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Vaqueros upset Long Beach in 5-game thriller

Vaqueros upset Long Beach in 5-game thriller

SBCC saved the best for last as it upset Long Beach 3-2 on Sophomore Night in a thrilling men's volleyball finale at the Sports Pavilion.

Nick May had a season-high 19 kills and 10 digs and Evan Yoshimoto added 18 kills in Friday's 21-25, 25-21, 25-22, 21-25, 20-18 victory. The Vaqueros finished the year 9-10 overall and 4-8 in conference.

Long Beach (15-4, 9-3) took second in the WSC behind El Camino (11-1).

The Vaqueros fought off four match points in the fifth set and finally won it on their second match point. Shane Dyer gave the home team a 19-18 lead with an amazing kill from 12 feet off the net.

Davis Grininger and Dyer combined on the match-winning block on the left side. Grininger had a career-high 11 blocks and setter Corey McDown added 10 on a night when the Vaqueros recorded a season-best 21.5 blocks.

"We played for each other and we had more of a calm mind-set going in," said Grininger, a 6-3 middle blocker who was one of seven sophomores honored before the match. "I wasn't expecting to have a chance to block on that last point, I thought they'd hit around us or tip it. At the end of the game, you have to be aggressive and that's what he did. But we did our job better.

"Our energy was incredible. I can't believe we didn't do this the whole season. It was an excellent way to end the year."

Dyer finished with eight kills and a .333 hitting percentage for the Vaqueros, who hit .345 or better in the three sets they won. McDown had a triple-double with a season-high 44 assissts, 15 digs and 10 blocks. To'o To'o added six blocks.

Carl Mendoza, a freshman from Santa Barbara High, had 20 digs. He finished the regular season as the state leader with 266 digs (3.64 per game).

"That was our best league win, beating the second-best team in the conference," said coach Matt Jones. "It was a great battle. We talked about learning how to win and we figured it out tonight."

The Vaqueros had four ace serves but also made 18 serving errors.

The Vikings used a 6-3 run to take an 11-9 lead in the fifth set. SBCC rallied back to take a 12-11 lead on a kill by Dyer. Long Beach had match point at 14-13 but Davis foiled it with a powerful kill and also squelched the second match point with a tip for a kill.

The Vaqueros took an 18-17 lead when an errant Viking pass hit the antenna. After a service error, SBCC secured the emotional win on Dyer's kill from midcourt and the combined block by Davis and Dyer.

"Everyone was super supportive," said Yoshimoto. "We communicated well and everyone had their head in the right mind-set. We really played as a team.

 "Losing the fourth set really made us want to win the fifth. We couldn't end the season that way. That was the most insane fifth game I've ever played."