No. 12 SBCC sweeps Santa Monica in preparation for SoCal Regional

Paige Rudi spikes the ball to return it to the Santa Monica side during their game on Nov. 16 at City College in Santa Monica, Calif. City College swept Santa Monica during all three matches.

August Lawrence

Paige Rudi spikes the ball to return it to the Santa Monica side during their game on Nov. 16 at City College in Santa Monica, Calif. City College swept Santa Monica during all three matches.

Eric Evelhoch, Sports Editor

Before the season, the No. 12 City College women’s volleyball team set out a pair of goals; win the Western State Conference-North and go on a run in the playoffs.

Mission accomplished on the first, stay tuned for the second.

The Vaqueros (22-4, 8-2) completed the 2021 regular season with a 3-0 sweep of Santa Monica College in a WSC crossover game on Tuesday night at the Sports Pavilion. City College is back in the playoffs for the first time since 2017 and claimed the 19th conference title in program history.

“To be able to do that is a real accomplishment and feels really good,” team captain Emma Crabbe said.

“We wouldn’t have been able to do it without every single player on our team, so we’re all thrilled and excited for what comes next.”

City College dispatched the Corsairs 25-9, 26-24, 25-18 behind a complete effort.

Setter Crabbe dealt 31 assists as outside hitters Bella Johnson and Piper Ellbogen-Pettersen buried 9 and 7 kills. Middle blocks Paige Rudi and Karoline Ruiz combined for 7 blocks and libero Jacelin McKie led the team with 18 digs.

“Anyone can be hot any night,” head coach Kat Niksto said. “It makes us really difficult to defend against because we can attack from any of the three front-row hitting locations.”

The Vaqueros held an opponent to single-digits in a “25 to win” set for the fifth time this season in the first set.

City College's women's volleyball team all rush to save the ball during their game against Santa Monica College on Nov. 16 at City College in Santa Barbara, Calif. Santa Barbara swept Santa Monica 3 games to 1. (<a href="https://www.thechannels.org/staff_profile/august-lawrence-staff-writer/">August Lawrence</a>)
City College’s women’s volleyball team all rush to save the ball during their game against Santa Monica College on Nov. 16 at City College in Santa Barbara, Calif. Santa Barbara swept Santa Monica over all three matches. (August Lawrence)

Then, a 10-point service streak by defensive specialist Jordyn Anderson helped erase an 8-19 deficit as City College rallied to win the second. The Vaqueros never trailed in the third set to win their fourth straight game to close out the regular season.

“I want them always believing that we can win any set at any time, no matter how much we’re up or down, because as long as we play hard good things tend to happen,” Niksto said.

The role of the bench players has increased over the course of the season.

Megan Harrington, Sophie Ward, Lola Bunn and Caroline McCarty all came off the bench to make an impact.

“We have a lot of depth on the team which offers a lot of opportunities for people to play…it’s a good chemistry for everyone,” said Lauren Holsted, the team’s lone returning sophomore.

The Vaqueros finished ranked No. 6 in Southern California by the California Community College Women’s Volleyball Coaches Association, and will learn their seeding for the 18-team Southern California Regional later in the week.

“We had a great season, It got us wherever it’s going to get us in seeding, but as of tomorrow we’re zero-zero and everyone’s back on a level playing field,” Niksto said.

The playoffs begin Saturday with the regional play-in games for seeds 15-18. The first round will be held on campus sites on Tuesday, Nov. 23.

“We’re all really stoked. We’re ready to work, we’re ready for what’s coming and we’re ready to go down swinging,” Crabbe said.