WVB: Vaqueros upset No. 1 L.A. Pierce

SBCC did what no other team has done on the volleyball court this season – beat No. 1-ranked L.A. Pierce.

The fourth-ranked Vaqueros bounced back from an opening-set loss on Wednesday night to hand the Brahmas their first setback of the season, 3-1. The scores were 18-25, 25-21, 26-24, 25-16.

The Vaqueros improved to 14-2 and 2-0 in the WSC with their fifth straight win and 11th in 12 matches. They also upset No. 3 Canyons 3-1 a week ago Wednesday, giving them wins over the No. 3 and No. 1-ranked teams in the span of eight days. Pierce fell to 16-1 and 1-1.

Sophomore Katelynn Womack had a double-double with 11 kills and 13 digs. Freshman Shannon Friend also had 11 kills and Kaitlyn Clemann added nine.

“It feels great because they always have binders with all these notes scouting us at the tournaments,” said Friend. “I think they thought they’d come in here expecting to win. We just took them down. We wanted payback and we got that tonight.”

The Brahmas topped the Vaqueros 3-2 on Aug. 29 in the championship of the Pierce Kickoff Classic in Woodland Hills.

Santa Barbara rallied from a 20-17 deficit in the second set, finishing on an 8-1 run to secure the 25-21 triumph. Hannah Cantrell and Friend blocked a spike for the 24th point and Friend drilled a kill off the block to end the set.

The Vaqueros built leads of 19-13 in the third set and 20-12 in the fourth. Pierce stormed back to take a 23-21 lead in the third set before Isabella Thompson notched a kill and a block to tie it at 23. Thompson, a freshman from Stockton, started at middle blocker in place of the injured Paige Sabin.

“This is so awesome, we worked really hard for this,” said Womack, a 5-9 outside hitter from Rio Mesa High. “We got down on ourselves the first game and then took that as inspiration to work harder in the last three.”

Pierce had set point in set No. 3 with a 24-23 advantage but served in the net. The Vaqueros secured the victory and a 2-1 lead on two straight kills by Friend.

In the fourth set, SBCC jumped ahead 8-2, 13-6 and 20-12. Friend capped the dramatic win with back-to-back kills.

Raleigh McKinney led in digs with 18 and Tristen Thompson had 17. Cantrell had six blocks (3 solo), Womack had four and Isabella Thompson three solo blocks on a night the Vaqueros recorded a season-high 14 blocks.

“I’m really proud of our girls and how they stuck with the game plan,” said coach Ed Gover, who’s in his 25th season. “They put a lot of pressure on us in Game 1 and we had to get used to the tempo. We haven’t played that tempo for a long time.

“Our experience playing Golden West and Canyons really helped us tonight.”

Gover didn’t know the last time SBCC had beaten a top-ranked team but he says he doesn’t think about things like that. “We just need to keep improving every day and tonight was a good example of how our kids stayed with the plan.”

Settter Shiloe Parsons had 22 assists and Hillary Bean added nine. The middles – Cantrell and Isabella Thompson – both hit .500 with Cantrell getting four kills and Thompson three.

“I think Shiloe keeps getting overlooked,” said Gover. “She sets the tone and she made some beautiful sets. It really made a difference when she set the middles in transition. She set Hannah on one, Bella on one and Hannah on another one. Those are really key plays when they think they’re going to get their rhythm back and we seize it from them.”

SBCC will host Hancock on Friday at 6 p.m.

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