WVB: Vaqueros wrap up 4th straight WSC title

No. 2-ranked SBCC overcame a 24-22 deficit in the third set on Wednesday night to sweep L.A. Mission and secure its fourth straight WSC North women’s volleyball title on Sophomore Night at the Sports Pavilion.

The Vaqueros finished on a 4-0 run to complete a 25-18, 25-22, 26-24 WSC North victory.

Santa Barbara won its fourth straight match and 14th in 15 tries to finish the regular season 23-3. The Vaqueros went 11-1 in conference and tied No. 1 L.A. Pierce for the title.

The Vaqueros posted an 11-1 conference record for the third straight year. They’re 71-7 in WSC play over the last seven years.

“Lisa Gera (assistant coach) drew up two great game plans about how to play phases of the game where we put scenarios on the board where we are down and we have to come back,” said coach Ed Gover. “Like I said at the timeout, ‘This is a phase that you guys have to learn how to win.’ And they did and it was really nice to see us get those points and that ace at the end.

“They really understand how important that part of practice is.”

Trailing 24-22 in the third set, Gover called a timeout. Taryn Nelson served wide right for Mission and Kaitlyn Clemann followed with a pair of kills to give the Vaqueros match point. Setter Shiloe Parsons served an ace to the back right corner and the celebration was on.

Shannon Friend led the Vaqueros with 10 kills, Clemann had nine and Paige Sabin added six with a .500 hitting percentage. Katelynn Womack, one of five sophomores playing their final regular-season home match, had five kills and 10 digs while Hannah Cantrell contributed four kills and five blocks.

Tristen Thompson had 20 digs and Raleigh McKinney made 10. Thompson is No. 5 in the state with 487 digs. Parsons handed out 32 assists and delivered four aces.

“I thought Shiloe set a good game and KC (Clemann) played great,” said Gover. “Tristen Thompson controlled the court like no other. Her sophomore leadership was really evident.”

Thompson served 10 straight points in the opening set, turning a 6-5 deficit into a 15-6 lead. Clemann had three kills and a block in that run. There were 10 ties in the second set with the last coming at 20-all. Parsons served two straight aces and Cantrell slammed an overpass for a 23-20 advantage. Cantrell capped the 25-22 win with a kill in the middle.

“We’ve been practicing these things called ‘Phases’ with the B side and A side each having 20 points and having to rally from that,” said Womack, who ranks 11th in the state with 305 kills. “Practice has been really efficient in the last week and that contributed to the last few points in this match.

“It’s so great to win the conference again, it’s a great honor.”

“It feels wonderful, this group of girls really deserves it,” said Gover. “They’ve come back from some adverse situations, when they were down big in some games. Their character always brought us back and I’m proud of how they did that.”

The Vaqueros will be home for their first Southern Cal Regional playoff match on Tuesday at 6 p.m.

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