Vaqueros overcome slow start to defeat L.A. Pierce in five sets


Amanda Stubbing

Outside hitter Taylor McCluskey (No. 4) returns the ball over to the other side and scores a point during their match against L.A pierce, Wednesday, March 25, in the Sports Pavilion at City College. The Vaqueros won after a closely tied game with a 3-5 victory.

LANDON HUNT, Channels Staff

City College volleyball pulled out an ugly victory against L.A. Pierce in five sets on Wednesday night at the Santa Barbara Sports Pavilion.

City College won the match with set scores of 24-26, 25-27, 25-22, 25-20 and 15-10.

“I guess you could call it a gritty win considering how bad we were playing,” said head coach Matt Jones.

No City College player had more than nine kills in this poor offensive night but the defense kept the Vaqueros afloat. The defense was led by freshman setter Kyle Smiley (No. 3) who had 18 digs and freshman libero Casey Alper (No. 10) who had 17 digs.

The last time these teams played, the Vaqueros were able to win in four sets. It was apparent after Wednesday’s game that they were not happy that it took them five sets to win.

“It definitely should not have gone five,” said Smiley, “I think we just weren’t together as a team.”

The first set was a back and forth affair as neither team was able to gain more than a two point lead. L.A. Pierce committed nine service errors in the first set but City College was still not able to capitalize. City College was able to gain a 22-20 lead, but LA Pierce came back and won the set.

L.A. Pierce seemed to be in control throughout the second set and held a 22-19 lead. City College came back to make it 23-22, their first lead since the score was 1-0. The Vaqueros didn’t take their foot off the gas, ending the set with six straight points to win 25-22.

City College was able to take that momentum into the next set and got off to a 10-3 run. L.A. Pierce was able to cut into that lead but never enough to get a lead of their own in the entire set.

In the early part of the fourth set, City College seemed to be in complete control. But with the score 19-15 L.A. Pierce rallied off seven straight points to gain a lead that wouldn’t be lost the rest of the set.

“We struggled but we got our stuff together and finished the way we should’ve,” Smiley said.

In the fifth and final set L.A. Pierce jumped out to an early lead but Smiley had two straight ace serves to give City College a lead that they would hold the rest of the match.

“Smiley gave us a spark when he subbed in for his rotation with those couple aces,” Jones said.

In that last set sophomore middle blocker and team captain To’o To’o (No. 13) stepped up with four kills to help City College finish off L.A. Pierce.

“Junior stepped up big,” Jones said about To’o To’o. “He seems to step up big in moments like that.”

The win improves City College’s record to 10-5 overall and 5-3 in conference play.

“In order to go to playoffs there’s a couple teams we just have to beat,” said Smiley. “Pierce is definitely one of those teams.”

Tonight’s win for City College came despite not having one of its usual starters who cannot play due to being on academic probation.

City College plays its next match at 6 p.m. Wednesday, April 1, at L.A. Trade Tech.