The SBCC beach volleyball team began its 2023 season on Friday, hosting a doubleheader with Fresno City at West Beach and winning both matches 5-0.
“It was a great day of competition,” reigning WSC Coach of the Year Ariana Garner said. “With a number of returners and new players out on the beach, it was great to see our whole team come together and play good beach volleyball across the board and compete with a solid Fresno squad.”
The first match brought veterans Jaceline McKie and Emma Crabbe together in the 1s spot for a dominant 21-1, 21-14 win followed by another two-setter, 21-17, 21-19.
“Individually, they are great beach players who are more defensive-minded so it was fun to watch,” said Garner. “Their incredible ball control allowed them to determine the pace of the match and opened up their offense to place the ball in great spots. They set each other off the net well so that they could see the court, which is great high level beach volleyball. We are happy to have them back for one last season with us and are excited to see them continue to grow as players this season.”
In the 2s spot, Olivia Medina made her collegiate debut alongside returner Corinne Tommeraason, winning match one 21-11, 21-12 and match two 21-13, 21-14.
“The two played great beach volleyball. Their ball control allowed them to open their offense and control the pace of the game,” Garner said. “As two smaller players, they read well on defense and did not let many balls drop. They served tough and were really smart offensively with their shots.”
Irey Sandholt and Paige Rudi competed together for the first time in the 3s spot and did well, taking victories of 21-10, 21-12 and 21-12, 21-15.
“Paige was a big presence at the net, and Irey behind her touching anything and everything was great to see. The two complement each other nicely and took some big swings today which we love to see,” said Garner.
In the 4s, Jordyn Anderson and Piper Ellbogn-Pettersen won two tough three-set matches, 21-14, 19-21, 15-11 and later 21-17, 20-22, 15-9. They locked in when it mattered and leaned on scrappy defense and strong communication.
Rounding out SBCC’s lineup, Gabby Russell and Sophie Ward made their collegiate beach debuts together, playing solid for the Vaqueros in the 5s spot, winning 21-9, 21-10 and 21-19, 21-16.
“They have incredible energy together with Sophie leading with her voice and Gabby with her ball control. The pair served tough and gave themselves a lot of great opportunities offensively with their ability to set each other well in and not in system. We are excited to watch these two grow as players,” Garner said.
Michael Jorgenson works in communications/media relations at Santa Barbara City College.