By Marc Anthony Martinez
The Husky volleyball team was eliminated from the first round of the SoCal Regional playoffs by Santa Barbara City College on Saturday.
The Huskies traveled to Santa Barbara and played at the SBCC Sports Pavillion.
Santa Barbara swept the Huskies, beating them in three sets 25-21, 25-21 and 25-11.
This was the Husky volleyball team’s first time ever in the playoffs.
The officiating of the game had East Los Angeles College players and coaches upset and they felt like the officials made bad calls.
Elliot Walker, volleyball head coach, said some of the officials’ calls helped Santa Barbara get points they might not have gotten if it wasn’t for those calls.
“I have never complained about an official’s inconsistency. However, the R2 (second referee) was not an effective eye-watcher at the bottom of the net. There were at least six calls in the first set alone that should have gone in the opposite direction,” Walker said.
The Huskies started the first set hitting the net on the serve, giving Santa Barbara the lead.
When ELAC got the ball back, libero Alejandra Alfaro hit the net again on the serve, making it 3-1.
The Huskies took the lead 4-3 when outside hitter/opposite hitter Evan Ybarra from Santa Barbara hit the ball out of bounds.
After a rally by both teams, the Huskies got a net violation that tied the game at 13.
In the next play, Santa Barbara hit it out of bounds on the serve, giving the lead to the Huskies.
The score kept going back-and-forth until Santa Barbara took the lead 18-17 and stayed on top for the set.
At 20-18, Walker made sure outside hitter and opposite hitter Caroline Wong, who substituted for offensive player Kaitlyn Bacenti, was the correct player to serve.
Walker checked with the scorers table and the official, where they confirmed she was the one to serve. The Huskies lost set one 25-21.
Set two started off close as middle blocker Kiara Davis hit the ball hard between two Santa Barbara defenders and it deflected off them into the net.
Davis started a Huskies five-point scoring streak, causing Santa Barbara to end up calling a timeout.
Davis played hard during her time on the court.
“A lot of my sisters depend on me for my energy,” Davis said.
Officials would reverse a call that would end the scoring streak. The call originally gave a point to the Huskies, but was given to Santa Barbara.
The officials huddled to talk about it and ended up replaying the point, leaving the score at 19-15. Santa Barbara scored on the replay, making it 20-15.
Walker said the referee awarded the Huskies a replay on the ball because the officials could not agree on what happened. He felt it was a good call letting them replay that point.
Santa Barbara managed to get more rallies than the Huskies.
In the third set, the Huskies frustration and fatigue got the better of the team.
Santa Barabara took over as they quickly went up 6-4, then 10-5 and would continue to dominate the game, beating the Huskies by 14.
Davis said frustration, being tired and sick affected how they played the third set.
Davis said they felt like the referees weren’t calling certain calls and the ones they were calling weren’t fair.
Davis tried hitting the ball off a defender for the last play of the game, but the ball went out of bounds, giving Santa Barbara the 25-11 win for the set.
Walker said the reason why the final set was not as hard played as the first two was out of frustration.
“They were frustrated because of the fact that they’re giving their all, and yet no matter how much they’re giving, it’s being taken away from them,” Walker said.
Walker said he was very proud of his team and knows that this will be a life lesson for them that will help carry over to their academic success.