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Vaqueros sweep Ventura for 16th win in 17 matches

Middle hitter Grace Trocki angles a shot away from the block. She had five kills, eight digs and three blocks. (Photo by Ken Sciallo / Sevilla Photography)
Middle hitter Grace Trocki angles a shot away from the block. She had five kills, eight digs and three blocks. (Photo by Ken Sciallo / Sevilla Photography)

Balance was the key on Wednesday night as No. 17 SBCC swept past Ventura 25-16, 25-17, 25-19 in a WSC North women's volleyball match at the Sports Pavilion.

The Vaqueros had five players between five and eight kills and four between 12 and 16 digs.

SBCC improved to 18-5 overall, 4-1 in conference and 11-0 at home. The Vaqueros have won three straight and 16 of their last 17. Ventura fell to 11-11 and 2-4.

Kaylene Ureno had eight kills and 12 digs while Carolyn Andrulis had eight kills and eight digs. McKenzie Garrison, Karissa Mertens and Grace Trocki added five kills apiece.

Mertens had a team-high 16 digs, Avery Mulvey made 14 and Kiana Pisula had 12.

After trailing 7-5 in the opening minutes of the first set, the Vaqueros went on a 11-4 run capped by Trocki winning a joust for a 16-11 lead. A kill by Pisula, their sophomore setter, and an ace from Trocki made it 21-15. The last four points came on Ventura errors.

"Steady is a great word for us tonight," said veteran coach Ed Gover. "All the players stayed within the game plan and stayed nice and calm. They played with what we like to call 'calm intensity.' We made some mistakes, then we'd bounce right back. It was nice to see us play a steady game tonight.

"Carolyn played one of her best matches. We switched her role and she's now the L1 where she gets a few more swings. I thought Grace did a good job also. We switched her to the M1 and both of them were playing a little bit smoother."

The Vaqueros didn't hit particularly well (.116) but they had 79 digs and seven blocks. The 79 digs are the fourth-most this season and the highest total in a three-set match.

There were eight ties in the second set before the Vaqueros snapped a 17-all tie by finishing on an 8-0 burst. Pisula served two aces in the run and the 25-17 victory was capped by a sharp-angle spike from Andrulis and a block by Ureno and Garrison.

The Vaqueros enjoyed leads of 9-5, 14-7 and 20-12 in the third set.

Santa Barbara has a big match on Friday when No. 16 and first-place Moorpark (11-5, 6-0) comes to the Sports Pavilion at 6 p.m. Moorpark handed the Vaqueros their only conference loss (3-1) two weeks ago.

"It's a match," said Gover. "We all know what it's about – it's for the conference title and everything. But it's just a match. They got us in their place and now they have to come to our gym. We'll get a good game plan and if we execute well, our chances are good."