. We have Lompoc on Thursday and we’re playing in the Royal tournament on Saturday, which is going to be good for us,” Garner said. “We kind of have our lineup right now. We’re still kind of fitting some loose ends in and out, but I want to continue on with this lineup and see if we can eventually get them flowing moving into DP and the second time we play San Marcos.”
Santa Ynez countered with solid play from its middle blockers Kylie Clouse and Gillian WIlks. Clouse is a 6’ 1” transfer from Harbor High in Santa Cruz where she was a all-county player. Clouse finished with 10 kills and four blocks while Wilks racked up five kills and four blocks.
“We knew it as going to be a tough road for us, but we were looking forward to the challenge,” said Santa Ynez coach Tom Wright. “Whether it takes us a year or two to rise up to the competition that’s what it’s going to take and we’re going to work hard to match up with everybody.”
After narrowly dropping set two, The Pirates tied up set three at 23-23 on a solo block by Wilks. However, Mainz swung the momentum back in Santa Barbara’s favor with a clutch kills and Hayden Randolph followed that up with an ace serve that Clinched the match for the Dons.
Santa Barbara will play at Lompoc on Thursday. Santa Ynez will travel to Cabrillo.