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Beach Volleyball

Vaqueros Honor Sophomores, Split in Final Weekend at East Beach

Olivia Medina and Ashley Rossi (Ken Sciallo/Sevilla Photography)
Olivia Medina and Ashley Rossi (Ken Sciallo/Sevilla Photography)

By Jimmy Friery

SANTA BARBARA, CA – The Santa Barbara City College Beach Volleyball team split at windy Each Beach on Friday, falling against conference-leading Ventura and beating Glendale.

The final home weekend of the season, the program honored its 7 sophomores—Olivia Medina, Ashley Rossi, Alexis Zevenbergen, Celia Espinoza, Jillian Zimmerman, Vanessa Cabeza, and Madelyne Cascione.

"Each of the seven girls have made a dramatic impact on this program," head coach Ariana Garner said. "Their hard work, dedication and commitment to our team and the process this season has been unwavering. It's going to be hard to lose these girls, but the legacy that they're leaving behind is a great one."

No less, it was a huge day for the WSC standings. Both SBCC and Ventura came into their early match with a 7-1 conference record. Thus, the winner would take a 1-match lead with just 1 weekend remaining.

The situation looked great for the Vaqueros to start. 1s team Olivia Medina/Ashley Rossi, 2s Nevaeh Tillet/Alexis Zevenbergen, and 3s Carolina Koceman/Charlotte Wilson all held big early leads in the first set.

Koceman/Wilson used their 6-1 and 10-3 starts to steadily cruise to a 21-7 opening set win. The second set had almost the exact same structure, resulting in a 21-8 win and quick 1-0 Vaqueros lead.

On the 1s court, Medina/Rossi began 7-2 before Ventura crawled their way back into the match at 11-7. The Vaqs' pair pulled away though, getting to 18-10 before a 21-13 final. Their second set was a tad tighter, beginning 11-10 before a 21-15 finish. Now 2 for 2, SBCC put themselves in a good position to win the match.

However, a Ventura comeback was in the works. 4s team Celia Espinoza/Carly Hanna found themselves down 10-15 in the first set, but built some momentum to get back to 13-15. Ventura would win 6 of the next 7, though, taking the set 14-21. In set two, after being down a huge hole 0-7, Espinoza/Hanna worked hard to get back to 6-10 and 9-13. Unfortunately, Ventura rattled off 4 straight from there on the way to close it out 13-21.

Tillet/Zevenbergen crushed it in their first set, holding a massive 17-4 lead before a 21-9 victory. The second set was flipped completely, with the pair being down 6-17 and losing 9-21. Setting up a decisive third set, Ventura had momentum.

With the Vaqs duo down 8-13, Ventura needed to win just 2 of the next 7 points for a win. It was not that easy, as Tillet/Zevenbergen went on a 4-0 run, getting to 12-13. After losing the next point, a Zevenbergen kill meant they were 1 point away from completing the last-ditch comeback. But, a Ventura kill finished it off at 13-15.

The overall match now tied at 2-2, attention shifted to court 5. Jillian Zimmerman/Vanessa Cabeza were deep in their third set after losing a 19-21 first and winning a 21-17 second. Down 1-7, a Cabeza kill brought them back to 7-9. Ventura won the next 6 points, however, to win the 5s matchup, and the team matchup in the process.

The second match of the day against Glendale was an automatic win, since Glendale only had 2 teams competing. Medina/Rossi won handedly 21-8, 21-9, as did Tillet/Zevenbergen 21-10, 21-8.

The Vaqueros (8-2, T-2nd) will look to take care of business in their last 2 matches of the regular season, coming against Moorpark and Cuesta at Ventura Harbor next Friday. Last weekend, SBCC edged out a 3-2 win over Moorpark, and beat Cuesta 5-0 earlier in the season.

"We have a big week next week where we hope to finish out the season strong and look towards the postseason," Garner concluded, "and we have to refine our wind skills."

Ventura will play 8-2 Santa Monica at home on Friday, who they previously beat 4-1. A Santa Monica win would result in a three-team tie at the top of the WSC standings, assuming each of the three teams win their other matches.

Match 1 vs. Ventura (3-2 L):

1s: Olivia Medina/Ashley Rossi (SBCC) def. Ventura 21-13, 21-15
2s: Ventura def. Nevaeh Tillet/Alexis Zevenbergen (SBCC) 9-21, 21-9, 15-13
3s: Carolina Koceman/Charlotte Wilson (SBCC) def. Ventura 21-7, 21-8
4s: Ventura def. Celia Espinoza/Carly Hanna (SBCC) 21-14, 21-13
5s: Ventura def. Jillian Zimmerman/Vanessa Cabeza (SBCC) 21-19, 17-21. 15-7

Order of finish: 3, 1, 4, 2, 5

Match 2 vs. Glendale (5-0 W):

1s: Olivia Medina/Ashley Rossi (SBCC) def. Glendale 21-8, 21-8
2s: Nevaeh Tillet/Alexis Zevenbergen (SBCC) def. Glendale 21-10, 21-8
3s: SBCC wins by default
4s: SBCC wins by default
5s: SBCC wins by default