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College Volleyball

Long Beach is Too Physical for SBCC in Volleyball Regional Playoff

Kaylene Ureno of SBCC hits against a Long Beach block during Tuesday’s Southern California Regional match. Click to view larger
Kaylene Ureno of SBCC hits against a Long Beach block during Tuesday’s Southern California Regional match.  (Barry Punzal / Noozhawk photo)

City College’s volleyball team needed to be firing on all cylinders if it was going to stay with a physical Long Beach City College team in the first round of the Southern California Regionals on Tuesday night.

Down 1-0, the Vaqueros battled and groveled all over the floor to win the second set and even the match. But with one of their best hitters hobbled by a sore knee, they couldn’t sustain that frenzied pace. They also couldn’t stop Long Beach’s Johanna Vasquez and were eliminated in four set before a nice crowd at the Sports Pavilion. The scores were 25-16, 21-25, 25-17, 25-18.

SBCC coach Ed Gover said the overpowering play of Vasquez and a less-than-100 percent Kaylene Ureno made the difference in the match.

Vasquez pounded a match-high 19 kills on 33 sets and committed just one error. 

(Vasquez) got into a really good rhythm toward the end of the second set,” Gover said of the Vikings’ 6-foot-1 All-Southern California and All-State outside hitter. “When she got a rhythm, she was hitting way over our block.”

“The other sad thing on our part was Kaylene Ureno hurt her leg in the match before, so she played at about 70 percent of her capabilities. That was a big factor in tonight’s match.”

Ureno still managed to produce a team-best 12 kills, but she lacked the usual pop in her attacks.

“Our right side is our bread and better and she was hurt. We needed that one-two punch,” said Gover.

Carolyn Andrulis, the other part of the SBCC 1-2 offensive punch, produced 10 kills, 14 digs and three service aces. 

Jordan Diaz of Long Beach hits past the SBCC block of Grace Trocki (2) and Karissa Mertens. Click to view larger
Jordan Diaz of Long Beach hits past the SBCC block of Grace Trocki (2) and Karissa Mertens. (Barry Punzal / Noozhawk photo)

SBCC hit just .088 for the match.

After a rough first set, the Vaqueros turned things around and took it to Long Beach (18-4). Defense and tough serving got them energized. Libero Avery Mulvey (19 digs) kept several plays alive and Andrulis and Karissa Mertens started scoring at the net. The tough serving of Andrulis and Grace Trocki also made a difference.

“We flip-flopped the lineup and played well in the second set,” explained Gover of the turnaround. “We put Carolyn in the front because she was our big power hitter tonight. She delivered, and our serving was tougher and we got them out of rhythm. But we couldn’t sustain it in the next two sets.”

Long Beach rebounded with a vengeance. The Vikings jumped out to a 5-0 lead in the third set and expanded their lead to 21-12 behind the hitting of Vasquez on the outside and 6-foot Andrea Edwards in the middle. Edwards had eight kills.

“They ran the middle a little more than we anticipated,” said Gover.

Sierra Davis added 10 kills for Long Beach, which seemed to win all the long rallies.

Vasquez usually was the one to finish them off.

"When you have a terminator, it makes a big difference," said Gover.

SBCC ends the season with a 21-7 record. 

“I’m very happy how they played the season and have that record,” Gover said of his players, “I wish at the end of the season everybody’s healthy. It’s sad one of our top players had to deal with a sore knee.

“They are a gritty bunch of girls; they’re great friends and have great chemistry together. They battled They lost against a very physical team.”

Noozhawk sports editor Barry Punzal can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk Sports on Twitter: @NoozhawkSports. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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