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Santa Monica outlasts Vaqueros, 3-2

Freshman Owen Yoshimoto had a season-high 16 kills and 14 digs.
Freshman Owen Yoshimoto had a season-high 16 kills and 14 digs.

After losing the first two sets, SBCC stormed back to win the next two on Friday in the Sports Pavilion but couldn't overcome a slow start in the fifth set and Santa Monica took advantage to post a 3-2 men's volleyball victory. The scores were 28-26, 25-23, 14-25, 22-25, 15-11.

The Vaqueros (6-8, 1-6 WSC) fell behind 8-1 in the fifth set and clawed back to within two at 13-11 before Thomas Stoeckinger pounded a kill in the middle and Keats Stanley ended it with a kill inside the back line.

Stanley had a match-high 24 kills and Taylor Tattersall added 15 for the Corsairs (8-5, 4-3).

Owen Yoshimoto led the Vaqueros with a season-high 16 kills and 14 digs. Nick May had 13 kills, nine digs, four blocks and three aces while Evan Yoshimoto had 10 kills. To'o To'o produced eight blocks.

The Vaqueros rallied from a 17-13 deficit in Set 1 and took a 23-21 lead after Davis Grininger pounded a backset to cap a 10-4 run. SBCC had set points at 24-23 and 25-24 but couldn't convert. Santa Monica ended with a 7-3 run and Zane McFarlane served an ace to secure the 28-26 win.

"We had opportunities and didn't capitalize," said coach Matt Jones. "It wasn't at the game-point segments but earlier in the set, we really tried to work on our blocking. We blocked pretty well tonight. In the first set, we had three or four balls go right through our hands, not through a seam in the block.

"That's just a fundamental breakdown. If we get one or two of those points, then we don't have to be at game point, leading by just one. In the second set, we had a four-point lead (17-13), then we started having passing breakdowns and hitting errors."

Carl Mendoza had 16 digs for SBCC and Drew Hogan dished out 38 assists and made nine digs. Mendoza, a freshman from Santa Barbara High, leads the state in digs with 200 (3.77 per set).

Set 3 was a different story as the Vaqueros jumped out to leads of 7-3, 12-6 and 20-8. Leading 14-8, the Vaqueros went on a 6-0 scoring run with May serving all the points. The burst was capped by an ace from May and a slammed overpass by Owen Yoshimoto.

SBCC hit a robust .667 with no errors in the third set. The Vaqueros hit .200 for the match and had twice as many service errors (10) as aces (5).

The Vaqueros overcame an early 6-2 deficit in Set 4 and took a 19-16 lead when Evan Yoshimoto hit through the block. The set ended in SBCC's favor, 25-22, on a long serve by the Corsairs.

"We pulled through in the fourth set, which was nice to see," said Jones. "Then they dominated us in the serve and pass game in the fifth. We called timeout trailing 3-0 and another one at 7-1. It's tough to dig out of a 7-1 hole."

The Vaqueros open a four-game road trip on Wednesday at L.A. Pierce.