The Pirate volleyball team had their 11-match winning streak come to an end Wednesday night as they fell to visiting Cuesta College in four sets, 25-20, 22-25, 25-16, 25-15. Morgan Gallagher led the Pirates with 16 kills while Raphaella Rosales handed out 23 assists. Faith Mackie had 20 digs for Ventura (16-4, 6-1), as the Pirates fell into a first place tie with Moorpark. VC will travel to play the Raiders in the season finale on Friday Nov. 9 in a match-up for the Western State Conference North Division title.
In pre-game ceremonies, the Pirates honored their four graduating sophomore who were playing their final regular season match at the Athletic Event Center. The smiles ended soon thereafter, however, as the Cougars jumped on the Pirates early. VC trailed 8-2 early on, and Gallagher had a pair of service aces to bring Ventura within 14-10. Kasie Spencer had a kill to bring the margin down to 16-14, but the Pirates could get no closer, dropping the set, 25-20.
Ventura seemed to get untracked in the second set as Shantalle Ruiz had a kill to put VC ahead. Brooklyn Wallet's winner made it 5-4 for the Pirates before a Cuesta rally put the Cougars ahead 10-6. At that point, the Pirates rallied behind the serve of Mackie. Gallagher and Kelly Rodriguez each had kills as the Pirates scored seven straight winners. Rodriguez had a big hit to put VC ahead 15-11, and Janessa Simental had a spike go off a block for a winner to make it 17-13. Gabby Boado had a service ace to move the score to set point, and Simental finished things off with another kill for the 25-22 set victory.
In the third set, the Pirates took a brief advantage, 4-2, but Cuesta responded with a rally and held an 8-3 lead after four straight winners. The Pirates' deficit grew to nine points on numerous occasions and VC fell 25-16.
The fourth set played out in similar fashion as the Pirates could not build any traction. Cuesta took the set 25-15 to take the match.
Ruiz finished the night with nine kills while Rodriguez and Simental had seven and six winners, respectively. Kambria Dowling and Rosales each had 10 digs and Boado handed out 19 assists.
Despite the loss, the Pirates remain tied with Moorpark atop the WSC North. The Pirates and Raiders will have a winner-take-all match up in the regular season finale on Friday Nov. 9, beginning at 6:00 pm at Raider Pavilion.