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Vaqueros battle hard in season-opening setbacks

Vaqueros battle hard in season-opening setbacks

SBCC had just seven players available for Saturday's season-opening Bakersfield Quad women's volleyball tournament and the Vaqueros put up a good fight in a pair of losses. Fullerton swept the Vaqueros 25-21, 25-13, 25-16 in the morning and Mt. San Antonio posted a 3-1 win (25-17, 25-22, 17-25, 25-18) in the afternoon.

All seven players were playing their first collegiate indoor matches and it was the debut of coach Kat Niksto.

"In our first match against Fullerton, we started six freshman and a redshirt returner, so it was all of their first college matches," said Niksto. "You could see a little bit of nerves but overall we played well and were competitive enough to steal the first set, we just came up a few points short. Playing down several players, I thought the team did a nice job of adapting to the situation, especially Makenzie Phelps who stepped into the middle from the outside and had some phenomenal kills. In the end we couldn't pass consistently enough to hang with Fullerton."

Lauren Holsted had five kills and 12 digs in the Fullerton match. Setter Maranda Newson added nine digs and nine assists.

Holsted dug 16 balls with four kills and five aces against Mt. SAC. Gabi Brewer had seven kills, three aces and 13 digs and Lauren Wold had a double-double with 15 assists and 13 digs. Newson had four kills in seven swings and 10 assists before suffering an injury in the fourth set.

"Maranda played great at setter," Niksto stated. "She was a huge force blocking at the net and did a great job distributing the ball to her hitters.

"In the match against Mt SAC, we dropped the first two sets, before coming alive and putting it all together in the third set. After a decisive 25-17 win, we had all the momentum on our side. Two points into the fourth set, we lost our setter to an injury. Short-handed, our libero Madie Meyer stepped into a hitter role and got the next kill. I was so proud of how the team played together during adversity and while we didn't walk away with the win, we gained experiences that will only serve to make us better in the long run.

"I told the girls my goal at the start of the day was to simply get better today and we definitely did that."

The Vaqueros will host Bakersfield in their home opener on Friday at 6 p.m.