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No. 12 Moorpark downs Vaqueros 3-0

Madi Mullins seeks an opening vs. Moorpark's triple block. Mullins, a freshman middle blocker, played half the match at outside hitter. (Photo by Ken Sciallo/Sevilla Photography)
Madi Mullins seeks an opening vs. Moorpark's triple block. Mullins, a freshman middle blocker, played half the match at outside hitter. (Photo by Ken Sciallo/Sevilla Photography)

Moorpark dominated the first two sets in Friday night's women's volleyball home finale, then weathered a stirring comeback by SBCC to finish off a 3-0 sweep at the Sports Pavilion. The scores were 25-15, 25-17, 25-22.

The Raiders (14-3, 9-0) clinched the WSC North title with their 10th straight win. The Vaqueros fell to 8-13 and 4-5.

Lauren Holsted led the Vaqueros with 10 kills and six digs. Gabi Brewer added eight kills. Kari Esseff paced Moorpark with 10 kills and a .643 hitting percentage.

The Raiders outhit the Vaqueros, .282 to .097.

A tip kill by Brewer pulled SBCC within two in the first set, 14-12, then the Raiders closed on a 13-5 run, capped by a block and kill off the block from Kari Esseff.

Moorpark led 14-11 in the second set, then went on a 7-4 run and took a 21-14 lead on an ace by Eleana Laba.

"I kept preaching to the girls that I just want to see them get better," said Vaquero coach Kat Niksto. "At this point, I'm  less concerned with wins and losses and more concerned with our development. Against a really good team, you can't give them free balls, you can't make errors and you can't just give them easy balls because then they'll shove it down your throat. We did that too much in the first two sets."

The Vaqueros fell behind 16-9 and 18-10 in set No. 3 before rallying to tie it at 20-20. The 10-2 run was capped by two kills by Holsted and an ace serve by Lauren Wold, who set the entire match due to an injury that sidelined Maranda Newson.

SBCC could never get the lead, however, after tying it two more times, they watched Moorpark score the last three points on Lily Karamanukyan's kill off the block and two straight kills by Esseff.

"I was really proud of our effort to come back in that third set, that shows we still have some fight in us," said Niksto. "Madi Mullins played phenomenal tonight. She's been begging to play all the way around for a while (instead of just middle blocker) and she did that for about half the match. We're experimenting with her at outside hitter.

"We have a solid base with 10 players and only one is graduating. I'm going to put a lot of pressure on the returners next year because there won't be any more, 'We're young, we don't know what's going on,' type of excuses. They're going to be the seasoned veterans and I hope to recruit another half of a team, so hopefully we'll be a lot bigger and a lot deeper."

The Vaqueros will finish the season next Friday at Ventura with the first serve at 6 p.m.


Madi Meyer, left, who played on the Vaqueros' first beach volleyball team last spring, was
honored as the only sophomore playing her final home match. (Photo by Ken Sciallo/Sevilla Photography)