The Vaquero women’s volleyball team was without a good chunk of its roster once again hosting Pasadena and San Diego Mesa in the SBCC Quad Tournament on Saturday. Another strong day from sophomore opposite Caroline McCarty nearly pushed Pasadena to five sets, but the Vaqueros fell to the Lancers 25-19, 20-25, 25-19, 26-24. Santa Barbara was defeated by San Diego Mesa 25-15, 25-12, 25-21 in its second match.
SBCC vs. Pasadena
McCarty tied a career-high with 14 kills against the Lancers (5-2), followed by freshman outside hitter Heidi Collins’ season-best 13 kills on an efficient .355 hitting percentage.
“I was extremely proud of the leadership and all-around game of Caroline during the match. Heidi seemed to always be able to provide a kill when we needed one. She is such an offensive threat,” head coach Kat Niksto said. “We took a game off them with our shorthanded squad due to COVID protocols and almost pushed the match to the 5th set. We battle hard against another playoff quality team and held our own. There is a lot of good learning and growth happening while we are playing shorthanded.”
Four Vaqueros went for double-digit digs, led by McCarty’s 16, another personal-best for her as she notched the second double-double of her career. Celia Espinoza (11 digs), Gabby Russell (10) and Mikayla Butzke (10) were the others to reach double-figures.
SBCC vs. San Diego Mesa
The Vaqueros got better as the match wore on in their second contest against San Diego Mesa. Competing with just seven players, they scored their most points in the third set, which San Diego Mesa won 25-21 to seal the victory.
“I was so proud of how our team battled in the third set after struggling in the first two sets,” Niksto said. “We were playing with two defensive specialists in the middle block position and still were within a few points of getting a set win.”
Espinoza led the way with 19 digs while providing a huge emotional spark for the Vaqueros. Butzke continued to run the offense with the hitters it still had available, putting them in their best position to be successful as she tallied 14 assists.
Freshman Ava Guenther grinded away at outside hitter, working hard on offense and defense all match long as she finished with five digs, a kill and a team-high three aces.
With key players expected to return to the lineup, Santa Barbara will head back on the road for its lone match of the week to face Canyons at 6:00 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 7.
Michael Jorgenson works in communications/media relations at Santa Barbara City College.