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Backup setter leads No. 5 Vaqueros past No. 4 Corsairs, 3-2

Zack Mancha tries a backhand dump shot in his first college match. The freshman from Roseville, Calif., had 41 assists in a 3-2 upset win. (Photo by Ken Sciallo / Sevilla Photography)
Zack Mancha tries a backhand dump shot in his first college match. The freshman from Roseville, Calif., had 41 assists in a 3-2 upset win. (Photo by Ken Sciallo / Sevilla Photography)

Zack Mancha came off the bench to record 41 assists in his first college match on Wednesday night as No. 5 SBCC outlasted No. 4 Santa Monica 3-2 in a men's volleyball thriller at the Sports Pavilion. The scores were 25-22, 19-25, 25-21, 19-25, 15-12.

The Vaqueros hit .316 and improved to 6-1. Santa Monica is 4-4.

Santa Barbara rallied from an 11-7 deficit in the fifth set and sided out to take a 14-12 lead. Cameron Fry capped the 2½-hour marathon with an ace serve.

Kyle Skinner, who helped the Corsairs reach the State Final Four in 2016, led the Vaqueros with 15 kills, 15 digs and two aces. Blake Lockhart added 13 kills and eight blocks.

Haward Gomes had 11 kills with no errors for a .379 hitting percentage. Fry, a 6-5 sophomore middle blocker from Dos Pueblos High, had 10 kills, five blocks and hit .600.

Mancha, a 6-2 freshman, led Roseville High to a 37-7 record last year and a runner-up finish in the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section.

Adam Simonetti, the Vaqueros' regular setter, was out with the flu. Austin Houser started at setter and handed out seven assists before Mancha replaced him late in the first set.

"Zack did an amazing job," said Vaquero coach Jon Newton. "He was the difference in the match. He showed great decision-making, composed himself well and stepped up in a big way in his first college match."

Misaki Cramer, a sophomore libero from Guam, had 16 digs, Skinner made 15 and Gomes had 10. Adam Shields added six kills and five blocks.

"It was an extremely exciting match from both ends of the court," Newton noted. "Santa Monica played well and brought a lot of firepower. We have guys that fight and play with heart on this team and it shows when we play matches.

"The guys did a great job in the fifth set, rallying from 11-7 down to take a 13-11 lead."

The Vaqueros will hit the road to face the top two teams in the state, playing Friday at No. 1 and unbeaten Long Beach (12-0) and Wednesday at Orange Coast (7-2).