With an amazing postseason upset under their belts, the Lancers’ volleyball team looked poised for a deep run in this year’s SoCal Regional Playoffs.
Although the Lancers would began the match with a victory in the first set, the No. 4 seeded Santa Barbara City College would not go down without a fight, defeating the Lancers in an epic five set match 19-25, 25-19, 25-19, 27-29 and 15-13.
“We threw everything we could at Santa Barbara, and they gave it right back at us,” said interim head coach Bill Sanchez. “We fought off two match points in the fourth set and we never quit in that fifth. They just got a few more points than us.”
In an amazing fourth set comeback, the Lancers facing match point twice would fight the Vaqueros to take the fourth set and keep the game alive. The two teams fought to 20 ties and 11 lead changes in the fourth set.
After the Lancers faced their second match point at 25-24, outside hitter Nora To’omalatai drilled back-to-back kills to give the Lancers a 26-25 lead. To’omalatai would continue her efforts with another kill at 27-26. After a Vaqueros’ service error, To’omalatai would take the set with a perfectly served ace for set point at 29-27.
“Nora is very, very smart with her shot selection and the precision of her shots,” SBCC head coach Ed Gover said. “Not too many have a great roll shot like hers. It was a great college match, both teams battled their hearts out. They played great defense and so did we.”
Although the Lancers’ season was cut short at the hands of the Vaqueros, To’omalatai carried the team as she did the entire season, finishing the game with 25 kills, 16 digs and three blocks, her fifth straight double-double.
The sophomore All-SoCal Region selection finished her Lancers’ career with 414 career kills. The Lancers’ all-time leader in kills and aces became the first Lancer hitter to ever record 400 kills in a season.
“Nora had a great game and I’m really proud of her,” freshman middle blocker Kendra Logan said. “She’s broken records and been a great teammate both on and off the court. I’m so glad I’ve gotten to know her as a player and person, she’s just awesome.”
Logan recorded seven kills and four blocks (two solos) while sophomore libero Victoria Arreola totaled a career high 30 digs to go with three aces and three assists in the five-set defeat. Right side hitter Briana Hilton recording a double-double with 10 kills and 10 digs, freshman middle blocker Angela Banuelos added five kills and five blocks (one solo).
Sophomore outside hitter Thula Parks added 10 kills, 19 digs and four aces while sophomore setter Tiffany Roesler added a double-double 50 assists and 15 digs.
The Lancers season ended at 15-10 while Santa Barbara advances to face No. 1 seed Irvine Valley (22-0).