MVB: Vaqueros win final home match

SBCC survived three set points in set No. 3 on Wednesday night and Taylor McCluskey completed a 3-0 men’s volleyball sweep with a kill on the fourth match point for the Vaqueros. The scores were 25-23, 25-21, 31-29. The third-set win was the highest score of the year for Santa Barbara.

The Vaqueros improved to 12-6 overall and 7-4 in the WSC on Sophomore Night. Santa Barbara is battling for the third and final playoff spot and they can secure it with a win at Long Beach on Friday in the regular-season finale.

It was the final home match for captains To’o To’o and Casey Alper as well as Jaiden Pina and Kiel DeTurk.

“Both teams had similar nights, digging the ball well and getting the ball back over,” noted coach Matt Jones. “It was like, ‘Which hitter is going to make a mistake first?’

“I thought we did a good job of coming up big when it mattered and To’o was really clutch, as always. There was a lot of sloppy blocking on our part. We’re going to have to tighten it up for Long Beach.”

The Vaqueros overcame a 22-18 deficit in the third set. Sean Reynaert drilled a kill off the block to make it 30-29 and Alper served for the match. Alper set up McCluskey’s match-winning kill with a long back-set from the right side.

Reynaert had 11 kills, McCluskey had 10 kills and 14 digs and Robert Gulvin pounded nine kills in the middle. Alper had 10 digs and Pina produced six kills and 10 digs. To’o had six kills, three blocks and led the team in hitting percentage at .455.

Keaton Arutian had 30 assists while Kyle Smiley collected 11 assists in the first two sets and three aces in the match.

Alper entered the match as the State leader in digs (215) and he’s No. 6 in digs per set (3.26).

Santa Barbara had leads throughout the first two sets with the biggest coming at 14-8 in set No. 2.. Smiley capped the first set with an ace and McCluskey ended the second with a crosscourt blast.

“It was going good in the first two games and then we went down to start the third (the Vaqueros trailed 13-8, and 21-16 before rallying),” said Pina, a former Righetti High standout. “We knew we were going to have to claw our way back.

“We took a few timeouts and said, ‘Let’s finish this in 3 and give our fans what they want.’ “