Slow start sinks No. 8 City College, No. 17 Moorpark snaps win streak

Head+coach+Kat+Niksto+addresses+the+No.+8+City+College+womens+volleyball+team+during+a+timeout+in+the+fourth+set+on+Wednesday%2C+Oct.+13+at+City+Colleges+Sports+Pavilion+in+Santa+Barbara%2C+Calif.+The+Vaqueros+lost+to+No.+17+Moorpark+College+3-1.

Eric Evelhoch

Head coach Kat Niksto addresses the No. 8 City College women’s volleyball team during a timeout in the fourth set on Wednesday, Oct. 13 at City College’s Sports Pavilion in Santa Barbara, Calif. The Vaqueros lost to No. 17 Moorpark College 3-1.

Eric Evelhoch, Sports Editor

During their nine-game winning streak, the No. 8 City College Women’s volleyball team has frequently ridden the waves of momentum on the way to victory.

Momentum, however, can be a fickle friend.

The Vaqueros (14-3, 2-1) were unable to turn the tides after dropping the opening set to No. 17 Moorpark College (10-4, 2-2), falling in four sets 25-23, 25-14, 8-25, 25-21 on Wednesday night at the Sports Pavilion.

“We just need to play better. We played hard, but against stronger teams, you’re going to have to make adjustments mid-game,” head coach Kat Niksto said.

The loss ends the longest unbeaten run in the three years that Niksto has coached at City College. It was the Vaqueros’ best stretch since a 13-game win streak in 2017.

“Although this loss sucks, we’re going to come back stronger,” freshman team captain Emma Crabbe said.

“We’re going to use that as motivation, and I’m confident that at practice we’re going to be back in the gym and ready to work hard.”

In a back-and-forth opening set that saw the score tied 11 times, City College led for 29 of the first 43 rallies. The largest Vaquero lead came at 13-9 on a block by freshmen Karoline Ruiz and Bella Johnson, forcing the visiting Raiders to call a timeout.

However, Moorpark was able to snatch the momentum late with the score tied at 22-22 by blocking City College on back-to-back plays and ultimately taking the first set.

“We’ve had yet to run into a team that can successfully block [our] hitters, so making adjustments on the fly we weren’t able to execute on our end,” Niksto said.

It carried over to the second set, as Moorpark had three three-point runs in the first 11 rallies to jump out to an early 9-2 lead. City College did not record a point while serving until the 29th rally of the set, trailing 19-9.

The Vaqueros 17-point win margin in the third set was their largest since 2018, as freshman middle block Paige Rudi followed up her Southern California Player of the Week accolade with a 14-point streak while serving. Freshman Lola Bunn also notched four kills in the set as she made her sixth appearance of the season.

“[Bunn] is naturally a middle that we’ve been converting to the right side,” Niksto said. “I think she’s only going to continue to get better which will give us even more depth in our attacking positions.”

City College fell behind early in the fourth set and couldn’t recover, as Moorpark took the third point and led the rest of the way.

“I know and the coaches know that we can do whatever we need to, and finding a way to tap into that during practice will be really beneficial,” Crabbe said.

City College hosts LA Pierce College at the Sports Pavilion on Friday at 6 p.m.