The SBCC beach volleyball program recently made history by advancing two of its pairs to the CCCAA State Championships for the first time ever.
On Saturday, the No. 7 seeded pair of Emma Crabbe and Kelissa Lemoine took it even further, sweeping three out of four opponents and winning the 2022 CCCAA State Individual Pairs Championship over West Valley in straight sets, 21-15, 21-18.
Krongold & McKie
Following a successful trip to El Camino two weekends ago for SoCal Pairs Regional competition, the Vaqueros sent their 1s pair of Crabbe and Lemoine along with their 3s pair of Lily Krongold and Jacelin McKie to the state finals at Irvine Valley this past weekend, which began with the group stage on Friday, May 13.
It was a tough pool for McKie and Krongold on day one. As the No. 4 seed, they defeated No. 1 El Camino but fell to No. 2 Feather River and No. 3 San Diego Mesa.
“This past weekend was grueling, exhausting and rewarding,” head coach Ariana Garner said. “I am so proud of Lily and Jaceline for fighting all weekend. They are an undersized pair who played incredible beach volleyball. They were able to beat El Camino, one of the toughest teams in the whole tournament. As a pair, their success directly correlated with their execution. Their game plan was a perfect approach and the way they executed was so great to see. They have come a long way since the beginning of our season as a pair and could not be more happy with the way they played together at the end of the season.”
Crabbe & Lemoine
SBCC’s 1s pair began the weekend strong with a win against Mira Costa, following it up by defeating West Valley and No. 1 seed Cabrillo. They would finish first in their pool after starting as the No. 2 seed.
“We battled through a tough pool, in the heat, and did not let up at all,” Garner said. “The first day nerves definitely got a hold of them in some moments, but like great players, once they settled in, they were unstoppable.”
On Saturday, the final day of competition, the duo faced Ventura, a conference foe which has played them tough in four meetings this year, although the Vaqueros have come out on top each time. Again, once the Vaqueros settled in, they were able to take control of the match and stay in control and finish.
Crabbe and Lemoine went on to face Cypress in the quarterfinals, a team they did not have much experience seeing before.
“Cypress was a taller team and we were outmatched at the net,” Garner said. “Kelissa and Emma were rock-solid, with consistency and ball control that was stellar. They were able to strategically outplay them and put themselves in the semifinals.”
Next came an intense semifinals match against Grossmont, a team that has earned a reputation for winning both team and pairs state championships.
“Again, going up against a more physical team with height, Kelissa and Emma battled with their ball control,” said Ganrer. “Setting each other off the net, they were able to hit their shots, move the other team around and get them out of system. It was a back-and-forth battle all match and a great win for Kelissa and Emma, earning themselves a spot in the championship match.”
In its seventh match of the weekend, battling through heat and exhaustion, the pair would go on to face and defeat West Valley in the finals.
“Emma and Kelissa found that last bit of gas in the tank and brought the intensity. They played fresh, with confidence and executed very well. It was a great win for these two and a full circle as the West Valley head coach, Armen Zakarian, was my coach when I played indoor and beach volleyball at SBCC. West Valley is a tough team both on the beach and indoors and the girls battled all the way through a tough, hot weekend.
“Proud is an understatement. Kelissa and Emma deserve this honor. Their extensive work ethic on and off the court is what brought them to this point. They put so much work into their beach game outside of practice, countless hours and extensive reps. They are mentally tough in game situations and put on a great show all weekend. They were so fun to watch. Their love for each other and passion for the game is great to see. I am so happy for these two and can’t wait to see what their future holds in the beach volleyball game.”
Michael Jorgenson works in communications/media relations at Santa Barbara City College.