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Women's Volleyball

Shorthanded Vaqueros Battle Irvine Valley Hard in Wednesday Night Defeat

Shorthanded Vaqueros Battle Irvine Valley Hard in Wednesday Night Defeat

SANTA BARBARA, CA – The SBCC women's volleyball team was severely underrepresented as a result of COVID-19 protocols in Wednesday night's home match with Irvine Valley, but put up quite an impressive fight despite falling in three sets, 25-22, 25-21, 27-25, they put up quite a fight.

"Playing shorthanded tonight, our team of an "elite 8" played their hearts out in a battle with IVC!" head coach Kat Niksto said. "I was beyond proud of the team effort with girls playing out of position, just trusting in their teammates and playing all out."

Opposite Caroline McCarty was the only sophomore on the court for the Vaqueros (2-2), as she led the team in kills (9) for the fourth straight time to begin the year.

The freshmen stepped up in a big way while receiving their most playing of the young season. Outside hitters Heidi Collins and Ava Guenther finished with eight kills apiece. Setter Mikayla Butzke went for 29 assists. Defensive specialist Gabby Russell had 10 digs with two kills while Celia Espinoza stepped into the libero role and tallied nine digs.

"Caroline McCarty was a steady balanced presence. Mikayla Butzke also brought her wealth of experience to the court, setting a balanced offense," Niksto said. "Celia Espinoza provided the team with much needed energy and encouragement. Gabby Russell moved from the DS to hitter position and played a phenomenal all-around game. There were so many good takeaways from this match, it was a bummer to lose, because the girls played hard enough that they deserved a win."

The Vaqueros have had their Friday Tri-Tournament canceled, but are still scheduled to face Pasadena (11 a.m.) and San Diego Mesa (2 p.m.) this Saturday, Sept. 3 in the SBCC Quad Tournament.