Standing at 6-foot-3 with wild, white-blonde hair, Arroyo Grande High School junior Jackson Tourdot is hard to miss.
But it was his power, not his trademark look, that stood out on the court Friday afternoon in a game to decide the PAC 8 boys volleyball championship.
Tourdot’s long arms and athleticism led to a team-high 12 kills and helped Arroyo Grande defeat SLO High (25-22, 25-18, 25-23) to capture its sixth-straight league title.
“It never gets old. I get excited for those boys every single time,” Arroyo Grande head coach Laurel Allen said. “They had fun tonight.”
The win also marked the 60th straight league win for Arroyo Grande (22-6, 11-0 PAC 8).
“It’s great to be a part of the streak,” Tourdot said after the win. “It’s kind of amazing. We just want to keep that streak going for as long as we can.”
Tourdot has been on the varsity team since he was a freshman, but after taking a back seat for his first two seasons, he has become the Eagles’ go-to hitter in 2017. Senior setter Sasha Bylsma, who finished the game with 29 assists, built a chemistry with Tourdot when the two played beach volleyball together last summer.
That chemistry was on full display on Friday.
“(Tourdot) is just so excited to get the set. Every time, he is just so hungry for that ball,” Allen said. “And Sasha does a beautiful job running the plays.”
Outside of Tourdot, outside hitters Noah Nailor and Jared Loayza have emerged, adding depth to go along with the defense of libero Brett MacDonald and Andy Vanbogelen. Nailor and Loayza had six kills each.
Heading into Friday’s game, Arroyo Grande was ranked No. 6 in the CIF-Southern Section polls. With the win Friday and two nonleague games remaining against San Marcos and Morro Bay, Arroyo Grande will be looking to improve its seeding heading into the playoffs two weeks from now.
Two pressure-packed moments from Friday’s game gave Allen a good feeling heading into the playoffs.
In both, Arroyo Grande was able to win points late in games. In the first game, they held off a late Tigers rally. And in the third game, they remained poised despite the large crowd and championship stakes.
“Just that confidence to just go for it when it is those type of points and not to let up, that’s what we were looking for going into the second half of the season,” Allen said.
Top SLO Performer
San Luis Obispo junior Sawyer McSorely had a brilliant performance in the loss with a game-high 14 kills.