No. 9 SBCC men’s volleyball drops in straight sets to No. 4 El Camino

Jack McManus spikes to score against El Camino during their game on March 16 at the Sports Pavilion in Santa Barbara, Calif. The City College Vaqueros lost to the El Camino Warriors 3-0.

Allison Budde, Staff Writer

The No. 9 City College men’s volleyball team lost 3-0 to No. 4 El Camino College on Wednesday, March 16 at the Sports Pavilion.

The Vaqueros (3-8, 1-5) played El Camino closer each set, adjusting to their strong hitters over the course of the game. This season, the Vaqueros have a starting lineup averaging over 6 feet tall and half of the roster is made up of returning players.

City College lost the first set 25-15, dropping five points due to their own mistakes; hitting the ball into the net, hitting the ball out of bounds or players touching the net. The Vaqueros’ back row was strong in receiving service and gave the setter high passes to set up the offense, never allowing the Warriors to serve for more than four points in a row.

“Serve-receive and side-outs have been one of our focuses for the season,” head coach Jordon Dyer said. “It’s something we’ve been spending a lot of time on during practice. If you want to be a good team you have to be able to side out ASAP.”

The power from El Camino’s hitters put pressure on City College transitioning from defense to offense. Vaqueros setter Carter Cottrell showed his athleticism on the court by adjusting accordingly in order to set his teammates up.

“Communicating with the hitters really helps us because it gives us an idea of what we’re going to run that play,” he said. “We look at the other side of the court and see what blockers are going up with the hitter.”

During the second set City College raised their intensity and drew even with the Warriors at 17-17. Players were diving left and right to keep the ball from touching the ground, but ultimately dropped 25-22.

Friends and family in the stands brought lots of noise and support for the Vaqueros. This was the second game of the season where City College has allowed fans to attend with proof of either a negative COVID test or vaccination.

“It’s a huge game changer. You get to use the crowd as motivation and use their energy,”  third-year City College player Kevin Vonyokes said.

The Vaqueros were able to harness that energy in the third set and the team took their first lead of the evening at 17-16. After a close last couple of points, El Camino took the win 25-23.

City College is looking forward to having family and friends watch in person, and build off their energy for the rest of the season.

“It’s been a few years since they’ve been able to have a crowd so it’s big for the team. We hope to have more fans moving forward,” Dyer said.

The Vaqueros will face Moorpark next on Wednesday, March 23 at 6 p.m. in the Sports Pavilion.