#12 Nicole Schuetz rises for a powerful spike. | Credit: Victor Bryant

Sophomore middle blocker Nicole Schuetz dominated at the net, and the Santa Barbara High girls’ volleyball team swept rival Dos Pueblos 25-16, 25-18, 25-20 on Thursday night at J.R. Richards gymnasium.

The victory improves Santa Barbara to 10-1 in Channel League play with three matches remaining and cements a perfect 4-0 record against rivals Dos Pueblos and San Marcos.

“We had a young squad, so coming in, we weren’t quite sure how that youth was going to serve us, and I think it has served us well,” said Santa Barbara coach Kristin Hempy. “They are learning quick. They are focused. They are driven. They have a lot of talent, and we’re able to develop that talent.”

Schuetz finished with a team-high nine kills, seven blocks, and three aces. The Chargers had no answer for her size, aggression, and tenacity at the net as she put together one of her most complete matches of the season.

“It’s really great having a big crowd cheer you on. It always gives you a lot more energy having them behind you,” Schuetz said. “It’s the best feeling to get a nice kill.”

After cruising in the first two sets, the Dons found themselves in a back-and-forth tussle in set three. The Chargers gained confidence behind the inspired play of senior outside hitter Chloe Hoffman, who finished with 12 kills, 14 digs, and two aces.

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“We can’t expect one hitter to score all of our points. We are working really hard to diversify our offense, getting our middles involved; we’re working on that a lot in practice, and trying to get our other pins going,” said Dos Pueblos coach Megan O’Carroll. “Sometimes it just doesn’t fall the way you want it to.”

Hoffman’s fourth kill of the third set gave the Chargers a 15-14 lead, and the two teams continued to go back and forth until an ace serve by Santa Barbara junior Stella Borgioli gave the Dons a 17-16 lead and sparked an 8-4 Santa Barbara rub to close out the match.

The Dons reached set point after three consecutive kills by Schuetz and clinched the match on a powerful spike by Serena Byrd. 

Byrd finished with five kills and two blocks, and senior standout Shae Delaney totaled six kills and seven digs.

The Dons will host the Santa Barbara Tournament of Champions beginning Friday, with a match against Newbury Park at 2:30 p.m.

Dos Pueblos (15-8 overall, 7-4 Channel League) will travel to Rio Mesa on Tuesday.

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