Volleyball: Balers place fourth at Watsonville tourney

San Benito's Carlos Gutierrez gets up for a block Tuesday night against Palma.

After finishing its second tournament this year with a 3-1 record, the Balers improved to 16-3 on the season as they enter the final month of the season.

In four games at the Watsonville Wildcat Tournament on Saturday, San Benito dominated, losing only in the tournament semifinals to Cupertino’s Monte Vista.

“We played really good overall,” head coach Emily Tonascia said. “But we didn’t play well at all in that match. We weren’t prepared to play a team that good. We haven’t really played a team with multiple good hitters.”

In the loss, San Benito was eliminated in only two games, losing 25-12, 25-7.

David Hawks led the team with 12 assists, as Isaiah Acfalle had six kills. Dylan Lomanto recorded 10 digs.

But the loss didn’t damper the team’s quality of play during the tournament, Tonascia said.

“I’m really happy we got to see good competition,” she said. “We’ve only had a little bit of competition so far — maybe Watsonville. This shows that we still need to get better.”

San Benito opened the tournament with three easy pool wins.

In their first match, the Balers defeated Sacred Heart in two games. Led by Robert Henderson and Acfalle’s nine kills, the Balers won 25-17 and 25-19.

Lomanto recorded 25 digs and Hawks had 25 assists in the win.

In the team’s second game, San Benito controlled league opponent Alisal, beating them 25-13 and 25-12.

Hawks had 31 assists in the match.

The Balers final victory of the weekend came against Soquel in a tough three-game match. Behind 40 assists from Hawks — and 13 kills from Acfalle — San Benito won 25-23, 19-25, 15-12.

“It was a fun game,” Tonascia said. “It was really close.”

Despite the fourth-place finish, Tonascia believed the tournament would help the Balers later in the season, she said.

“This is going to make us better,” she said. “We are going to have to work on our blocking and playing against teams with multiple good hitters. We had too many unforced errors. We can’t do that in the CCS playoffs.”

The Balers opened the weekend with a three-game seep of Pajaro Valley on Thursday.

San Benito never trailed during the win — beating the Grizzlies 25-12, 25-18, 25-14.

“We played really well,” Tonascia said.

Henderson — along with Acfalle — led the San Benito attack, she said.

“He was really good,” Tonascia said. “He was really smart with his hits. He was really important.”

Leave your comments