Santa Barbara Outlasted by Pasadena Poly in CIF Quarterfinals

Dons Fall Just Short of Reaching the Division Four Semifinals

#4 Shae Delaney and #10 Augustine Wooten go up for the block of Emily Wen's spike. | Credit: ENTENZA

The Dons’ quest to repeat as CIF champions slipped away.

Visiting Pasadena Poly closed the fourth and final set with eight straight points to eliminate the Santa Barbara High girls’ volleyball team in the quarterfinals of the CIF Southern Section Division 4 playoffs 19-25, 25-22, 27-25, 25-20, on Wednesday night at J.R. Richards gymnasium.

“That’s just a heartbreaker overall. It was so close. It was right there. We were telling the girls if we played them 10 times, they’d win five and we’d win five, and they won this one,” said Santa Barbara coach Kristin Hempy. “We did have a little bit of serve receive and offensive execution lulls, but overall just really proud of how they played tonight.”

Pasadena Poly was the fourth seed in the Division 4 playoffs and Santa Barbara was the fifth seed, so a close match was to be expected, and that’s how it unfolded. 

The Dons started strong on their way to a 1-0 set lead, but Pasadena Poly proved to be a team with very few weaknesses.

“We kind of minimize the big picture and just really take care of what’s in front of us,” said Pasadena Poly coach Katrina Damasco. “Every single point, our goal is to side out quickly, and if we lose the point, get the next point.”

Staying in the moment paid dividends for Pasadena Poly in the second set as a Nicole Schuetz kill increased the Santa Barbara lead to 16-12. The Panthers did not blink, despite staring down a 2-0 set deficit, and instead climbed back into the game. A spike off the block by Georgetown commit Emily Wen gave Pasadena Poly a 20-19 lead.  

Sign up for Indy Today to receive fresh news from, in your inbox, every morning.

Another kill by Wen clinched the second set, 25-22, and evened the match at one set apiece. 

In set three, it was Santa Barbara battling back from a deficit as the Dons fell behind 17-12 on a kill by Pasadena Poly’s Olivia Ip. However, Santa Barbara responded with a 10-4 run and took a 22-21 lead on a kill by Nicole Schuetz. The two teams went back and forth until Pasadena Poly earned back-to-back points with a kill from Camellia Ding followed by an ace serve from Ellie Chu to take a 2-1 set lead.

The Dons were on the brink of elimination and fell behind 10-6 in set four after back-to-back ace serves by Chu. But Santa Barbara did not go down without a fight and took the lead, 13-12, on an ace serve by Gracie Meinzer. Santa Barbara extended the lead to 20-17 on an ace serve by Gwen Chenoweth before Wen took over the match with six consecutive kills that put the Panthers ahead 24-20.

Santa Barbara’s dreams of advancing vanished when Meinzer hit long, clinching the fourth set and the match for Pasadena Poly.

Senior Shae Delany led the way for Santa Barbara in her final high school match with 15 kills and 12 digs. Schuetz, who is only a sophomore, added nine kills, two digs, and two blocks.

Capistrano Valley Christian, 3; Bishop Diego, 0

The Cardinals struggled against the team they defeated in the CIF-SS Division 7 championship match last season. This time, Capistrano Valley Christian earned the sweep in the quarterfinals of the CIF-SS Division 5 playoffs 25-13, 25-5, 25-17.

Support the Santa Barbara Independent through a long-term or a single contribution.


Please note this login is to submit events or press releases. Use this page here to login for your Independent subscription

Not a member? Sign up here.