Another excellent season of SBCC women’s volleyball team saw the Vaqueros battle through a ton of adversity, concluding last month with a 16-11 record and a trip to the SoCal Regional Finals.
As a result, four Vaqueros earned All-Western State Conference accolades, led by opposite Caroline McCarty’s First Team selection. Libero Jacelin McKie was named to the All-WSC Second Team, while setters Emma Crabbe and Mikayla Butzke earned Honorable Mentions.
So. OPP Caroline McCarty – All-WSC First Team
It was clear very early on in the season that Caroline McCarty was going to be an absolute force for opposing teams to handle both offensively and defensively. McCarty opened the year with six straight outings as the team’s kills leader. She went on to put up a team-high in 21 out of 27 contests, playing in every single match.
The Bakersfield native put the team on her back all season long, finishing first on the team and third in the conference in kills (288), second in blocks (60) and fourth in digs (149). Her .233 hitting percentage was also fifth-best in the WSC-North. On three occasions, she hit .600 or better, including a career-best .611 in a sweep at LA Pierce on Oct. 14. She followed that up with another .600 hitting performance and a career-best 4.3 kills per set to lead SBCC to a second straight sweep over Cuesta a week later.
She saved her best for last with a huge 19-kill effort in the Vaqueros’ final match of the season against Orange Coast, nearly leading her team to a win in a slim five-set loss in the SoCal Final.
Additionally, McCarty also took home the Vaquero Award for her huge contributions as the team’s MVP and was named the State Player of the Week following the eighth week of competition.
So. L Jacelin McKie – All-WSC Second Team
After being named the 2021 WSC Libero of the Year, Jacelin McKie picked up where she left off with another big defensive season. McKie (3.98 D/S) finished just shy of averaging 4.00 digs per set a second straight time, leading SBCC with 322 digs and 3.98 per set, both good for fifth in the conference.
Over a six-match span from Sept. 24 to Oct. 12, she posted 20 or more digs three times. Her 24 scoops in a four-set win over Ventura on Sept. 30 would go on to be a season-best.
Always providing leadership and a calm, steady court presence, McKie was also exceptional in the passing game, consistently showing an ability to pass the entire court and refusing to let anything hit the ground when she was in the middle of the formation. Her 34 aces were the second-most on the team.
So. S Emma Crabbe – All-WSC Honorable Mention
Last year’s Vaquero Award winner and team captain for the past three years, setter Emma Crabbe joins both McCarty and McKie as repeat All-WSC honorees. The former Carmel High School standout also repeated as the Vaqueros’ leader in assists (463) and double-doubles (6).
Despite splitting time at setter with freshman Mikayla Butzke, Crabbe’s 6.34 assists per set ranked fourth in the WSC-North. She also finished second on the team in digs (167) and fourth in aces (25).
Crabbe began the year with a 35-assist, 14-dig double-double in a big four-set season-opening win over Grossmont and later posted a season-high 45 in the final match at Orange Coast. She was effective on attacks as well, highlighted by a seven-kill (.583) career-high on just 12 attempts against Saddleback on Nov. 19.
Fr. S Mikayla Butzke – All-WSC Honorable Mention
The only freshman of this bunch, setter Mikayla Butzke burst onto the scene to help guide the Vaqueros through thick-and-thin in 2022. With “hands made of pure butter,” Butzke was top-five in three statistical categories, finishing first on the team in aces (38), second in assists (391) and fifth in digs (119).
Filling into a COVID-depleted lineup in the fourth match of the season, Butzke got her first real chance to make an impact and did not disappoint. She tallied 29 assists (9.67 A/S) and seven kills on a .778 hitting percentage against a good Irvine Valley team.
She also registered four double-doubles and went over 30 digs four times, including a season-best 40 helpers against Pasadena City on Sept. 3. Butzke took over the team-lead in aces with a blistering stretch from Oct. 28 to Nov. 15, when she had two or more aces in six straight matches including a seven-ace outburst against Moorpark (Nov. 4).
Fr. OH Heidi Collins – Coaches Award
Despite being listed as an outside hitter, freshman Heidi Collins stepped up big time all year filling in as a middle blocker due to injuries. Not only did she play well, but she excelled.
Collins finished third on the team in both kills (153) and blocks (29) and was fifth in aces (25). After proving all year what a true team player she is, she was recognized with the Coaches Award by head coach Kat Niksto.
Michael Jorgenson works in communications/media relations at Santa Barbara City College.