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The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

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The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

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Women’s volleyball advance to second round of SoCal Regionals

The Vaqueros women’s volleyball team celebrates their win against Saddleback on Nov. 19 in the Sports Pavillion at City College in Santa Barbara, Calif. Vaqueros won the match 3-1.

City College women’s volleyball team had their first SoCal Regional game at 6 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 19 against Saddleback College. The game was held in the Sports Pavillion and the bleachers were packed with fans, friends, and family in support of the Vaqueros. 

The match started with a lot of energy from both teams, as each were looking to advance to the next round of playoffs.

Saddleback started to pick up momentum in the first set, dominating with a seven-point lead. City College battled back with great defensive and offensive plays while encouraging one another. 

“The girls play their best when they’re happy and enjoying the game and playing for each other,” head coach Kat Niksto said. “I don’t think yelling at them or getting down on them helps them at all.” 

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Saddleback won the first set 17-25. Although the Vaqueros could not bring out a win, coach Niksto made sure to keep a positive attitude and a smile on her face. She knows the girls are mature and experienced athletes who do not need to be brought down but coached up. 

“I coach what I want to see out of them while lifting them up at the same time because that’s how they play their best.”

During the second set, City College had a few changes to their starting lineup in hopes of finding their groove on the court. Saddleback did not let up their drive coming off their win from the first set. The Vaqueros battled back and came out with a win 25-17, giving them the reassurance they needed in winning this game. 

Middle blocker Karoline Ruiz made her presence felt on the court this set. She was aggressive on the net and her blocking made it hard for Saddleback’s offense to score. 

“We are really nitty gritty in practices with blocking,” Ruiz said. “We do a lot of specific work in order to pursue it in games.”

Ruiz had a total of 10 kills and three clean blocks. 

Going into the third set, energy was high from everyone in the gym. City College was hungry for another win and kept the same force throughout the third set as they did in the second. The Vaqueros came out with another win 25-18, giving them even more confidence and momentum. 

Sophomore Caroline McCarty played an aggressive match and helped guide City College toward reaching their goal of winning. She had 12 kills and 13 digs.  

During the fourth set, tensions were high as the game was nearing an end. Both teams came out with a lot of intensity and evenly matched-gameplay. City College had a steady lead for most of the fourth set with solid serving, passing, and hitting. 

The Vaquero’s won the fourth set 25-20 and the match 3-1. 

“I’m looking forward to coming together as a team and working towards a common goal of making it to state,” Ruiz said.

According to coach Niksto, the team is just starting to have their best practices and play their best volleyball, and it could not be at a better time than now. 

With a bit of a rough start to their season dealing with injuries and illness, the Vaqueros seem to have a good flow going and they are just getting started.

“I think this was a good start for us to get our ball rolling in the postseason,” setter Emma Crabbe said. “I think we had a little bit of a rocky start to our season this year so I’m hoping we can take this momentum to go all the way.”

City College will advance to the second round of SoCal Regionals and will play against San Diego Mesa at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 22, in San Diego, California.

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