#23 Andreas Schuetz beats the Redondo Union block early in the fifth set. | Credit: Victor Bryant

Despite a combined 47 kills from senior Alex Rottman and Andreas Schuetz, the Santa Barbara High boys’ volleyball team bowed out of the CIF-SS Division 1 playoffs following a 25-21, 25-22, 17-25, 24-26, 15-10 loss to Redondo Union on Thursday night.

The Dons squandered significant leads in the first two sets and struggled with bouts of inconsistency before their furious rally fell short.

“This is what the Division 1 playoffs are all about. I want to give a shout out to my boys for not quitting,” said Santa Barbara coach Chad Arneson. “There were times when we were playing really well and there were times where we couldn’t put it all together. The consistency was lacking.”

After a dominant third set in which Santa Barbara jumped out to a 13-6 lead and cruised  to avoid the sweep, the Dons found themselves desperately battling to stave off elimination in set four.

A kill by Riley Norman gave the visiting Seahawks a 24-23 and put them at match point. After a long, nerve-racking rally Schuetz evened the set at 24-24 with a kill and followed that up with a solo block that put Santa Barbara ahead 25-24.

In the ensuing action, Redondo Union setter Jake Stimpfig attempted a dump that went just wide as the Dons were able to force a fifth and decisive set.

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“We had a couple close calls on the line that went our way,” Arneson said. “We were hoping that momentum would carry over into the fifth game.”

The Dons started strong in the fifth set and took a 5-4 lead on a kill by Mason Rice, but after Redondo Union evened the score at 6-6 the Seahawks ran off seven consecutive points to take control of the match. 

“We got them in a tough rotation. They have a couple of tough rotations,” said Redondo Union coach Kevin Norman of their run in the fifth set. “We had been missing some serves in those rotations and letting them off the hook.

Riley Norman led the way for Redondo Union with a team-high 16 kills.

The loss ends an incredible season for Rottman, who will continue his volleyball career at Stanford next season. 

San Marcos 3;  Valencia 0

The Royals started their run in the CIF-SS Division 2 playoffs with a quick sweep of visiting Valencia.

Middle Blocker Aiden Pazier paced a balanced San Marcos attack with eight kills.

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